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Martyrs for Nudism

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  • Martyrs for Nudism

    There is frequent talk on this forum of petitions to decriminalize nudity, but nothing compares to taking direct action and facing arrest in order to challenge nudity laws in court. Please note that I am not advocating this. I am just noting that there are advocates for nudism who have endured repeated arrest and jail time. The following are three of them.

    Andrew Martinez
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    In 1992, Andrew Martinez started attending classes nude at the University of California, Berkeley. He found some support with a "nude-in" on campus. Campus police arrested him, but the prosecutor concluded his conduct was not lewd; therefore, it was not illegal. He was expelled from the university after he showed up nude at a disciplinary hearing. In 1993, the city of Berkeley adopted an ordinance making public nudity illegal regardless of whether it was associated with lewd behavior. In 2006, he was convicted of an assault charge following a fight and committed suicide while in jail.

    Vincent Bethell
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    Circa 2000, Vincent Bethell began going nude while engaged in his normal daily business in London as part of his "Freedom to be Yourself" campaign. He was arrested repeatedly and spent five months in jail. In 2001, a jury cleared him of the charge of being a public nuisance. Despite winning the court case, his campaign lost momentum. Part of this was due to disagreements with other nudist rights campaigners regarding objectives and tactics.

    Stephen Gough
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    Stephen Gough, AKA "The Naked Rambler", made headlines with his nude trek the length of Great Britain from Lands End to John O'Groats in 2003 through 2004. He was arrested several times but still managed to complete the trek. In 2005, he started a second nude trek along the same route with his girlfriend Melanie Roberts. He was again arrested several times, but this time one of the arrests resulted in him spending three months in prison due to a contempt of court charge due his appearance nude in court. He did eventually complete the second trek in 2006. He had several additional skirmishes with the law for breaking an Antisocial Behavior Order that resulted in him spending a cumulative time of more than ten years in prison. He eventually discontinued his nudism campaign due to family issues.

  • #2
    These guys are to be commended, but unfortunately they need others to join them to have enough impact to change the laws and society's attitudes. I myself would not consider walking down my street naked, but would be very willing to be part of a group large enough to make an impression. I've contemplated WNBR for several years, but the closest one to home is about seven hours drive.


    • #3
      I thought I should mention a few who didn't end up being martyrs.

      Richard Collins
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      Richard Collins found he could cycle nude in and around Cambridge in the UK with impunity; however he was arrested in 2010 when he cycled nude to a naturist beach at Studland. Mr. Collins was convicted and required to pay a fine of 750 GBP, which seems almost worth it.

      Andrew Pointon
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      Andrew Pointon was in the habit of jogging nude in Tauranga, New Zealand. A lady saw him, complained, and he was arrested for offensive behavior. He lost his initial court case but the conviction was thrown out on appeal. Mr. Pointon was quoted by a reporter as saying, "If it was [offensive] then God wouldn't have given us genitals."

      Nick Lowe
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      Nick Lowe would wear shorts while cycling in Johnsonville, New Zealand, but he would take the shorts off once he was beyond the town. In 2009, a passing motorist took offense and complained to the police, which resulted in a charge of offensive behavior. Mr. Lowe was initially convicted and ordered to pay a fine of NZ$200, but the conviction was thrown out on appeal with the precedent being set that a complaint by a single person was not enough to trigger a charge of offensive behavior.


      • #4
        Wouldn't top free activists count for this thread?


        • #5
          Originally posted by EltonJ View Post
          Wouldn't top free activists count for this thread?

          The laws regarding exposed female breasts are inconsistent from one state to the next. I expect any remaining bans on women being topless will fall within my lifetime. It is increasingly difficult to make the case that a female exposing her breasts is violating community standards, especially given the trend toward more women discretely breastfeeding babies in public, which can easily involve unintended exposure of a breast. When and if the Equal Rights Amendment becomes part of the Constitution, such laws will be thrown out.

          Another area of arbitrary legal standards are bans on thong bikini bottoms. There simply is no rational way to set a standard regarding how much butt cheek can be exposed before crossing the line into indecency, yet police departments in communities such as Myrtle Beach are making arrests over this.