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San Francisco’s newest political battleground is public nudity

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San Francisco has a new pressing issue on its political plate: the right to be stark naked in public.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro, one of the country's most famous gay districts, has just introduced an ordinance designed to regulate public nudity — specifically, he's attempting to make it obligatory for naked residents to put something between their bare self and whatever they're sitting on, as well as making them cover up inside restaurants.

"If you're going to be naked in public, and you're going to sit down on public seating, you should cover the seating up… We shouldn't have to legislate about that, but we do… It's about basic public health."

City and public officials maintain that simple public nudity is not a crime. Lewd conduct is a crime, and being naked and aroused ("complex public nudity?") is a crime, but simply wandering around your neighborhood in your birthday suit isn't.

The only people who aren't allowed to strut their stuff au naturel are waiters, waitresses, or entertainers on duty in places that serve food and drink, because that would just be gross.

Apparently, a semi-secret cabal known as the Naked Guys is largely responsible for the increase in visibility (ha!) of public nudity in Frisco. The Naked Guys are a "growing group of naturists" that are a "regular part of the scenery in the Castro."

Their increased presence as of late has been chafing (ha!) some of the more conservative residents of the city. Jonathan Storper, a San Francisco attorney, maintains that nudity "is not a gay-straight issue:"

"I've talked to the police about enforcing the health-care concern, and they tell me they cannot do that… And I've talked to the public-health department. They say it's not their jurisdiction."

Eric Anderson, an out-of-work retail manager interviewed by the Los Angeles Times while sunbathing naked in "flip-flops, hoop earrings and a sheen of Coppertone," described the issue thusly:

"Why hide if you're comfortable in your own skin? This is an open-minded city, and it should continue to be so."