Tourists to the Castro today got a little more of a photo-op than normal as nudists gathered for a peaceful protest in the neighborhood ahead of Sunday’s Folsom Street Fair.
The event, which organizers billed as a way to promote body acceptance, went on without a hitch, despite the cold and misty day.
While a lot of people believed that the protest was centered on Supervisor Scott Wiener’s proposed ordinance regarding public nudity regulations, protesters said that the nude-in was planned prior to his announcement.
Although the protest was set to start at noon, around 11 a.m. nudists started gathering around the Castro Commons Plaza despite the cloudy weather.
Shortly after 11:30 a.m., a handful of protesters rode their bikes to the Embarcadero while more and more nudists started showing up.
“I’m hoping that these folks around here get used to nakedness and that a lot of people are digging this,” said Lloyd Fishback, a 20-year nudist and San Francisco resident.
Crowds of tourists and spectators stared and gathered around with their cameras in hand. Some nudists were at the nearby Chevron gas station posing with gas handles and in front of television vans.
While a lot of people were gathered around and taking photos with the nudists, Brian Lake, a 30-year resident of the Castro District had less than positive thoughts about the nude-in.
“A lot of people see it as a gay Disneyland,” said Lake. “I had my family come visit me a while back and as we were walking down the street with my two seven and eight-year-old nieces, a couple of nudists passed by, it’s not right,” said Lake.
The nude-in consisted mainly of middle-aged men, but at one point a young woman showed up and stripped off her clothes.
The young woman posed naked for a few minutes before quickly putting on her dress and walking away.
Wil Nolan, a nude model from Santa Rosa, joined the protest because he said he appreciates his body and always likes being naked.
“The naked body is a natural and beautiful thing. I’ve posed nude at various colleges in San Francisco, including SFSU,” said Nolan. “Being naked is not
weird unless you make it weird.”
“It’s very liberating to be a naturalist. It’s something that one can only experience when they try it,” said Lance Mountain, a tourist who did not participate in the protest.
There were no police officers present at the protest and while a man was seen yelling against the nudists, it was mostly a very peaceful and friendly event.