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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Does San Diego Discriminate Against Thong-Wearing Gay Men?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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One might think that men clad in briefs, or scantier apparel, have become an accepted part of the public square since the much-noted antics of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner. Not so, according to a federal civil-rights lawsuit filed against the city of San Diego by a gay man who claims he was wrongly arrested for wearing a thong.

As Courthouse News reports, plaintiff Will X. Walters asserts he was discriminated against at San Diego's 2011 Pride parade, where he was arrested and jailed for public nudity.

According to his complaint, Walters was at the festival "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."

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It gets worse. At the jail, according to Walters' lawsuit, "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."

Walters is seeking punitive damages against the city for violating his constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. Part of his argument is that San Diego women are permitted to wear skimpy bottoms, but not gay men such as himself.

No word yet on whether Mel Gibson will be filing an amicus brief.

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Peter Jamison

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