“SF Weekly”, http://www.sfweekly.com, on the December 1 issue ran an article written by Lauren Smiley on the Buff Stop, the new renaming of the Castro Commons aka Jane Warner Plaza.
Below is my response to the article:
I am George Davis, one of the urban nudists written about in this article about the Buff Stop, Castro and Market. I have been actively espousing a Free Body Culture movement for many years. The Free Body Culture movement is an over century-old mainstream political movement in Europe. I have written two books on the subject, many magazine articles, and have been cited by the police (SFPD) 22 times over 5 years with no trials or convictions and 15 letters from the Office of Citizens Complaints stating that the police citations are harassment. In most circles, I am considered an expert on the contemporary social culture aspects of urban nudism.
I wish the article had made clearer that we all have a right to be nude. There is
No Federal, State, City, or County law or code that makes nudity illegal. There is a California Supreme Court Case (in Re Smith 1973) that holds and has been reaffirmed several times that “nude is not lewd.” That’s the reason that citing harmless nudists is a total waste of police and judicial resources. I’m amazed at the number of people who think that public nudism might be illegal.
San Francisco is supposed to be a cutting edge world class city. We are supposed to represent freedom of expression, freedom from censorship, and new ideas.
From an economic perspective, the number one industry in San Francisco is tourism. Admittedly, the nudists upset a few tourists, but they are outnumbered at least by 20 to 1 by people that enjoy the sight and want to meet us. For many, we are the most interesting and distinctive thing that they see in San Francisco. We are the topic of many a restaurant discussion. We bring business to San Francisco and enhance its progressive reputation. Experience has taught me that the only people that have a problem with urban nudism are excessively authoritarian, angry, or religious nut cases. These are the kind of people who cause most of the problems in the world and need a re-education.
For what it is worth, most of the regular urban nudists who show up at the Buff Stop live in the Upper Market area and the rest are from SF and the Bay Area. When you get down to it, all we are doing at the Buff Stop are things like talking with friends, reading books, sunning or eating a sandwich. We are just comfortable being nude. We invite you to join us and our “bare as you dare” dress code.
By George Davis
I don’t know whether it’s schadenfreuda, but many people ask me: “Did you win?” or “Who won the election?” Like, I might be concerned about not being elected.
My most common answers are: “I won in a perfect universe.” Or “Thank God I didn’t win. I promised 135 people ambassadorships to Luxembourg.”
The winner was Jane Kim. I knew that she was going to win when I learned that she had several hundred volunteers. That’s a lot of “feet on the street” for a district with 90,000 residents.
In a way, I was a big winner. My friends and I accomplished a lot more than we expected. Let me thank Lloyd, Rusty, Travis, SaraKay, Micky, Rocky, Paul, Thunderbolt, C.J., Woody, Mario, Jeff, Eric, Bare, Gypsy and many others. Without their help on the Free Body Culture movement and this campaign, it’s unlikely there would have been any forward progress.
1. The biggest legacy of the campaign is the turning of the Castro Commons into a clothing optional park. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, this is the first clothing optional non-beach urban park in America. The Castro Commons is a collection of planters and table seating opened less than a year ago located at Castro/17th Street/Market Street where the classic “F” streetcar line begins/ends. Other nudists and I have been hanging out there daily on nice weather days for the past two months.
2. As a result of my nude protest in front of City Hall (see image), the police are now instructed to no longer cite simple nudists for Indecent Exposure. However, the police still have an option, with a citizen’s arrest complaint, to issue a citation for the very ambiguous charge of Public Nuisance, another charge that needs to involve more than simple nudity for a conviction. At least, Public Nuisance does not involve any Sex Registry issues. Since the change of police policy, I have not heard of the police issuing any nudity citations for either charge.
3. The establishment of the right to campaign nude. My friends and I have made about a dozen unmolested campaign walks all over the City: Market Street, Mission District, SOMA, Financial District, the Castro, the Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf and elsewhere. I sometimes felt that my campaign sign was to the police was like holding a cross to a vampire. The police would see us and disappear.
4. The 1st two campaign points were: Freedom of Expression and Freedom from Censorship. We certainly moved that agenda forward.
Oh, by the way, we all had a lot of fun with this campaign.
Caveat to out-of-town nudist visitors. As of November 2010, these Free Body Culture changes are still newish. You are always welcome to go nude at traditional special events like Gay Pride, World Naked Bike, Bay-to-Breakers Race, Folsom Street Fair, and St. Stupid’s Day Parade. Also note: Except for the Castro District on a non-special day, it’s best to not walk around the City alone while nude unless you look unbelievably funny or safe. San Francisco is not Mayberry. There are unfortunately a many mentally damaged people on the streets. Nudity is still rare in San Francisco and many people aren’t sure how to react to you. At least, if you’re with someone else, the public doesn’t have threatening uncertainties. Finally, being an out-of-towner, let’s face it, the police have the upper hand if they want to challenge your right to be nude. The police can intimidate you with an unenforceable citation that would be a pain in the ass for you to defend. However, if the police should harass you, please let me know of the situation.