As initially proposed by gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, the nudity ban would “prohibit display of genitals and buttocks in city plazas, parklets, sidewalks, streets, and public transit.” It would exempt city “permitted parades, fairs, and festivals” from having to adhere to the policy.
But after Wiener revealed his legislation last month, critics of the changes to the police code decried that men wearing chaps could face arrest while walking to any of the city’s leather bars.
Opponents of “Wiener’s law” also questioned if it would mean men baring their bottoms would no longer be able to ride Muni vehicles en route to fetish fairs in South of Market or parades like Pride.
At this morning’s (Thursday, November 1) Merchants of Upper Market and Castro meeting, Wiener disclosed that he had removed the word “buttocks” from his proposed ordinance.
“A lot of modern fashions show parts of people’s buttocks,” he said. “It was never my intention to outlaw chaps.”
He also explained that his legislation would not force women to cover their breasts in public.
“My code is very limited to genitals,” said Wiener. “A woman with her shirt off would not be violating the legislation.”
Currently, both the city’s port and park codes ban public nudity. In the remaining areas of the city, nudity has been tolerated as long as the person is not visibly aroused.
After city officials turned a portion of 17th Street near Market in the Castro into a public parklet, nudists have taken to congregating there on warm days. Their emergence has sparked a backlash, with complaints about lewd behavior and men sporting cock rings growing to a clamor in recent months.
Wiener has insisted he is not against nudity but is trying to address the concerns of his constituents. Nudists and their supporters retort that enforcing people to be clothed in public is an attack on civil liberties.
A majority of MUMC members voted to support the nudity ban during the meeting. Later a frustrated Hans Pfeifer, a MUMC board member and co-owner of Eros, stormed out upset with the business group’s decision to back the ban.
“So much for the Castro I knew,” said Pfeifer.
The dispute over the ban now moves to City Hall. Next week the Board of Supervisor’s City Operations and Neighborhood Services committee will vote on the measure before sending it to the full board.
The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, November 5 in Room 263 at City Hall.