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Naked volleyball and painting classes typify life at Michigan nudist camp

The elderly newcomer wanted to make friends, so he took off his pants and waved hello.

Gloria Wright was going about her morning, talking with her neighbors outside their trailers, when this gray-haired visitor drove inside the nudist camp, stepped out of his truck and stood in the hot sunshine before them wearing nothing but a red T-shirt and flip-flops, the Detroit Free Press reported. And everyone just yawned.

This is what sometimes passes for an icebreaker at the Cherry Lane Nudist Resort in North Adams, a village of 477 people on the southern border of central Michigan. The remote nudist camp is surrounded by farms, affording seclusion that allows adults to wander naked and free, like overgrown babes in the woods. The resort is like a typical RV campground where people can swim, barbecue and hang out. Only difference is, everyone’s naked most of the time.

“It’s just a wonderful place,” said Wright, 63, a retired education consultant from Lima, Ohio. She first came here in 2002 with a now ex-husband who wanted freedom from a life of Pentecostal shackles. He left, she stayed, and she now lives at the resort half the year in a trailer with an expansive deck that overlooks a shaded valley in the woods.

“We just have all groups of people, all the way from truck drivers to lawyers — a lot of nurses and teachers, and everybody finds their own little niche and has a really nice time,” said Wright, who was wearing a light summer dress. Nudity isn’t required anywhere here except the swimming pool. But like the bold, geriatric visitor who dropped his pants as soon as he arrived, people who are drawn here don’t usually need encouragement to get naked in front of others.

“It’s a sense of freedom that you normally don’t get. I mean, if you were meant to be naked you’d have been born that way,” said the Rev. Dennis Bevis, Cherry Lane’s 66-year-old longtime owner and dispenser of wry slogans. “And so it’s going back to nature, basically.”

On top of his managerial duties, Bevis also is an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church. “As a holy man I cannot only provide you with a place to sin, but also absolve you of said sins at the end of the weekend if you so desire,” he reassures people on the nudist camp website.

Many members of the nudist camp say being naked in public is just innocent fun, a way to move past self-consciousness while also enjoying the sensation of the warm sunshine and the cool breeze on their bare skin.

“It’s free and open here,” said 83-year-old Floyd Hoover, who’s been a member of the resort for a quarter-century. “You run around without any clothes on. You’ve got a beautiful pool, you can lay out and be yourself like nature intended. Kind of like a Garden of Eden thing.”

Well, except for all the swingers.

Cherry Lane started back in the freewheeling late ’60s, when nudist resorts were springing up all over the country.

Bevis’ parents, who’d tried nudism and liked it, grew tired of the resort they’d been attending in mid-Michigan. Too uptight, they thought. So the family converted a small farm they owned in the little village of North Adams into their own public nudist camp.

Back then the resort was barely more than a few tents and trailers. Fifty years later, it’s become an 80-acre community with high-end campers, a clubhouse, a performance stage, a swimming pool, utilities, amenities and security. It’s one of seven nudist resorts left operating in Michigan, set in conservative Hillsdale County, of all places. Membership costs up to $1,800 a year.

The crowd here skews distinctly older. “We’re starting to get a younger group now, but there’s a lot of people between 50 and 75 that’s from that Baby Boomer commune generation,” Wright said. “But we’re starting to get a younger, maybe 40 to 50-ish group in here. And you have the occasional 25-year-old girl who comes in with some old, rich man who wants to show her off.”

There’s lots to do here, from naked volleyball tournaments to nude painting classes to Saturday night dances in a clubhouse — usually with a theme, like ’70s night. There are a dozen or so minibars that residents set up in front of their campers, and on weekend summer nights there often are bar crawls from one camper to another for bouts of naked drinking.

They’ve also got pudding wrestling. Blind golf-cart races. And the annual “Shave-a-Thon,” when people take razors to each other’s most tender parts in broad daylight by the pool, memorialized in a graphic photo display in the clubhouse.

There are rules galore here: Visitors have to be buzzed in at the gate and must register with the office. No children are allowed at any time. Cameras are prohibited. Drugs are forbidden. “And ‘no’ always means no,” Wright said.

Most people here on a given day are dues-paying members who leave their campers here year-round. Though, since nudism requires good weather, the resort is closed to all but the die-hards from October to April every year.

But it’s open in the summer to visitors, who can hang out during the daytime and sample the nudist camp way of life. It’s a way to attract new members. It’s also a way to draw creeps. Residents call them “pay per views” who often come to leer. Some try to sneak in past the front gate. Everyone watches out for them. They’ve earned the scrutiny over the years.

“You wouldn’t believe the people that come in here,” Wright said. “They automatically believe that everybody’s naked all the time, everybody’s screwing everybody all the time. I mean, those are the kind of questions you get all the time.”

Wright remembers sitting outside having coffee and donuts one morning with her 83-year-old neighbor when a lone, male visitor walked over and asked them to expose themselves. “And he’s like, ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,”” Wright said. And he did just that. The women were uncharmed by the move.

“People that are vanilla about this automatically think just because you’re a nudist that you must go along with everything else,” said Lisa Klingler, 52, of Windsor. She and her husband Joe, 65, have a camper parked here permanently, and spend an entire month here every summer. To them, nudism is a social activity. They like to throw naked dinner parties for their neighbors.

For them, public nudity is simply liberating. Especially, she said, for women.

“Because we sit there every day of our lives, we have to put our masks on, we gotta put our makeup on, we gotta put our uniform on or our scrubs on,” she said, seated topless on a stool at their camper bar, known as Lisa and Joe’s Bar and Grill. Her naked husband was nearby, building an outdoor covered kitchen next to their camper as she spoke. It was her birthday present.

“There’s no fashion show here,” she said. “We come in all shapes and sizes. My favorite line is, ‘If it don’t droop, sag, drag or jiggle it’s not all real.’ And you become real. You just become real with it.”

And yet, when you get a bunch of naked people together, things are going to happen.

“I don’t care what nudist camp you go to, be it traditional or whatever, there are swingers there,” Bevis said.

It’s not obvious, though. There’s no public sex allowed here. Arrangements are made quietly, privately.

“Sometimes two people will disappear from the dance for 30 minutes and they show back up,” Wright said. “Every couple has their own rules.”

Since most people here are longtime residents, there aren’t many anonymous encounters to be had. But that just adds to the charm of the resort, some members say.

“It is kind of different than a swing club here. It’s more personal and you build more of a friendship, as opposed to just going to a swing club and hooking up and you go home,” said Carina Travis, 46. She came originally to swing with her now ex-husband. “You get to know people and make friendships. I would do anything for them and they’d do anything for me, which is really cool.”

The closest thing to a public swinging spot here is a place called Fantasy Land, which people swear with a wink doesn’t actually exist. It’s a large, screened tent hidden in the woods and stocked with tables and benches.

“Pretty much anything goes out there,” said Bevis, noting that he never visits that part of the resort. “I don’t really get too much into the details. If people are swingers or nudists I really don’t care.”

And even if they’re neither, some people come here for a visit anyway — not to participate in anything, but just to immerse themselves in the sexually charged atmosphere for thrills.

“We get this whole range of people, and even people who aren’t swingers who come out here and who aren’t even nudists,” Bevis said. “There’s a certain amount of excitement about the possibilities, you know, the potential and all that thing. So it adds a little spice to their life, even if they don’t participate, per se.”

Night had fallen, and the little strands of lights on the campers and trailers were twinkling in the dusk. The resort was quickly coming to life again, as residents got off work and came back to their alternate world.

Three dozen shot glasses filled with candy-flavored liquors were lined up on table at Connie and Daryl’s bar, located in front of their camper. Karaoke was set up under an adjacent canopy, where tipsy guests could launch a massacre on their favorite classic rock songs. It was Friday night, and it was time to party.

“Would you like to see my Twinkie?” a 43-year-old woman named Lexi asked a newcomer during a break between songs. This could meant anything at a nudist camp.

But she was referring to her ancient camper, a tiny 1976 Airstream Argosy, nicknamed by the resort’s regulars for its shape and color. She first brought it here 13 years ago, when she came as part of a swinging couple with a now ex-boyfriend. She stays in it on weekends with her current boyfriend.

She calls herself Lexi when she’s here because like many members, she’s got a job and a life outside this remote nudist camp, and as much as times have changed and social mores have relaxed since the resort was founded half a century ago, being branded a nudist — or worse, a swinger — can still wreak havoc on a life.

“There’s families that will disown. You’d be amazed,” Travis said. “I always find it amazing how judgmental people are in this world.”

Because of that fear, discretion is paramount here. “We protect people’s privacy out here to the nth degree,” Bevis said. “We don’t want to bust anybody. A lot of these people, we don’t even send mail to a lot of them, like their bill and stuff, ‘cause their kids open their mail.”

Among all the lawyers and nurses and teachers here, members say there’s also a small-town judge and at least one politician from a neighboring state. Pretty much everyone who’s not yet retired has something to lose. And that shared need for secrecy has created a unusual, tight-knit community based on trust.

“These people party together, they cry together, they laugh together, they have a good time together, and they form these lifelong bonds,” Bevis said. “It’s almost like a family thing at some point, you know?”

Indeed, he’d just returned from a six-hour round trip to Flint to see a longtime member of the nudist camp who was on her deathbed. She had cancer, was in hospice, and had no family other than her adoptive one here, led by the Rev. Bevis, godfather of the nudists.

“It’s my second family, and it’s fun,” Travis said. “I get to be somebody that I’m not in the real world. You always have to be something proper and everything else there, and here you just come out and get to relax, be a kid in a sense, an adult kid, and do things you don’t get to do at home. Like being naked.”

The party grew larger and the clothes started coming off and the shots were downed and the songs were shouted. At the end of the weekend, everyone would scatter to their boring jobs and their loving families and their stifling wardrobes. But for now, everyone got to be someone they weren’t outside of here, and the possibilities the good reverend spoke about hung temptingly in the night’s warm air.

“When you’re here, the whole rest of the world doesn’t exist,” Bevis said. “The only world that exists is right here.”

This is an AP member exchange story.

 

Playboy to cease publishing full nudity

Playboy is about to find out how many people really do read it for the articles.

The magazine that helped usher in the sexual revolution in the 1950s and ’60s by bringing nudity into living rooms – or at least sock drawers – all over America announced on Oct. 13 that it will no longer run photos of completely naked women.

Playboy has seen an extreme drop in circulation over the past few decades, falling victim to some of the very forces it helped set in motion. Porn in full color and high-definition video is now all over the Internet.

“You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture,” Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott Flanders told The New York Times.

Starting in March, Playboy will still feature women in “provocative” poses, but they will no longer be fully nude. It will become more like Esquire and other magazines with PG-13-type pictures.

Playboy has not yet decided whether it will still have a centerfold, according to the Times.

The change represents a major shift for the magazine, which broke new ground when Hugh Hefner created it and featured Marilyn Monroe on its debut cover in 1953. It marks the latest step away from depictions of full nudity, which were banned from the magazine’s website in August 2014.

The magazine said its website audience soared with that move, averaging a fourfold increase in monthly unique visitors.

“The political and sexual climate of 1953 … bears almost no resemblance to today,” Flanders said. “We are more free to express ourselves politically, sexually and culturally today, and that’s in large part thanks to Hef’s heroic mission to expand those freedoms.”

Playboy editor Cory Jones recently contacted Hefner about dropping nude photos from the print edition and he agreed, the Times reported.

Playboy’s print circulation, measured at 5.6 million in the 1975, is now about 800,000, according to Alliance for Audited Media, the newspaper reported.

The shift from nudity will be accompanied by other changes in the magazine, including a slightly larger size and a heavier, higher quality of paper meant to give the magazine a more collectible feel.

Arrested naked violinist sues, alleging excessive force

A Hillsboro, Oregon, man arrested after playing a violin while naked outside the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, last year is suing police.

The Oregonian reports that 25-year-old Matthew T. Mglej claims authorities used excessive force and violated his First Amendment rights. He named the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Portland Police Bureau as defendants in a lawsuit filed last week, and he’s seeking $1.1 million in damages.

Police showed up after receiving complaints about the demonstration, during which the man played violin, meditated and quoted former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They said they arrested him for indecent exposure and carried him to a patrol car when he refused to walk.

Mglej claims jail deputies cut his wrists by jerking on his handcuffs and called him names when he cried from the pain and for his service dog.

He has a hearing on the indecent exposure charge next month.

Brawny bearded brewers bare nearly all for charity

A group of brawny, bearded brewers from the Sheboygan, Wisconsin, area has posed mostly nude for a calendar that is raising money for charity.

The 2015 Brew Men Calendar features 11 brewing professionals from 3 Sheeps Brewing, 8th Street Ale Haus and Plymouth Brewing Co. Proceeds from the calendar, which can be bought online or at various bars, grocers and liquor stores in Wisconsin and northern Illinois, will be donated to the Movember Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on men’s health issues, including prostate and testicular cancer.

Unsurprisingly, the idea came about when they were enjoying a few beers. After Kurt Jensen, owner of 8th Street Ale Haus, began talking to some of his brewing buddies about doing charity work, the group of beer-lovers eventually came up with something similar to a swimsuit calendar.

Grant Pauly, founder of 3 Sheeps, said he hopes the calendars will raise awareness and stimulate conversations about men’s health, he told Sheboygan Press Media.

“I was down in Chicago when someone who saw the group photo on our Facebook page came up to me and we ended up having a 20 minute conversation,” he said.

The photos were shot in early October by a professional photographer who doubles as a beer enthusiast. Each month of the calendar depicts a different step of the brewing process.

Jensen said convincing the guys to take off their clothes for a good cause was easier than he expected, and Pauly agreed.

“Putting the calendar together, that was pretty easy,” said Pauly. “We have the most difficult part ahead; getting the word out.”

The calendar marks the first fundraising effort of Brewers Against Bad Things, a group that Pauly and Jensen recently founded to raise money for charitable causes.

Straight and gay, uncensored

Butch Cordora, host of the gay Philadelphia TV talk show In Bed With Butch, is the main subject of the 2010 documentary Straight and Butch. The program airs on Here TV beginning May 30 and continuing through June, which is Gay Pride Month.

The film begins in 2008, when the slightly narcissistic Cordora sets out to create a calendar of pictures that pair him, naked, with straight men. The documentary follows the process through to its completion.

The images were shot by a handful of different photographers in a variety of settings. Gervase Peterson, of Survivor and Big Brother fame, happened to mention that his girlfriend shaved his head for him when he got out of the shower. So, a shot was set up in which Butch shaved Gervase’s head. The subject’s personal stories also influenced the shots with tattooed Bill, pizzeria proprietor Angelo and Eric, a professional cook and massage therapist. The best looking of the subjects, Eric, whose father was gay, was also the most comfortable with Butch in front of the camera.

As the project gained momentum, the photo shoots became more inventive. Butch and one of the subjects recreated the famous Annie Leibowitz Rolling Stone magazine cover featuring a naked John Lennon and a clothed Yoko Ono. Another subject joined with Butch to create a version of Leibowitz’s infamous k.d. lang and Cindy Crawford barber chair shot for Vanity Fair. Perhaps the most universally famous image paid homage is the Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover, featuring Butch with three naked straight men.

Unfortunately, Straight and Butch is neither as interesting nor titillating as it could have been. Still, it does a decent job of portraying the change in attitudes of straight men toward gay men, and for that, it should be commended.

2013: Bad year to get naked in Wisconsin

From strippers who got busted fighting over a $1 tip to a naked would-be burglar who got stuck in the air vents of a building for 12 hours, some of the oddest news of 2013 involved the nude.

The January brawl at a Juneau strip club started after one dancer took a dollar tip given to another by a customer. The fight, according to police, including punching, slapping and pulling of hair.

A 20-year-old man was ordered in March to “stay out of all the libraries on the face of the earth” after he was found masturbating in a public library in Racine.

And a 19-year-old man may have wished he stayed out of the air vents of a veterinary clinic in Milwaukee. Or, at least he might have wanted to think twice about undressing before climbing into the vents to break into the clinic.

Police said they thought the man was trying to prevent his clothes from snagging on screws inside the vents. He wasn’t seriously injured in the embarrassing September escapade.

Nudists who gathered during the week at a public beach on the Wisconsin River near Mazomanie had their schedules disrupted this year. State authorities closed it on weekdays in hopes larger weekend crowds would deter any hanky panky.

But that didn’t help. Of 13 citations issued for public sex on the beach, 11 were written on — you guessed it — the weekend. The numbers were down, law enforcement officials claimed illegal activity remained rampant. The citations were issued during only seven days of surveillance.

Things went a little bit better for “Thong Cape Scooter Man,” known for cruising Madison clad only in thong underwear and a cape.

Police received calls after the man rode by some students walking to a school bus. That man said while he may have used bad judgment in passing a school, he did so unintentionally.

Since his outfit was enough to keep him from breaking any laws, he was free to ride on.

The cuddlers at Madison’s Snuggle House weren’t nude either, but that didn’t keep them from causing controversy during their three-week venture.

The owner of the business dedicated to “touch therapy” said there was nothing untoward about offering $60-per-hour snuggle sessions in makeshift bedrooms above a bar a block from the Capitol.

But wary city officials weren’t so sure.

“There’s no way that (sexual assault) will not happen,” assistant city attorney Jennifer Zilavy said. “No offense to men, but I don’t know any man who wants to just snuggle.”

And just like that, the Snuggle House folded its blankets and shut its doors in December.

Those dressed but behaving oddly included a Fond du Lac woman who tried to fake an injury so an ambulance would give her a free ride home.

Police were called after the woman tried to get a man to pay her $100 she said was owed. After he refused, and police told her to leave, the woman threw herself on the ground in an attempt to get a free ambulance ride.

Jana Ganjian also had a free ride for years, living in an upscale Racine hotel since 2004. Ganjian fell behind on her payments to the point that she owed $29,000 by the time she was kicked out.

It’s not clear why the hotel allowed her to remain for so long. The hotel manager declined to talk about it.

Another mystery, at least for a while, was the origin of a six-fingered “hand” discovered at Madison recycling plant.

A veteran detective, noting there was no thumb, suggested — and later confirmed — it wasn’t a hand at all, but rather a bear paw.

“When it doubt, count the fingers, or in this case, the claws,” one supervising sergeant said, according to a police incident report.

Not all the unusual events were sad or disturbing.

In July, a Waukesha man discovered a 1949 high school class ring while using a metal detector near his home. With a little detective work, the man was able to trace the ring back to its owner: 82-year-old Dick Diedrich, of Mattoon, Ill.

Diedrich hadn’t seen the ring since 1948, when his sweetheart lost it after taking it off to dissect frogs in biology class. The person who found the ring mailed it back to him.

“It’s your ring’ he told me. ‘Keep it and enjoy it,’” Diedrich said. “So the bottom line is, I’m now sitting here at 82 years old with my class ring 63 years later.”

Nudes check out nudes at Austrian museum

These museum goers didn’t just leave their coats at the coat check. They handed over their shirts, trousers and underwear.

Everything, in fact, except their shoes and socks. After all, the stone floor can get chilly when you’re touring an art exhibit in the nude, which was what more than 60 art lovers did in a special after-hours showing at Vienna’s prestigious Leopold museum.

For many, the tour of “Nude Men from 1800 to Today” – an exhibit of 300 paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures focused on the bare male – was a goose-bump-raising instance of life imitating art.

“I can’t say I’m sweating,” said office worker Herbert Korvas as he stood waiting in the atrium with other young men, wearing only socks, sneakers and a smile. Despite the cold, he said he was drawn to the idea of naked museum viewing “because it was something different.”

But after a while it really wasn’t. With no other viewers around, nude quickly became the new normal as the visitors quickly  gathered around a – dressed – exhibition guide and moved slowly from one art work to the next, listening intently to their history.

And they weren’t the first visitors to get naked either, despite the hoopla around the event that drew dozens of reporters and camera teams from Austria and elsewhere.

A man had already stripped at the exhibition of pictures and sculptures in November, calmly sauntering through the exhibition and dressing again only after a security guard asked him to do so. That act made news – and sparked demand for Monday’s all-nude showing, said museum spokesman Klaus Pokorny.

“We got requests from all over the world from people who were inspired by the exhibition … who asked us, ‘Can we visit the exhibition naked?’” he said.

On Monday, interest was definitely skewed along gender lines. Irina Wolf smiled as she looked around at the mostly male crowd lining up for tickets.

“I’m at a big advantage here,” she said. “Only men around.”

While Wolf said she is not someone who regularly strips in public places, the 40-something computer engineer and occasional theater critic, said “I want to see how I relate to such a group.”

For others, Monday’s event fulfilled a long-cherished wish – even though they had a hard time explaining why.

Florian Kahlenberg from Munich said he found it “interesting to stroll through a museum naked,” adding. “I’ve always wanted to do that.”

Few visitors, naked or dressed, have complained about the show, despite some explicit material showing sexual acts. Described as among the most successful ever staged by the Leopold, it has drawn well over 100,000 people.

That fits with Vienna’s relaxed attitude. Its turn-of-the-century decadence allowed Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt to flourish, and the Leopold itself has a world-class collection of those and other artists known for their explicit depiction of the flesh.

But the Austrian capital’s acceptance of nudity goes beyond museum exhibits. Thousands of men, women and children skinny dip daily in the Danube along stretches reserved for them during the summer, while racy lingerie ads dot huge billboards across the city all year round and a mass-circulation daily regularly prints photos of half-naked women.

Still, there are limits to Viennese tolerance. The Leopold was forced into cover-up mode last year after complaints over promotional posters plastered city-wide that showed three young and athletic men of different races wearing nothing but blue, white and red socks and soccer boots.

Swaths of red tape were subsequently placed over their sensitive parts.

On the Web…

http://www.vienna.info/en/sightseeing/museums-exhibitions/naked-men-leopold-museum

http://www.leopoldmuseum.org

Naked protesters arrested in San Francisco

Four protesters were arrested entirely in the buff as they took to the steps of San Francisco City Hall in a brazen challenge of the city’s ban on public nudity on Feb. 1, the first day it went into effect.

One woman and three men – one wearing just a mesh thong – were taken into custody as about a dozen other protesters in various states of undress paraded around with painted slogans on their bodies, holding up signs with messages such as “The Human Body is Beautiful.”

Police gave them a 15-minute warning to disperse or put pants on before officers arrested those who failed to cover themselves. The protesters said their arrest would advance the cause of “body freedom.”

“No matter what, we’re going to continue practicing body freedom,” said Gypsy Taub, a mother of two who hosts a local cable program devoted to the nudist cause. “In a society that’s repressed and crazy, that glorifies war and at the same time criminalizes the human body … nudity is a political statement.”

In December, the Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 in favor of the ordinance, which prohibits exposed genitals in most public places, including streets, sidewalks and public transit. A federal judge ruled last week that nudity was not protected free speech and upheld San Francisco’s ban on most displays of public nudity.

Protesters vowed to appeal the judge’s decision.

Police spokesman Albie Esparza said the arrests were simply an attempt to enforce compliance with the law, which the city enacted after residents complained about people in various stages of undress.

“We’re not here to arrest and cite people if we don’t have to, but if we have to, we will enforce the law,” he said. “We want to admonish as many people as possible and try to gain compliance.”

Activists challenging the measure also had argued that the ordinance was unfair because it grants exceptions for nudity at permitted public events such as the city’s gay pride parade. They complained that forcing people to cover up would undermine San Francisco’s reputation as a city without inhibitions.

Civil rights group sues over ‘ex-gay’ therapy

The Southern Poverty Law Center is suing a New Jersey organization alleging it committed consumer fraud by claiming conversion therapy can convert gays to heterosexuals.

The SPLC said the suit is the first of its kind.

The complaint, filed in the Superior Court of New Jersey, alleges that Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, founder Arthur Goldberg and counselor Alan Downing violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act by providing conversion therapy claiming to cure clients of being gay.

SPLC’s complaint says JONAH used deceptive practices to lure four young men and two of their parents – into its conversation therapy program.

“JONAH profits off of shameful and dangerous attempts to fix something that isn’t broken,” stated Christine P. Sun, SPLC deputy legal director. “Despite the consensus of mainstream professional organizations that conversion therapy doesn’t work, this racket continues to scam vulnerable gay men and lesbians out of thousands of dollars and inflicts significant harm on them.”

The lawsuit argues that the therapy has no basis in scientific fact and has been discredited or highly criticized by all major American medical, psychiatric, psychological and professional counseling organizations.

JONAH charges customers about $100 a week for individual counseling sessions and $60 for group therapy sessions.

The lawsuit describes sessions in which customers undressed in front of a mirror and in a group session to stand naked with Downing, who also was naked. Another session involved a subject attempting to wrest away two oranges, which were used to represent testicles, from another individual.

“Sadly, there is no accountability for those who practice conversion therapy,” said Michael Ferguson, a survivor of the therapy and a plaintiff in the SPLC case. “They play blindly with deep emotions and create an immense amount of self-doubt for the client. They seize on your personal vulnerability, and tell you that being gay is synonymous with being less of a man. They further misrepresent themselves as having the key to your new orientation.”

San Fran supervisor wants to ban most public nudity

A San Francisco supervisor, fed up with the almost-daily displays of nudity in the heavily gay Castro district, introduced legislation this week that would make it illegal to walk around naked on San Francisco streets – most of the time.

The city allows nudity except in parks, on port property and in restaurants, but under the ordinance by Supervisor Scott Wiener, nudity at city plazas, parks, sidewalks, streets and public transit would be banned.

The legislation would, however, allow nudity at parades and street festivals.

The legislation was spurred by an increase in nudity in the Castro, where nudists gather almost every day at a plaza, Wiener said.

On his Facebook page, Wiener wrote, “…I introduced legislation to limit public nudity in public spaces, allowing it at street fairs, parades, beaches, and private property, but not on streets or plazas. I delayed introducing this for quite some time – hoping that the situation in the Castro would run its course and that the legislation wouldn’t be necessary – but it did not run its course and instead has gotten more extreme. I know folks have a lot of different views about this – which I respect – but I believe this is the best course for keeping a sense of balance and mutual respect in our diverse neighborhoods. Public spaces are for everyone, and when a public space becomes dominated by one group, that’s not ok.”

Wiener proposed a law last year that would have required nudists to put a cloth or other barrier under their bottoms if they take a seat in public, but he hoped that the situation in the Castro would resolve itself before he proposed a ban on nudity.

After introducing the anti-nudity legislation, Wiener said it would sit for 30 days before being heard. The proposed ordinance would then go to a committee hearing in early November before going to the full Board of Supervisors later in the month, Wiener said.

Wiener also has complained of transients in Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro. His legislation to ban camping in the plaza and have the city to regularly steam clean the area was successful.