Some people feel like they should have the right to walk around nude, and other people feel like they shouldn’t have to see it.
That’s the crux of a controversy that has San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood in an uproar, San Francisco Examiner reporter Dan Schreiber said on Thursday in a KQED Forum discussion.
On Nov. 5 at 10 a.m, a committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will discuss Supervisor Scott Wiener’s proposal to partially ban nudity in the city and he anticipates the full board will take it up later in the month.
While the neighborhood has long tolerated sporadic nudity, nudity is becoming more and more common, Wiener said, straining the tolerance of the neighborhood.
Some people have said it’s only because straight people with kids are coming into the Castro or people from Noe Valley are offended. But the primary people who have been expressing concern to me about this are gay men from the Castro. This is not about changing demographics. It’s about the Castro being a place where people live, people work and our primary public plaza has become a nudist colony.
Schreiber said the opposition is also coming from people who object to jewelry apparently designed to maintain an erection.
But Wiener said nudity itself is the problem, and he has been getting more calls about nudity than any other issue.
“Freedom of expression is not about taking your pants off at Castro and Market and displaying your genitals to passing cars,” said Wiener.
Forum also heard from nudist George Davis, a former candidate for mayor:
“This is part of our god-given body. Why do we want to say there is something wrong with our body? It’s not part any religious doctrine,” he said.
Some parents have congratulated him for being naked in public because it made their kids feel better about their own bodies, he said. He offered to pay $1,000 for a 500-word “intelligently written” essay from anyone who can explain how a child would be harmed by seeing a naked adult.
Daniel Bergerac, Castro district business owner, also came on the program to say that he thinks the nudists have become exhibitionists.
Calls to the show were mixed with some offended and others defending nudism as a form of self expression.