Castro 'nude-in' attracts gawkers, but event taken in stride

Free as a bird: The annual Castro Nude-In

Free as a bird: The annual Castro Nude-In

They flung their arms around one another’s shoulders and put on their picture face as a passer-by snapped a memento of their time in San Francisco.

The pose would have worked at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, on board a cable car or in front of the Painted Ladies.

But Saturday, Roger Givens and his friends were in town for a different, equally San Franciscan attraction — a slew of naked men shooting the breeze in the Castro.

“It’s not every day you see something like this in public,” said Givens, 56, of Salem, Ore.

About two dozen men gathered at 17th and Castro streets Saturday for the neighborhood’s annual Nude-In, an afternoon of hanging out with it all hanging out to celebrate San Francisco’s laws that make being naked in public legal. The event was a precursor to today’s Folsom Street Fair.

It drew more attention than usual because Supervisor Scott Wiener is spearheading legislation that would require naked city-dwellers to cover public seating areas with a towel or other barrier and would prevent them from entering restaurants. But Saturday, nothing held them back.

While visitors, television crews and residents less familiar with the Castro’s Naked Guys gawked and took photos of the scene, neighborhood regulars, including San Francisco native Aviance Amedee, 20, went about their weekend routine.

When prompted to pay attention, Amedee pulled an earbud from her ear, took a sip from her Starbucks cup and glanced over at the unclothed clan.

“This is minor,” Amedee said.

The gathering was also old news for Tim Roseborough, 37, who lives in the Castro.

“I think it’s one of the great things about San Francisco, that we can create a great space where people feel free to do things that might seem weird other places,” Roseborough said.

Roseborough said has seen the group of naked men known for spending time in the Castro become somewhat of a tourist attraction.

Givens and his friends, in town for the Folsom Street Fair, said they were glad they made the trip and got a kick out of Saturday’s preview, but the Nude-In fell short of their expectations.

“We were hoping for younger guys,” Givens said.

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