News Briefs: Nudists
compiled by Cynthia Laird
A group of urban nudists last week filed an amended complaint in federal court challenging San Francisco's nudity ban.
The plaintiffs allege that arrests of nudists made last month were illegal under the First and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
[Updated 3/21: Thursday morning, federal Judge Edward M. Chen denied the plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order. In his order, Chen said that the urban nudists did not submit any evidence to support their application.
"Moreover, even if the court were to accept the allegations in the application or the amended complaint, many of those allegations are conclusory or lacking in sufficient details. For instance, plaintiffs claim that, on February 1, 2013, a political rally was held on the steps of City Hall and that plaintiffs either wrote political slogans on their bodies or carried political signs, but there is no additional information as to what those slogans or signs said ..." the judge said.]
The five nudists – Mitch Hightower, Oxane "Gypsy" Taub, George Davis, Rusty Mills, and Russell "Trey" Allen III – contend in their complaint that the nudity ban is unconstitutional and has been selectively enforced. Taub, Davis, and Allen were cited for being naked in front of City Hall on February 1, the day the law went into effect. Davis and Taub were also cited following a February 27 incident when they were naked at 17th and Castro streets. All have pleaded not guilty.
The new complaint is based on those February 1 and 27 incidents. Allen has joined the other four nudists, who filed the initial challenge to the law.
In a statement, the group said that there were no arrests at two other actions, filming for a parody porn on February 17 and the World Naked Bike Ride on March 9.
"Police were present but no arrests were made and no one was cited, even though WNBR was not a permitted ride," the group stated in a news release.
On January 29, U.S. District Court Judge Edward M. Chen denied a request from the urban nudists seeking an injunction against the law. They had argued it violated their free speech rights and that the city has no authority to tell people they should be clothed. He dismissed the lawsuit.
Despite his rejection of their initial lawsuit, Chen left the door open for the nudists to re-file their legal challenge after the law went into effect. He had hinted during the oral arguments in the case of just such a possibility, questioning what impact the nudity ban would have on constitutionally protected political speech.
"This ruling does not bar plaintiffs from bringing a class claim in an as-applied challenge, if they can ...," wrote Chen.
A spokesman for the city attorney's office had no immediate comment on the amended complaint.
Under the law, exposing one's genitals, perineum or anal region is banned on city streets, transit vehicles and at Muni stations. Children under 5 years old are exempted and the restrictions do not apply to a woman's breasts nor ban such things as chaps or other ass-bearing clothing.
EQCA marriage training
Several LGBT advocacy organizations will host a free training on the "Breakthrough Conversation" Saturday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 730 Polk Street in San Francisco.
The Breakthrough Conversation is a research-based advocacy project that was launched by Equality California in September 2011 as a way for LGBT people to continue working to shift public opinion on equality issues, including same-sex marriage.
Now, other organizations are also involved, including Our Family Coalition, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and API Equality of Northern California.
During the training, participants will learn the tools, messages, and skills necessary to change hearts and minds of family, friends, and neighbors on LGBT equality. Such messaging can lead to a reduction in anti-LGBT prejudice, deepen people's personal relationships, and build lasting support for LGBT equality, according to an event flier.
CCOP training date set
Castro Community on Patrol, the volunteer neighborhood crime prevention group, will offer a training session on Sunday, March 24. People are asked to arrive by 12:45 p.m. for the session, which will go until 4:30. Greg Carey with CCOP said the training is for new volunteers or for existing volunteers who need to re-certify.
The training will take place in the Castro Community Meeting Room, above the Bank of America branch at 501 Castro Street.
To reserve a spot, email email@example.com.
Botanical watercolors benefit AIDS grove
During the upcoming Macy's Flower Show, an array of botanical watercolor illustrations will be on display and for sale in the Tabletop Department (sixth floor) at Macy's Union Square to benefit the National AIDS Memorial Grove.
The illustrations, made by Mary L. Harden and master artists in the Mary L. Harden School of Botanical Illustration, portray a delicate and plaintive view of hydrangeas, magnolias, and other flowers found in the grove in Golden Gate Park. The illustrations are the product of an eight-session workshop at the Miraloma Club House in Diamond Heights.
The exhibition occurs in conjunction with the Macy's Flower Show, which runs from March 24 until April 7, and includes live illustration and shopping assistance from the artists themselves.
Harden, whose workspace often contains several graphite pencils and a palette caked in watercolors, is a former special education teacher for the San Francisco Unified School District and a curator for the Conservatory of Flowers.
There will also be a seminar about botanical watercolor illustration March 27 at 6 p.m. and live artist sessions March 30 and April 6 from noon to 2 p.m., all on the sixth floor of Macy's.
Author of Grindr book at LGBT center
Jaime Woo, the author of the recently released book Meet Grindr, will be discussing hookup apps during an appearance at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street, Tuesday, March 26 from 8 to 9 p.m.
Woo's book is a comprehensive look at the design of hookup apps and the potential effect they have on user behavior. The book argues that although such apps are efficient, there is still much room for improvement. Woo maintains that the solution for happier hookups starts by having users ask for features that better fit their needs.
Woo will be reading from his book, which will be followed by a discussion on how to improve hookup apps. The event is free.
LGBT aging panel to hold housing hearing
The housing committee of the San Francisco LGBT Aging Policy Task Force will hold a hearing about the housing concerns of LGBT seniors Monday, April 1 from 9 a.m. to noon in Room 416 at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place.
Members of the LGBT community who are age 55 and over are welcome to testify about their housing concerns, no matter what type of housing they live in: a rent-controlled apartment, public housing or other subsidized units, Section 8, an SRO, a shelter, a home that you own, etc. Homeless seniors are also invited to talk about issues in the city's shelters or the difficulty of finding a place to live.
Other areas of concern include: threats of eviction, actual eviction, or fear of eviction; landlord not doing repairs or tenant is afraid to ask for repairs; housing is not safe or secure or has an infestation; home is under threat of foreclosure or has been foreclosed.
To testify, people should arrive at 9 a.m. and fill out a speaker's card. For more information, contact Tommi Avicolli Mecca at (415) 703-8634.
Peter Hernandez contributed to this report.