This Is What a Blue State Looks Like: Rally for Nudity in SF
[To ensure that this post is work-safe, family-friendly, and legal, all photos below have the following parts blurred out:
- exposed genitals
- exposed butt-cracks
- female breasts
- the faces of children or anyone who appears to be a minor
- the faces of passersby who may not wish to be associated with the protest.
If you instead wish to see the unexpurgated NSFW edition, click HERE to view the unblurred zombietime version of this same essay.]
All trends start in California, they say — and all California trends start in San Francisco. That's why everyone, no matter where you live, should take note of a rally just held in SF to support a growing political movement: the legalization of public nudity.
The "Rally for Nudity," as it was called, took place in the city's Castro District on Saturday, October 20, drawing over a hundred mostly naked protesters fighting against a proposed new law that would criminalize nudity in San Francisco. That's right — probably because no one ever thought such a law was necessary in chilly San Francisco, the city government has never bothered to pass a law forbidding public nudity, and recently a large group of dedicated nudists and exhibitionists have taken advantage of this legal loophole, parading around naked in public on a daily basis, mostly in the Castro District.
Now, responding to complaints from local businesses and clothed neighbors, the area's City Supervisor — the perfectly named Scott Wiener (no joke) — has proposed a new ordinance banning public nudity in San Francisco. That was the final straw for the naked activists, who announced a clothing-optional public protest against the law on Saturday in Jane Warner Plaza, at the intersection of Castro and Market streets, a busy corner that has become the prime rendezvous spot for the city's nudists.
From the Castro District they seek to expand the nudity zone outward to all of San Francisco; if the movement gains momentum, could it expand to all of California, and then eventually nationwide?
The protest was both lighthearted and serious at the same time. One protester held a sign saying "No to Scott. Yes to Weiner!" which, despite misspelling "Wiener," was pretty funny.
The organizers handed out a list of demands, which included not only creating nude areas in all city parks, but also insisted on an apology from Scott Wiener "for starting a witch-hunt against nudists and leather-folk."
The crowd of protesters swelled to over 100 as the afternoon wore on, with at least as many rubberneckers on the surrounding sidewalks. (The rally didn't quite reach the 200 attendees who vowed on Facebook to show up, but 100 isn't half bad.)
The protesters tried to frame the issue as a civil rights and libertarian cause, but look at this sign specifying the rules for Jane Warner Plaza, where the protest was held: According to city ordinances, in the plaza it is illegal to smoke, sell things, sleep, camp, do landscaping or gardening, drink alcohol, and (not mentioned on the sign but still illegal) block the adjacent trolley tracks, have unleashed dogs, and disrupt traffic, among numerous other taboo behaviors. If the protesters were (as they claim to be) resisting on general principles any government restrictions on public freedoms, then why focus on nudity and none of these other oppressive laws? Where is the Rally for Public Gardening?
My God, that man is breaking the law — he's drinking alcohol in Jane Warner Plaza!
This being an election season, the lure of several hundred politically involved citizens gathering in one place was too great for the Democratic Party to resist. Members of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, the local branch of the Democratic Party, showed up to ply the crowd with voting slate brochures.
This volunteer handed a voting slate to a young child in the crowd. Well, seeing as no one ever checks voter IDs in San Francisco polling places, this may not be as pointless as it seems!
But surely the Democratic Party volunteers weren't themselves naked — oh. I see.
Actually, being naked was a smart move -- the unclothed canvassers had much more success handing out the slate cards than the clothed canvassers did.
"Make sure to vote Democrat on November 6!" A jolly time was had by all.
And the rally was definitely Democrat Country. This is Nancy Pelosi's district, after all. In fact, a steady stream of Obama supporters walked through the protest.
Most of them seemed to be just passersby...
...but others stopped to soak in the carnival atmosphere.