Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Of leather kilts and opposing bulwarks

Human rights groups enter fray over public nudity at Hillcrest Pride parade

Human rights activists and gay and lesbian advocacy groups are urging appellate court judges to overturn a previous court's decision to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit brought by Will Walters, a gay man who was arrested in 2011 during Hillcrest’s Pride parade for violating the city's public nudity laws by wearing a leather kilt.

Walters and his attorney Chris Morris argue that San Diego police officers discriminated against Walters, and the LGBT community as a whole, by adopting a more stringent nudity policy at the parade while refusing to enforce such policies at San Diego beaches and during popular events such as Fiesta Island’s Over the Line tournament, downtown’s Mardi Gras, and the annual Comic-Con.

At issue was Walters’s homemade leather kilt, made of 12-inch-long and 8-inch-wide flaps in both front and back covering a thong. During the parade, officers apprehended Walters because, they claimed, the sides of his buttocks were exposed.

Walters and his attorney say the leather kilt covered far more than some g-string or thong bikinis that some women wear at the beach; the difference is that Walters is a gay man.

According to a deposition from Lt. David Nieslit, head of special events for the San Diego Police Department and the first officer to contact Walters at the parade, the definition of nudity is open to interpretation. In Walters’s case, seeing the sides of his buttocks was enough to issue a citation...and enough to transport him to jail after he refused to sign it.

"The fact that I could see the side of his buttocks and more of his buttocks is what caused me to contact him," said Lt. Nieslit in a deposition.

"...He could have — I mean I'll just give you examples of what other people did, because I probably talked to 12 or 15 people that same day that were in various forms of disclothing [sic] or whatever. I saw people put on — wrap T-shirts around their waists, put on a pair of shorts, put on pants, wrap a sweatshirt around their waist. Bottom line is I didn't care how, if you could cover yourself, that was my goal. That was our goal that day, not just with Mr. Walters, but anybody we contacted."

In a letter to the Ninth District Court of Appeals obtained by the Reader, the Human Rights Campaign, activist group Lambda Legal, and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders believe that adopting a special policy at the Pride parade as well as adding interpretation to the mix violates Fourteenth Amendment rights.

"If left to stand the ruling by the district court in this matter has the potential to lay a new foundation upon which an opposing bulwark may be built that would not only protect existing discriminatory practices, but...may very well provide a new basis to summarily adjudicate legitimate Fourteenth Amendment claims by members of historically marginalized groups."

According to the appeal, and reiterated in the letter from the human rights activists, a new Special Events Nudity Policy was adopted at the behest of Lt. Nieslit in 2011, just months before the parade was set to begin. During a meeting with parade organizers, Lt. Nieslit announced changes to the old policy in order to crack down on increased nudity at event.

"In this case, there was material evidence of a discriminatory intent in the adoption of the new Special Events Nudity Policy. Specifically, Lieutenant Nieslit, the San Diego Police Department’s chief law enforcement agent for all 'special events' in the city, admitted that the policy was instituted by him specifically to decrease the level of nudity at Gay Pride. While Nieslit and his team contacted [ten to fifteen] attendees wearing 'thongs,' there was no evidence that any thong-wearing attendees at any of the other special events were contacted or detained. In fact, the pictures of these same officers standing next to thong-wearing attendees at other special events is particularly telling; the stricter reading of the Municipal Code was adopted expressly for, and only enforced at, Gay Pride."

By allowing the district court's ruling to stand, reads the letter, appellate court judges will jeopardize constitutional rights provided under the Equal Protection Clause included in the Fourteenth Amendment.

"There can be little argument that the implementation of one standard for ‘public nudity’ at gay events and yet another standard for ‘public nudity’ at straight events, standards that in this case were adopted by the same commanding officer, violates the Equal Protection Clause. If allowed to stand, this discriminatory enforcement policy sends the clear signal to the gay community that their legs, hips, and thighs are somehow offensive and should be covered, but the legs, hips and thighs of straight people are not."

Appellate court judges will consider the appeal sometime in April.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Jackslacks releases Billy Bacon tribute EP When Pigs Fly

Bacon passed away in August 2019
Next Article

La Jolla Tide Pools meets Craftsman-style renovation

In its early days, the Kline House operated as La Jolla Sanatorium

Human rights activists and gay and lesbian advocacy groups are urging appellate court judges to overturn a previous court's decision to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit brought by Will Walters, a gay man who was arrested in 2011 during Hillcrest’s Pride parade for violating the city's public nudity laws by wearing a leather kilt.

Walters and his attorney Chris Morris argue that San Diego police officers discriminated against Walters, and the LGBT community as a whole, by adopting a more stringent nudity policy at the parade while refusing to enforce such policies at San Diego beaches and during popular events such as Fiesta Island’s Over the Line tournament, downtown’s Mardi Gras, and the annual Comic-Con.

At issue was Walters’s homemade leather kilt, made of 12-inch-long and 8-inch-wide flaps in both front and back covering a thong. During the parade, officers apprehended Walters because, they claimed, the sides of his buttocks were exposed.

Walters and his attorney say the leather kilt covered far more than some g-string or thong bikinis that some women wear at the beach; the difference is that Walters is a gay man.

According to a deposition from Lt. David Nieslit, head of special events for the San Diego Police Department and the first officer to contact Walters at the parade, the definition of nudity is open to interpretation. In Walters’s case, seeing the sides of his buttocks was enough to issue a citation...and enough to transport him to jail after he refused to sign it.

"The fact that I could see the side of his buttocks and more of his buttocks is what caused me to contact him," said Lt. Nieslit in a deposition.

"...He could have — I mean I'll just give you examples of what other people did, because I probably talked to 12 or 15 people that same day that were in various forms of disclothing [sic] or whatever. I saw people put on — wrap T-shirts around their waists, put on a pair of shorts, put on pants, wrap a sweatshirt around their waist. Bottom line is I didn't care how, if you could cover yourself, that was my goal. That was our goal that day, not just with Mr. Walters, but anybody we contacted."

In a letter to the Ninth District Court of Appeals obtained by the Reader, the Human Rights Campaign, activist group Lambda Legal, and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders believe that adopting a special policy at the Pride parade as well as adding interpretation to the mix violates Fourteenth Amendment rights.

"If left to stand the ruling by the district court in this matter has the potential to lay a new foundation upon which an opposing bulwark may be built that would not only protect existing discriminatory practices, but...may very well provide a new basis to summarily adjudicate legitimate Fourteenth Amendment claims by members of historically marginalized groups."

According to the appeal, and reiterated in the letter from the human rights activists, a new Special Events Nudity Policy was adopted at the behest of Lt. Nieslit in 2011, just months before the parade was set to begin. During a meeting with parade organizers, Lt. Nieslit announced changes to the old policy in order to crack down on increased nudity at event.

"In this case, there was material evidence of a discriminatory intent in the adoption of the new Special Events Nudity Policy. Specifically, Lieutenant Nieslit, the San Diego Police Department’s chief law enforcement agent for all 'special events' in the city, admitted that the policy was instituted by him specifically to decrease the level of nudity at Gay Pride. While Nieslit and his team contacted [ten to fifteen] attendees wearing 'thongs,' there was no evidence that any thong-wearing attendees at any of the other special events were contacted or detained. In fact, the pictures of these same officers standing next to thong-wearing attendees at other special events is particularly telling; the stricter reading of the Municipal Code was adopted expressly for, and only enforced at, Gay Pride."

By allowing the district court's ruling to stand, reads the letter, appellate court judges will jeopardize constitutional rights provided under the Equal Protection Clause included in the Fourteenth Amendment.

"There can be little argument that the implementation of one standard for ‘public nudity’ at gay events and yet another standard for ‘public nudity’ at straight events, standards that in this case were adopted by the same commanding officer, violates the Equal Protection Clause. If allowed to stand, this discriminatory enforcement policy sends the clear signal to the gay community that their legs, hips, and thighs are somehow offensive and should be covered, but the legs, hips and thighs of straight people are not."

Appellate court judges will consider the appeal sometime in April.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Jackslacks releases Billy Bacon tribute EP When Pigs Fly

Bacon passed away in August 2019
Next Article

Henry Silva’s golden years

“Would you buy a used car from this son-of-a-gun?”
Comments
9

The costume depicted in this article is vulgar and represents a sexual fetish of bondage, not gay rights or pride. I would not find it acceptable for anyone, including women, to be parading like strippers or in crap like that. Children watch these parades in public and it should be considered by the event organizers. Be gay, be proud. Don't push sexual deviant behavior on me. Stop being a jerk, I won't expect that same behavior from straight people either! If you like looking like the gimp in Pulp Fiction, go on ahead, free country, just keep it in your dungeon. Truth.

March 8, 2015

Yes, a very strange way of showing Pride. And an even worse way of expressing a desire to be accepted into the mainstream of society.

March 8, 2015

Nobody forces you to watch the Pride parade. And what you think about it is not important. The point made is that there shouldn't be selective enforcement of the law. The bondage fetish, by the way, is also popular with many heterosexuals. Ever hear of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" book and movie?

March 9, 2015

Your comments are all well and good, but frankly if you mean it fairly ,heck yeah that must mean you support ticketing at Comi-con and the OTL tournament.

March 9, 2015

There are certainly many more worse crimes going on during these large events that the police can focus on. Times are changing and less clothing isn't that unacceptable as it once was. Bottom line, no pun intended, laws need to be enforced equally or changed.

March 9, 2015

Then cordon off area activities that are highly sexualized for 18 and over and spare the children.

March 9, 2015

How about parents/grandparents just keeping the kids away, if they don't want them seeing something they consider inappropriate at Pride? The New Children's Museum is open six days a week. Take them there instead.

March 9, 2015

Maybe if it was on private property, but it's public. That's why there's laws, ya know...like drunk in public, public nudity...that kinda stuff. While I doubt moms and dads pile the kids in the minivan and say, "buckle up kids, we're going to Pride!" There are families in the neighborhood or people may not know, I've gotten stuck in traffic in the area because I had no idea it was going on.

March 11, 2015

You'll probably see skimpy clothing if you go to the public beach, too. Maybe just lock up the kids at home until they turn 18. Problem solved.

March 11, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close