Gay Pride | News | San Diego

Man Sues City of San Diego Over Gay Pride Thong Arrest

A San Diego man is suing the City of San Diego, several police officers, San Diego Pride, and head of Pride security, Shawn Chamberlain, seeking an injunction and compensatory and punitive damages for violations of the Fourteenth and Fourth Amendments, false arrest, battery, negligence and violation of his civil rights under California's Civil Code, Courthouse News Service reports:

SdprideWill X. Walters claims city police selectively enforced a municipal policy on public nudity, which allows women to wear g-strings and thongs, but not gay men.

Walters also claims that San Diego Pride "wholeheartedly endorsed" the policy, to "curry favor" with the police department, to appeal to mainstream sponsors, and to make the event palatable to straight people and families.    

"Will Walters is a Hispanic, gay man who owns the dubious distinction of being the only person in the history of the City of San Diego to be arrested and booked on a charge of public nudity," the complaint states. "Mr. Walters was arrested for public nudity at the 2011 Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender Pride ('Pride') event while wearing an opaque gladiator type kilt over black underwear. Under any definition, he was not nude, as his buttocks and genitalia were fully covered. Nonetheless, he was ushered out of the event, humiliated, arrested, and incarcerated."

Walters was reportedly told that his outfit - "leather gear consisting of boots, a black leather gladiator kilt, black underwear, and a black leather harness with chrome rings" - was "borderline" and says he was forcibly escorted out and had his phone knocked from his hand as he attempted to record the incident.

The complaint continues:

 "At the jail Mr. Walters was placed in a single cell visible to all inmates being checked in. San Diego County sheriffs deputies encouraged the incoming inmates to ridicule Mr. Walters, who was wearing only his kilt and underwear, and the deputies joined in the verbal harassment. In going from the hot environment of an overheated car to the air conditioned jail, Mr. Walters was chilled. The deputies refused Mr. Walters any additional clothing or a blanket. However, upon his release from jail, Mr. Walters was ordered to change into clothing provided by the jail. Mr. Walters was released from the jail at approximately 2:15 am, Sunday, July 17, 2011, after posting $190 bond. He had been given nothing to eat or drink since his arrest, some twelve hours prior."

Gay Man Sues for Thong Discrimination [courthouse news]

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  1. All of these Pride events are just another form of big business. They really have little or nothing to do with actual "pride"...if they did, people wouldn't be walking around wearing the ridiculous things they do.

    Posted by: Oliver | Mar 13, 2012 9:46:52 AM

  2. Trying to make pride events more "palatable to straight people" seems like a big way to miss the point.

    Posted by: Xtab | Mar 13, 2012 9:47:45 AM

  3. I have no sympathy for this guy at all. Put on some decent clothes and STFU.

    It's queens like this who feel the need to 'dress' up so provocatively who give a bad name and reputation to the rest of us. And it detracts from our cause. Instead of focusing on gay marriage and other important issues, this is what ends up as "news."

    Posted by: Artie | Mar 13, 2012 9:49:31 AM

  4. Was he also charged with extreme tackiness?

    Posted by: endo | Mar 13, 2012 9:53:09 AM

  5. Expect the anti gay haters to be all over this post. They HATE the idea of Pride, or any gathering of gay people that involves embracing and celebrating being gay (when so much of the world puts us to death-LITERALLY- for being gay) these miserable people won't and can't understand the purpose behind a CELEBRATION (cheesy/corny/yet fun one) of being LGBT

    Posted by: Jamal | Mar 13, 2012 9:55:31 AM

  6. Women may not bare their nipples in public, but men can. Precedent for sartorial double-standards is well-established. Suck it up, buttercup.

    Posted by: NaughtyLola | Mar 13, 2012 9:55:42 AM

  7. @ Jamal: from my experience, it's always CLOSETED gays who resent Pride. And the writing is on the wall on why they do. They resent that so many gays and lesbians get to be free during Pride, so they recite old cliches about it they've read. Most often, they've never even been to Pride because they are living in such shame that they wouldn't even expose themselves to an area with a high concentration of gays. Bigotry meets bigotry.

    Posted by: IonMovies | Mar 13, 2012 9:59:08 AM

  8. I pity the fools who overthink what Pride events are, and try to shame the millions of gays and lesbians who attend Pride activities every year. Pride is a liberated celebration with no apologies and NO judgments. And that's what Pride weekend represents. A judgmental free weekend to celebrate diversity in a narrow world that constantly judges us.

    If you can't appreciate Pride....don't go to the events. But the moment you speak ill on those grown adults who choose to, or you want to see Pride banned, you are absolutely no different than a hetro who speaks ill on those who want gay marriage. Don't want something? DON'T DO IT. But you don't get to dictate how others can enjoy their lives, and Pride events bring millions joy throughout the world.

    Posted by: Elda Rhines | Mar 13, 2012 10:02:24 AM

  9. Why is this story titled "thong" arrest when the details clearly state that he wasn't wearing a thong and that his ass was covered?

    Posted by: Tim NC | Mar 13, 2012 10:02:47 AM

  10. Good for him. I hope he wins. It sounds like he has several legitimate grievances.

    Posted by: Marc in Chicago | Mar 13, 2012 10:05:00 AM

  11. Artie: why does every single gay person need to constantly be mindful of the big, scary, straight person to impress? God Forbid every gay person doesn't wake up every morning not wanting to be a perfect little angel to impress you and the hetros. Otherwise, no civil rights for us, right? Is that what you're implying....because gay people are entitled to frivelous, fun loving parades and shows just like hetros are. They get Mardi Gras, and Rio Carnival, and every bar in the Jersey Shore where they act a gazillion times more vulgar and crude than anything I've ever witnessed at Pride.

    Posted by: michelle | Mar 13, 2012 10:05:45 AM

  12. I'm also over this truly *bigoted* notion that everything gay people do, be it as individuals or a community, has to be done with the approval of all straight people, and not just any straight people, but the most Conservative uptight straight folks giving us a thumbs up.

    Skrew that. I'm a good person, a model citizen, who has a loving partner of 6 years and deserve the same rights as the next person. Even if I do love getting wasted and having a blast one weekend a year that enables me to party in honor of being gay. it's not enough we can get fired in dozens of states in the country for being gay, we gotta ask premission on what gay related events we can attend on our weekends.

    Posted by: USC Trojan Fan | Mar 13, 2012 10:10:13 AM

  13. ONLY YOU can give yourself a bad name. It's a damn parade and for many young people their first EVER feeling of inclusion, acceptance, the pure joy of expressing one's self and the numbers of others out there like them. I get so tired of these sad little souls and their "Pride is making us look baaaaaaaad." Really? If it wasn't for the drag queens and all the others, unembarrassed and full of pride in ALL its manifestations we wouldn't be where we are now.

    Millions and millions of heterosexuals line the worlds streets in the summer to watch and laugh (and cringe) and cheer and get glittered and foamed and water gunned and drag queened....and they have changed their minds. Get over yourselves already.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Mar 13, 2012 10:11:28 AM

  14. Meh. Good for him! the sketchiest, shadiest crap I've ever seen go down is in straight estbalishments or straight geared events. be it horrible fights, to horrible public displays of sex, and much more. they get a break because they're "straight and entitled" but we beest better not act out, or else we gota some explainin to do and gotta then beg to get rights. Bull!

    Posted by: a.j | Mar 13, 2012 10:14:05 AM

  15. I'm so pleased to see nearly every comment here in favor of Pride, and what it truly is. You never know on the comments section on here. Some days really draw the loonies.

    I attended my first Pride in Los Angeles last year. I came out, and accepted who I was just a few months before that. Pride gave me my first opportunity to be around gays. Of all kinds. Literally allll kinds. I saw older gays, I saw feminine gays, I saw huge rugged hairy gays, and beautiful partnered lesbians, I saw LGBT siblings and it was so comforting, and fun, and real, and just felt safe. Pride is important because for some 360 + days gays are a minority in virtually every setting and city.

    Posted by: Just A Kid | Mar 13, 2012 10:20:01 AM

  16. "It's queens like this who..."

    ... made it possible for you, forty years later, to live openly instead of grabbing fast sex in highway rest stops and heading home to the wife and kids and a life of quiet despair.

    Posted by: BobN | Mar 13, 2012 10:26:29 AM

  17. @Michelle

    Have you ever been to Mardi Gras? There are as many gay people proportionately there as straight people. It is not a heterosexual parade by any way, shape or means. You don't have to have an ID card that says "Straight" to participate. In fact, the first and last time I was at Mardi Gras I was there with a gay couple from California. No one stopped them and told them it was "Straights Only". Women weren't the only people there flashing the boobies.

    BTW, I hate that argument.

    By all means please explain when women are allowed to go topless, not raise a shirt, but go topless in a parade and not be arrested for public nudity? Men, I don't care how hairy, how fat, how splotchy, how sunburned, how pale...can pull a shirt off on the hottest day of summer and mow the lawn, ride on a parade float, go to the beach, etc.

    Or am I wrong?

    I am all for celebrating pride and diversity. I am all for celebrating the mutherfreakin fact that in spite of all of the world's attempts to shove you under the rug yall are still here.

    I just don't understand the argument that parades require nudity to be fun. And I mean this for Mardi Gras, too.

    Why should public funded city streets be partitioned for any exclusive segment of the population--and what I mean by this is ADULTS ONLY!?!

    I would love to bring my kids to a Pride event so that I can tell them about gay history. I would love to bring my kids to Mardi Gras so they, too, can let the good times roll.

    It's just not possible.

    Posted by: Rin | Mar 13, 2012 10:28:55 AM

  18. Ohh Pride is just soooo "awful" yet heterosexuals are holding school assemblies, three reported this month alone, where they tell students in mass numbers that gays will die and burn in hell in violent manners. that doesn't trigger much of an outrage from Faux News crowd, but gays dancing on a dang parade float to techno music is the end of society and reflective of the evils of gays.
    time for GAYS to start rejecting every anti gay statement they hear. Including Pride is bad, that gays being proud to be gay is 'shoving it down peoples throats' stop feeding the hate mongers. Live life for you, and if that includes going to Pride, go for it! don't let a bigot run ur life.

    Posted by: Real Talk | Mar 13, 2012 10:31:01 AM

  19. Kilts, which seem to be what this is all about, might be considered sexually provocative under community standards, though the last person arrested for something like that must have been a while ago. However, if he wasn't charged, then his case isn't going to get very far in the courts regardless of the merits. He would need a very good attorney.

    Posted by: anon | Mar 13, 2012 10:32:05 AM

  20. @ Rin....the ol' kids card, ey? That seems to be the most played out, tired card to pull in an attempt to stop any gay front.

    Gay marriage? "what about the kids!"
    Gay rights? "my kids in school will be taught about them"
    Adam Lambert kissing a man on television at 10 PM on an award show? "...but the kids"

    So your argument against Pride is that it's not kid friendly enough. So every known event and activity that's public HAS to be centered around kids? Since *when*?

    Posted by: Real Talk | Mar 13, 2012 10:35:42 AM

  21. Rin, YOU chose to have kids. I CAN'T STAND THEM. Keep them away from me. THEY ARE YOURS. They are YOUR responsibility to raise! NOT the worlds. Got that?

    Posted by: Kyle | Mar 13, 2012 10:36:48 AM

  22. PERHAPS, he should not be charged with public nudity, but I think it's a slam dunk case of public indecency or just bad exhibitionist taste. He should have known better than to prance around on the public streets dressed liked that and should be prepared to suffer the consequences.

    Posted by: Lucas | Mar 13, 2012 10:38:15 AM

  23. Rin,

    Take your children to a playground, or Chucky Cheese. Society is sincerely tired of playing babysitter for today's parents who assume everyone loves their precious little spawn as much as you do. We don't. Really. And leave my programming alone, and tuck your kids in bed instead.

    Posted by: Michelle | Mar 13, 2012 10:38:55 AM

  24. this -everything must be kid friendly or else- argument is really, really starting to make me grow tired. not just me, but many people I know, some with kids. the world does not revolve around children, it revolves around adults, some who choose to have children, and *those* adults have a duty to guide their children. not every adult has a duty to your child, and frankly, not every adult wants to be in a 'child proof' setting.

    Posted by: IonMovies | Mar 13, 2012 10:41:38 AM

  25. I didn't say:

    Gay marriage!!! What about the kids??? OMG!!!!!!!!! Spare the children, spare the children.... Children will be scandalized by gay marriage. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!Noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

    I am stating that public events don't require naked breasts or naked asses and that it would be nice if children were able to view parades instead of being kept home.

    You, however, are quite welcome to read it however.

    And, if you are making the statement that children and gay cultural experiences have no place together then explain how gay children will have any type of positive gay experience to participate in? Straight parents have gay children.

    Posted by: Rin | Mar 13, 2012 10:43:36 AM

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