Folsom Street plays host to one of San Francisco's largest annual events.

Court grants two nudists’ petition for parade permit during Folsom weekend

City Attorney spokesman defends SFPD’s permit denial as reasonable ‘given traffic and safety considerations’ of Market Street shut-down—but the ‘court saw it differently’
Folsom Street plays host to one of San Francisco's largest annual events.
Folsom Street plays host to one of San Francisco’s largest annual events.

SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 25, 2015)—A federal court has ordered the city to grant a parade permit to two nudism advocates who are viewing Folsom Street Fair weekend as “as an especially favorable opportunity to hold a protest march” against a local ordinance that regulates public nudity. Advocates George Davis and Oxane “Gypsy” Taube want to close portions of four streets for their “nude-in” march tomorrow—Saturday, Sept. 26—according to their parade permit application: Market Street between Castro and Civic Center as well as Larkin, McAllister and Polk Streets. Davis and Taube plan to stage their event from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

“We think the Police Department made a reasonable decision to deny the permit given traffic and safety considerations,” said Matt Dorsey, spokesman for City Attorney Dennis Herrera. “With the Folsom Street Fair especially, we’d rather not be shutting down major thoroughfares for a small march. But the court saw it differently, so George and Gypsy get their permit. Still, we don’t think there’s a serious infirmity with our local parade ordinance, and we’ll continue to defend it aggressively.”

The Folsom Street Fair is an annual celebration sponsored by Folsom Street Events, which seeks to unite adult alternative lifestyle communities with safe venues for self-expression and entertainment. Charitable giving to local and national non-profits from the street fair, which reports to be the world’s largest leather and fetish community event, has exceeded $5.2 million since it was established in 1984.

“Ironically, George and Gypsy may well find people to march with them in states of undress—it is Folsom weekend—but I doubt most people will realize it’s for a political demonstration,” said Dorsey. “It’s just another weekend in San Francisco.”

The case is: George Davis et al. v. City and County of San Francisco et al., U.S. District Court for the Northern District Of California, case no. 15-CV-04336, filed Sept. 22, 2015.

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