SPEECH BY GYPSY TAUB AT FEBRUARY 1, 2015 PROTEST:
“Dear BODY freedom supporters,
Today is National Freedom Day. Today we are going to celebrate body freedom.
Body freedom is spreading like wildfire across America. Even mainstream media is becoming more and more brave. Just recently, a Super Bowl commercial featured a model walking through a farmer’s market naked. Of course, at the end it turned out she had been wearing a bikini all along, but none-the-less the allure of public nudity is seducing America on the national scale. Following the popularity of the first commercial a second Super Bowl commercial featured a woman sunbathing naked in a public park. She was shown from the back sitting down, but this time there was no doubt that she was fully nude. That commercial begins to air today, on National Freedom Day.
Today is the 2nd anniversary of the Republican nudity ban. But we are not going to celebrate that. The nudity ban will go down in history as an embarrassing attempt to return to the Dark Ages by the fascist-Republican shadow government that has bought its way into San Francisco politics.
We are told that Scott Wiener won the elections. I personally have serious doubts about the validity of his victory. Being as unpopular as he has been with every grass roots organization in the City, being so widely hated in the Castro and beyond, I have very serious suspicions that he stole the elections. It wouldn’ t be the first time in this country nor in this city that elections were hijacked by special interests.
Whether Scott Wiener stole our bought the votes, we shouldn’t give him our power. As far as I am concerned Scott Wiener can go to hell. He is not going to stop me – and please don’t let him stop you.
Body freedom is one of the most basic fundamental human rights. It is truly our birth right. Body shame that is instilled in us by religious institutions and oppressive governments is nothing short of mind control. By being constantly bombarded with shaming messages we become hypnotized into believing that there is something inherently wrong with our bodies and therefore with us. Until we shatter that myth and until we liberate ourselves from that poison none of us can truly be free, nor happy.
If you don’t accept your body sexual intimacy seems scary if not impossible. How many families have fallen apart because mom and dad were afraid to communicate their needs and wants out of body shame? How many women mutilated their bodies out of body shame? How many men are destroying their health with viagra because of sexual dysfunctions caused by body shame? How much longer will this suffering continue unaddressed? If only society dropped its hypocrisy, if public nudity became an every-day non-event how much easier would it be for people to see that most of us don’t look like Miss America? How much easier would it be for us all to accept our bodies and to stop being ashamed of our true selves?
Being able to choose what to wear or not to wear is an important part of our freedom of self-expression. It is an important part of our image that we choose to project.
Western world is a big hypocrite when it comes to freedom. We condemn the muslims for their strict dress code. But how are we any different if in one of our most liberal cities, San Francisco, a person can go to jail for a year for sunbathing nude? How can we say that we live in a free world when even our own bodies don’t belong to us?
Mainstream America doesn’t want to face the fact that there is an epidemic of sexual abuse of children in our society. The combination of sexual abuse and body-shaming propaganda is deadly. It breeds psychotic people who are so full of self-hate that love and intimacy become unattainable. Some of those people sink deep into depression while others become psychopaths themselves. The body shame and the self-hate get passed on from generation to generation.
There are 2 reasons why some people feel disgusted by the naked body. The first and most important reason is the memories of sexual abuse. Many of us were introduced to nudity through sexual abuse. Even though the abuse itself is often forgotten and repressed in our memory, nudity still triggers feelings of terror and humiliation in many people’s minds. Instead of analyzing their feelings many people simply choose to run from them, unconsciously blaming a sunbathing stranger for the feelings that really originated elsewhere. The second reason why the naked body is seen by some as offensive is the social conditioning. It is a well-known fact that there are numerous tribes and communities on our planet where everyone is nude most of the time and no one experiences any negative feelings about it.
Other than memories of childhood sexual abuse and social conditioning there are no reasons why nudity should trigger a negative reaction. In a healthy society public nudity would be perceived as normal as sunshine.
People who claim that they are protecting their children by sheltering them from the sight of a naked body don’t want to admit that they are acting out of fear and not out of love for their children. For if they truly did act out of love they would educate their children about the human body, about its functions, about sex and about sexual abuse. Children who are uninformed about sex are the most vulnerable to sexual abuse because they have no understanding of how to identify sexual abuse and because they are afraid to communicate with their parents out of shame and fear of punishment. In reality people who talk the most about protecting their children from the naked body are the last ones to communicate, educate and truly protect their children from real sexual abuse.
Even though nudity in and of itself is not sexual, the main reason why it is criminalized is sexual oppression. And who is the leader of sexual oppression in the Western world? It’s the Catholic Church. The same institution that is up to its ears in lawsuits over child rape feels entitled to dictate to us whom and how we should love, when and how we should have children and what body parts and body functions we should be ashamed of.
We say that we live in the age of logic and reason. But when it comes to sexual freedom, when it comes to sexual self-expression, we live in the depth of the dark ages. How many gay men and trans sexual people have been beaten and even killed because they took the liberty to express themselves without reservations? I guarantee you that similar things would happen to a nudist in the same circumstances.
Even though in England the courts ruled that nudity is a form of self-expression here in America the legal system still doesn’t get it.
What if I just want to be natural? What if I just want to celebrate mother-nature in all its wonder? What if I choose to wear just my skin? How is it OK to wear the skin of an animal but not your own skin?
What if I choose to shed the imprisoning textiles that hide my natural form? What if I just want to be me without any alterations? Why am I forced to hide my true self? How is it not my right to just be me?
How is it up to Scott Wiener to decide how I should express myself? How is it that the Federal court should decide that for me? How is it that the police will handcuff and jail me for being me?
Who ever came up with the idea that the sight of the human body is harmful? That idea came from the same source as the idea that masturbation is a crime. Religious institutions have spent centuries if not thousands of year brainwashing us and telling us that if we masturbate we will burn in hell eternally.
I grew up in communist Russia. I thought it was the worst way to grow up until I came to America. In America I made friends with people who were brainwashed to believe that they would go to hell and spend the rest of eternity being burned and tortured merely for having a thought that was deemed “inappropriate.” Communism wasn’t fun by any means but at least it wasn’t able to read your thoughts. In a church, however, you were told that “God” would read your thoughts and punish you eternally for thinking them.
Nothing in this world is more criminal than mind control. Body shame is nothing but a form of mind control. There is absolutely no truth in body shame, it is a 100% lie that has been shoved down our throats from the moment we took our first breath.
How is it that a forced dress code is acceptable in a society that calls itself free?”
Here is an update on our federal lawsuit, a few words from our amazing lawyers/activists Gill Sperlein and Larry Walters:
Update on Nudity Litigation:
The litigation against San Francisco remains pending, despite efforts to dismiss the case by governmental officials. The City and County of San Francisco filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ Second Amended Complaint, which contained six different counts. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed one of the claims and the Court dismissed four others. However, the Court denied the City’s motion to dismiss one of the Plaintiffs most important claims relating to unconstitutional enforcement of the ordinance against protestors.
Count Four of the Second Amended Complaint is a First Amendment Claim based on unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. Sometimes Courts analyze this type of claim as a Fourteenth Amendment “Equal Protection” argument, but the idea is the same under either analysis. The City and County of San Francisco has enforced the nudity ban against body freedom activists, but it has chosen to ignore violations of the ordinance by people participating in events sponsored by groups with political clout at City Hall. We believe this is both wrong and unconstitutional.
The best examples of this discrimination involve nude participants of the World Naked Bike Rides or Critical Mass demonstrations. It is common knowledge that the Bicycle Coalition has significant clout at City Hall. When individuals violate the nudity ordinance in order to bring attention to the cause of increasing bicycle safety, reducing oil dependence, or similar bicycle related themes, the City turns a blind eye. But when body freedom activists, engage in nude protests to object to the ordinance or to demonstrate their unwavering belief that the naked human body should be celebrated rather than hidden, the City dispatches large numbers of police officers to squelch the protests and arrest the activists. Thus, the City silences viewpoints it disfavors, and encourages viewpoints with which it agrees. This is not the role of government in the marketplace of ideas.
By denying the City’s Motion to dismiss this claim, the Court acknowledges that the Plaintiffs pled sufficient facts in the Second Amended Complaint to reasonably infer that the City is liable for the alleged misconduct. Plaintiffs’ attorney D. Gill Sperlein said that while he is disappointed with the Court’s dismissal of some of the claims, he is confident the Plaintiffs will prevail on the remaining claim. “I have a great deal of respect for the judge,” Sperlein said, “but, I think this particular ruling contained a few mistakes in reasoning which would have a profoundly negative impact on Freedom of Speech if they were taken to their logical conclusion. However, the Court is certainly correct about the remaining claim. The City has been targeting these individuals because the City does not like that they advocate for body freedom. At the same time, the City engages in willful blindness when individuals undress to bring attention to a cause the City supports.” Lawrence Walters, a First Amendment guru from Florida who also represents the Plaintiffs in the case said that an appeal of the dismissed claims is all but certain.
The City’s answer to the remaining claim is due shortly, and the case is now in the discovery stage. Parties will likely file motions for summary judgment sometime in the Spring or Summer, with a trial expected shortly thereafter.