Increasing crowds are walking the streets of San Francisco naked
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Increasing crowds are walking the streets of San Francisco naked

San Francisco : CA : USA | Sep 26, 2011 at 8:59 PM PDT
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It's about body acceptance, not politics, many say. Does your town have a law against being naked in public? Public nudity is against the law in many U.S. cities. But in some cities such as San Francisco, it's not illegal to walk naked down the street as long as you don't have any lewd thoughts or actions. But how would the clothed person know what your thoughts are as you stroll or sashay down the avenue in your birthday suit?

Are too many people in San Francisco walking the streets without any clothing? That custom draws lots of tourists to photograph them. And the tourist crowds are making money for local businesses in certain areas of San Francisco where nudity is seen more than in other areas of the public sidewalks.

There are clothing optional places, such as the local clothing optional resorts in a variety of U.S. cities. But in what cities can you walk naked in the street and not be stopped by the police? To find out, see, List of social nudity places in North America - Wikipedia.

One of those cities where it is still legal as of the date of this posting to walk naked in public is San Francisco. Maybe things will change in the future, but right now the issue is if you're nude in public, please carry a towel when you sit down or carry some type of plastic place mat for your backside, perhaps a disposable newspaper or a special seat pad. Etiquette demands it, but so far the law doesn't, unless a law is passed requiring you to do the decent thing and cover where you sit with a towel for health's sake.

Public nudity seems to be a growing health trend, and the health angle is related to having barriers between the bare body parts and the public seat. The health issue is about people sitting bare on newspapers and then leaving the newspaper for someone else to read after microbes and body fluids have contaminated the newspaper.

With people carrying towels that they take away with them, there's less of a risk, but businesses may be contemplating disposable public seat covers that actually covers the 'seat' area of the nude human body when sitting in a public place such as an outdoor cafe or on a beach-area rock.

Nobody wants to sit down right on top of where a nude person just sat, considering the possibility of body fluids and microbes contaminating that area normally protected by underwear and dry clothing on top of the under garments. Perhaps what people need is a water-proof, plastic barrier rather than a damp towel.

If you want to go nude in or near Sacramento, you'd better go to a gated, closed nudist community or a clothing optional resort. But San Francisco has no law against public nudeness as long as it's not public lewdness. Check out the September 26, 2011 article, "A "nude-in" in San Francisco to protest a proposed law against public nakedness."

A proposed law would put some restrictions on public nudity in San Francisco, and a “Nude-In” on Saturday became a tourist attraction. “This is about body acceptance, not politics,” the organizer said.

San Francisco recently staged a "Nude-In" to call attention to a proposed law — introduced by Scott Wiener, a city supervisor — that would prohibit nudity in restaurants and require unclad people to put a towel or other material down before sitting bare-bottomed on benches or other public seats. The law supposedly would be in response to an increase in nakedness in parks, streets and restaurants.

Newspapers could serve as a protection against the nude body sitting on a seat where other people have to sit. The problem with newspapers, though is many people who sit on them while nude leave the newspapers on the seat at outdoor cafe and eatery tables where someone else will soon sit down on the same newspaper where a nude person just sat, and sometimes there are contagious microbes from body fluids on those newspapers, unlike a towel that the person takes away when leaving a public seat in an eatery.

It's no longer about the one person wandering through neighborhoods without clothing. It's naked guys in public without the decency to put a newspaper under them and then toss the paper in the trash can. They leave the newspaper where they sat or put it on top of the table so the next customer, who could be a child, handles the newspaper where the nude guy sat, and few are bothered with keeping a towel over their arm.

It's obnoxious because it's a health hazard when bare bottoms touch public seating in restaurants, on benches, and in any public area where people sit. In any case, public nudity is legal in San Francisco. Will it ever be legal in Sacramento? That depends on whether people are demanding it or voting for it, and so far, few want San Francisco's issues with public nudity.

You have urban nudists in San Francisco running for various political offices. But who will teach etiquette to the public nudists--that is carrying a towel with you when you sit down and taking your towel or newspaper or even a placemat with you when you leave? Should there be actual legislation requiring by law people to put a barrier such as a towel or newspaper between them and the public seat in an eatery, a movie house, or anywhere else? What happens when public nudity spreads to classrooms, health care offices or theaters?

The publicity seems to be spreading to Sacramento, but not the demand for public nudity. On Saturday San Francisco saw a public Nude-In, which was held at the Jane Warner Plaza in the Castro district. You have laws in Sacramento, Berkeley, and San Jose prohibiting public nudity, but in San Francisco it remains legal.

How do you define a state law that says "public nudity is only illegal when accompanied by “lewd thoughts or acts” or “where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed.” How would anyone know whether a nude person had a particular thought unless some physical gesture was witness? Do nudes remain as stone-faced as marble statues when they have a particular thought about their nudity?

You have a situation where state law prohibits police officers from being the offended party. A citizen has to make what's called a "citizen’s arrest." But what if that citizen imagines the nude party has a lewd thought? And how can a citizen take a naked person into custody without starting a public brawl?

The whole issue is about getting nudists in public to use towels when they sit down. What do you think of such an issue arising in Sacramento? Is the legislation needed for health protection? Do nudists need a butt-and-genital-covering serving-tray-sized condom when they sit down in public? Is this an invitation for businesses to manufacture such seat covers in cities that allow public nudity? That's what the issue is about, having disposable seat covers much the same way as public toilets have disposable, flushable covers. Has nudity become that frequent? At least in San Francisco, the newspapers say yes. The nudist protests spread over 13 city blocks by Sunday which spilled over into the Folsom Street Fair.

For Sacramentans who travel frequently to San Francisco, the nudists say it's about body acceptance, not politics. Do most nudists in San Francisco carry towels? What happens when kids walk by a nudist in the streets in broad daylight? And who brings kids to the Castro district, anyway, unless you're talking about same-sex couples who have adopted children and live in the area?

The Folsom Street Fair is billed as the largest leather and fetish event in the world. Nudists seem to be drawn there as well as to various social street events. Money is made by businesses because tourists show up to snap photos of the event and the public nudity. Is nudity good for some businesses that draw tourists such as eateries and photo shops? What's the use of using newspapers to sit on and then commenting that you can recycle the papers? Do most nudists carry towels in public? And do most businesses in San Francisco profit from the many tourists drawn to photograph the nudity?

For those of us in Sacramento, do you feel the issue is really about body acceptance? After all, most of the nude people have all types of bodies of all ages just like average people. Or is nudity actually a health-related trend? If nudity is connected to health issues, then the more exposure, the higher the risk of skin cancer in people predisposed to skin cancer, for example those with lighter skin or lighter eyes and hair. But skin cancer can happen to anyone of any shade due to too much exposure to ultra-violet rays from the sun, even on cloudy, foggy days, like you see often in San Francisco.

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San Francisco's Castro district is "ground zero" when it comes to public nudity
San Francisco's Castro district is "ground zero" when it comes to public nudity
AnneHart is based in Sacramento, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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