Nudism/Naturism: The Naked Rambler

What do you think of the Naked Rambler, a.k.a. Stephen Gough, who is being sent back to prison for his persistence in being naked in public?

Is he coming across as a lunatic? Is he giving nudism/naturism a bad name? Is he embarrassing nudists/naturists who simply want to celebrate their lifestyles in the appropriate settings?

Or is he a hero? Do you support his campaign?

— Jillian

15 thoughts on “Nudism/Naturism: The Naked Rambler

  1. I am sorry but there are limits. Individual rights are certainly important but society does have a right to set norms and people can’t violate those norms. The values of a society as a whole trump any individual rights

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  2. “The values of a society as a whole trump any individual rights”
    Right. Just ask ISIS. Or the KKK. Or Republicans.

    I totally disagree with you. Nudity is a victimless crime, and in my opinion, when there is no victim, there is no crime. How about one generation ago when society decided that just being gay was a crime? How about three generations ago when just being black was a crime. How about five generations ago when it was a crime to be black and learn to read.

    If your “values of the society” were the rule, then a lot of people would be in prisons for those crimes against society. (Or worse, if you were black and in the wrong place, you would be dead).

    I applaud Steve gough. Yes, he is way over the top but he is committed to his opinion. You may think he is hurting nudism in general, but, why? How? How have you been harmed by his nude wanderings? Has his nudist activities impinged in ANY way your nudist activities? Has ANYONE been harmed by his nudist activities?

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    1. I understand your reaction with ISIS and all that stuff but society DOES have a right to set values. We have seen the acceptance of divorce destroy marriage. I actually had a 40 year old male boast in front of his spouse that he was on his fourth marriage. Abortion has caused unborn children to be treated as garbage to be thrown out. Yes some societies may support values you or I may not like but then we are freeto move

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  3. His imprisonment sets a dangerous precedent he is being jailed for causing offense since there is no law against public nudity in UK. So while I would not personally take the path that he has I think he has been dealt with unjustly and it could portend even more grave issues for nudist and naturists.

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      1. You couldn’t be more wrong.
        There is no “right” to not be offended.

        SG has never forced people to see his nakedness, and in fact most of his ramblings have been away from cities. Has he ever been seen near schools or places where children would be expected, like playgrounds?

        It’s not like he is wanking while walking.

        And on the subject of rights – rights in the USA are not granted and are not enumerated in law. Some basic rights are protected by law, but none are given. If an activity is not specifically proscribed, then it is allowed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Steve,

        The great irony is that you insist that I “could’t be more wrong”, when you’re defending a practice that not only is illegal pretty much everywhere, and laws prohibiting public nudity are being upheld by courts. You think I’m wrong because you think you’re entitled to walk around naked in public, and I say you’re wrong because the courts-whose job it is to settle legal questions like these-say you and Mr. Gough are wrong.

        Speaking of the courts, there’s a reason why the EHRC dismissed Mr. Gough’s claims. Usually, a case is dismissed only when it’s substantially lacking in legal value or merit, otherwise it would be allowed to proceed to trial. In this case, the court found Mr. Gough’s claims so ridiculous that it didn’t allow his complaint to survive the first round of legal review.

        Now, onto the concept of what you essentially describe as the “victimless” behavior of Mr. Gough. I don’t know specifically where he does most of his ramblings. I do know, however, that he has been held in contempt of court for appearing naked in the courtroom, he’s spent a significant time in solitary confinement for refusing to wear clothes, and was arrested after walking out of prison naked. Regardless of whether or not he’s been mostly naked in rural areas, unless he’s on his own or (with permission) someone else’s private property, he is every much as guilty of breaking the law if he’s naked in farmlands as in London.

        But this case and this discussion address a much bigger issue than whether or not Mr. Gough rambles naked in the countryside, since the law that is challenged is whether or not Mr. Gough should be allowed to be naked in public everywhere, be it either in the countryside or the city subway.

        Has it occurred to you how ridiculous we, as a nudist community, come across to textiles by defending a man like this? We really lose a lot of credibility with non-nudists when we argue that the actions of Mr. Gough represent our ideals of society.

        The fact that he (probably) hasn’t been naked around schools and does not make perverse displays with his genitals is probably why he’s being charged with offenses related to public nudity and not a sex crime.

        As far as this whole rights discussion, I’ll grant you that it was clever to bring up the issue of enumerated rights, I’m forced to admit that the action of eating a burrito this afternoon was not protected by any enumerated law. That being said, I’m not sure why you even brought this up, because when you say “If an activity is not specifically [prescribed], then it is allowed”, it has zero relevance in this discussion since we’re talking about a behavior that is specifically prohibited by law.

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      3. It was once THE LAW that men be covered in bathing costumes from the knee to the neck. The law was relaxed or dismissed when more and more men refused to be that covered up. Would you like to go back to that because in many beach communities, this is still the law.

        Laws still on the books in Florida:
        You may not kiss your wife’s breasts.
        If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.
        Penalty for horse theft is death by hanging.
        It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit.
        Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.
        Having sexual relations with a porcupine is illegal.

        It’s, according to you, the law MUST be enforced.

        You are completely wrong that Gough is somehow hurting conventional nudism. To believe that, you have to believe that the average adult is a complete moron who can’t tell the difference.

        By the way, “proscribed” is the correct word.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Steve,

        I admire your zeal and creativity… but I’m unimpressed by your resurrection of unenforceable, archaic laws which, while technically still valid, probably wouldn’t hold up in court, unlike public nudity laws.

        The critical difference between the ancient laws of my home state that you’re talking about and public nudity is that society still condemns this (and not just American-but societies like those in Europe that have a much more liberal approach to nudity), and probably will for the foreseeable future. And with good reason. Besides the moral arguments against unrestricted public nudity, there’s the practical ones… like I said, I shouldn’t have to be forced to deal with a naked person on a crowded subway.

        The same is not true about men’s bathing suits. But then again, I actually argue for relaxations of our views against nudity in public swimming.

        The mere mention of that list of ancient Florida laws is a distraction from the real issues, anyway, it has no real relevance or value in this discussion. And I said nothing to imply that all laws should be enforced, but yes, the vast majority of them should be. Including laws forbidding sex with a porcupine and anything else that involves beastiality.

        I will admit, I did get a lesson on the word “proscribe”, and I thank you for that.

        But despite your excellent vocabulary, you completely missed the point of my discussion of Gough hurting the nudists’ cause. No, by himself, he’s probably not critically influential to the health of nudism, however when nudists (like you) assemble en masse to support him and advocate that his behavior should be normal and accepted, you make the rest of us look like free-for-all lunatics to textiles. As a community, we should be condemning, NOT condoning his silliness, and nudists are too self-absorbed in their own self-interests to grasp how much embracing Gough’s stupidity compromises any standing we have with the outside world, and we lose our legitimacy to argue for nudist issues (not rights) that actually matter.

        This is a situation that sounds like the plot of (pick any story) where a person gets involuntarily committed to an insane asylum: everyone but him realizes that he’s crazy, but he’s too wrapped up in his distorted sense of reality to realize his own severe impairment. In this case, the nudist community is too self-absorbed in its desire to shove its “rights” down everyone else’s throats that it doesn’t realize how detrimental doing so is to its own cause.

        By the way, as a friendly suggestion, I’d avoid making comparisons with ISIS and the KKK to laws against public nudity in the future. It really, well to put it nicely, harms your case.

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      5. Steve Gough’s mental state has not been formally assessed i all the time he has spent in and (briefly) out of prison. There are many here in the UK who think he has taken things too far and should know when to quit; others find his tenacity in hanging on to his proclaimed principles to be praiseworthy.

        Just to be clear on one point, Icebreaker, simple nudity in public is not in and of itself illegal in the UK, albeit this is an area often misunderstood by the police as well as the general public.

        On his walks from Lands End to John o’Groats, Steve walked through town, villages and countryside without being arrested or waylaid. Many people welcomed him, applauded him, laughed at him, had their picture taken with him. It was only when he reached Scotland, where the laws have some differences from those in England, did he run into serial legal difficulties.

        Even here, however, he was not charged with being naked in public, but with a breach of the peace, a law which is wide open to interpretation and which in Scotland was interpreted differently from south of the border.

        His offences thereafter stemmed from that arrest. Eventually, after several years, Scotland gave up arresting him and allowed him to go south, just to be rid of him. His current arrest and incarceration is again for upsetting someone, not for being legally naked in public.

        As mentioned, the naturist community in the UK is split over whether SG is a “good thing” or a “bad thing” for naturism. What is widely agreed is that being locked up for doing something legal is very worrying. And just for the record, the “right” to be naked in public is written into UK law – naturism and naturists were give a carefully-worded exemption in sexual offences legislation some years ago.

        peter

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      6. It may be lunacy but is it illegal that is the issue. There are lots of people who do crazy things that I would not do. Like people who open carry a gun into a bar for instance. I think that is crazy just asking for trouble. But if they are not breaking the law then OK I look the other way and mind my own business. There are people who I saw with my own eyes who stand in the middle of a busy public NYC pedestrian area and get body painted clothes free. Couldn’t catch me dead doing that. The public part, but if they are allowed to by law then I won’t say that’s crazy.

        The rambler is being arrested and jailed because he violates social norms not the law as such and that is the issue I raise. While I would not want to walk around naked in public I wonder what might the folks who imprison him say is not reasonable and causes offense next. Doesn’t he have as much individual rights as the next person as long as he causes no harm (as the law in Britain states as I understand it ) and he has never been arrested on those grounds.

        I think if they left the guy alone he may just go away but as long as they keep the attention on arresting him I think he will seek to stand by his principles and I can’t fault him for that even if I was not courageous enough to do it.

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      7. “… I wonder what might the folks who imprison him say is not reasonable and causes offense next.”

        “Anti Social Behaviour” sounds like Germany in 1933 when just months after Hitler became Chancellor, the Dachau concentration camp was created. The Nazis began arresting undesirables. Communists, Socialists, and labor leaders were first.

        In 1938, the killing began.

        OK, maybe not a good analogy, but Anti Social Behaviour Order laws are dangerous and should not exist because of the potential for abuse.

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  4. SG has provoked many opinions here in the UK. Some naturists agree with timlandry45 (above) while others highlight the freedom aspect. In fact most of SG’s prison time has been spent for breaching the peace (in Scotland) and in England for breaching an Anti Social Behaviour Order, or ASBO as it’s known. The problem with the ASBO is that you don’t have to break a law to be made subject of one, just do something that someone in some position of authority decides is anti-social. After that, the crime is breaching the ASBO, even if what you do isn’t of itself criminal.

    SG insists he is not “a naturist” and just want to express his freedom through nakedness.

    peter

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  5. I support Stephen Gough totally and believe nudity should be a right granted to every human being.However seeing and knowing how society works his strategy is floored in as i dont think he’ll ever get what he wants.He should stick up for his beliefs but he’d be better off starting a camp or a colony and live for the enjoymentof being naked rather than spend a lifetime being banged up.

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