Ban prudes, not nudity

fig leaf, anyone?

fig leaf, anyone?

© 2011 by Tommi Avicolli Mecca


To read the Bay Area Reporter (or BAR, a San Francisco gay weekly) these days, you’d think that people in the Castro have nothing better to worry about than a handful of naked guys who hang out in the neighborhood. It must be good not to have to be concerned about real issues, like whether your house is going to be taken away from you by some greedy bank.

Not only is it ridiculous that people in, of all places, the Castro are complaining about public nudity, but it’s doubly absurd that the neighborhood’s elected official, Supervisor Scott Wiener, is taking these complaints seriously enough to be considering a ban on nudity. 

San Francisco has always allowed nudity. The city has a nude beach. And at various functions throughout the year (like the Bay to Breakers race and the Folsom Street Fair), people prance around in their birthday suits. And why not? This is not Salt Lake City, for chrissakes. Or maybe like Sarah Palin, the folks in the Castro have no concept of geography.

They’re certainly used to getting what they want from their City Hall representative. Shortly after he came into office, Wiener pushed through a law mandating that nudists carry a towel, to place it on chairs in public spaces before they sit down. It was a silly ordinance, for sure, but it seemed to stifle the prudes.

Until some of the men began wearing cock rings on their dicks. You’d think the Castro Theatre had been bombed by terrorists. “People can have whatever view they want to have on public nudity in general,” an indignant Wiener told the BAR. “But to be walking around with a cock ring on or something similar is just not acceptable, responsible behavior. The whole purpose of a cock ring is to draw attention to that area.”

“That area?” Reminds me of the nuns in Catholic school. They could never say “dick” or “crotch” or even “genitals.” They always said “down there,” as in, “you shouldn’t touch yourself down there.” What are we, back in the 50s?

Sure sounds like it. People opposed to nudity have actually dared to suggest that children need to be protected against the sight of naked bodies. How soon they forget that it wasn’t so long ago that Anita Bryant and others of her despicable ilk were crusading throughout the country to save children from the sight of two men or two women holding hands or kissing in public. 

Smoke some weed, folks. The sight of a naked man won’t harm a child. Former Castro Supervisor Bevan Dufty had no problem with his daughter seeing the naked men. You should be more concerned about your kid being exposed to endless hours of violence on TV or in video games, or eating junk food that is creating an epidemic of diabetes among those under 21.

San Francisco has 10,000 homeless people, thousands of foreclosures and evictions, and a public transportation system that desperately needs help (if you don’t believe me, try taking a bus). In the queer community, there is rampant poverty and homelessness: 40% of homeless youth in the city are queer; 75% of transgender people in the Bay Area aren’t employed full-time; and countless people with AIDS are either homeless or inadequately housed. 

Imagine how much better things might be if the folks in the Castro put as much time and energy into addressing these issues as they do into going into hysterics about a few naked men wearing nothing but their cock rings.