Trey Allen protest SF’s new nudity ban in front of City Hall and SFPD. (Photo: Justin Sullivan)
Friday, Feb 1st, the day the Castro’s Supervisor Scott Wiener’s polarizing nudity ban took effect in the City a small group of San Franciscan naturists defied the new law by disrobing at City Hall challenging SFPD to enforce it.
SFPD obliged. With cops outnumbering protestors nearly two to one they were given a fifteen minute warning to get dressed. At the end of the alloted time and a short, robust protest, four activists were arrested-three men and one woman-cited and released. The citation carries a $100 fine for the first offense.
Among those taken into custody were George Davis and Gypsy Tuab, two of the original plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit that’d been based on the supposition nudists First Amendment right to freedom of expression would be violated by the City’s new ban. US District Federal Judge Edward Chen dismissed their case Tuesday for lack of just cause.
Trey Allen at SF City Hall protesting the new nudity ban on 2/1. (Photo: Justin Sullivan)
Trey Allen, 30, another protestor who defied the law and was arrested had, ‘War is Obscene, Not My Body’, emblazoned on his back in an attempt to point out the absurdity of the nudity issue versus larger problems facing the country like ending US involvement in the war in Afghanistan or ongoing drone bombings in Pakistan.
Mitch Hightower, an outspoken advocate for public nudity who runs the website BuckNakedInPublic.com in addition to organizing the yearly ‘Nude In’ at the Castro’s Jane Warner Plaza seemed very pleased with the outcome of the small but vocal protest.
Mr. Hightower, who initiated the failed lawsuit, was quoted in the SF Gate saying, involving the police was exactly what the nudist wanted. Judge Edward Chen left open the possibility of a future lawsuit if the nudist could prove that the law was inhibiting their political expression.
One of those arrested, George Davis, also took the opportunity to announce he’d be seeking to replace Supervisor Wiener during the next election cycle for the Dist. 8 Supervisors seat in 2014 running on a pro-nudity platform.
Wether or not these arrests will help further the nudist cause remains to be seen. All detainees have expressed a desire to see their citation all the way through the court system.
Regardless of a conviction if the immediate goal was to keep the national and international news spotlight focused on their cause and the City’s nudity ban they’ve more than succeeded.