Nude women and men, with an electric guitar and an abundance of signs in tow, staged in front of San Francisco’s City Hall Saturday to rally for the legalization of psychedelic medicine.
The streets around City Hall appeared empty, the usually busy foot traffic lost to the freedom of a Saturday. But a pond of onlookers remained, snapping pictures of the demonstration, in awe.
To the left of the rally, on the stairs of City Hall, a newlywed couple snapped their wedding pictures.
Jenna Long, a San Francisco resident, stumbled upon the sight. She smiled and took a picture as a demonstrator prepared to address the small crowd.
“It’s very interesting. It sure makes me feel like I’m in San Francisco right now. It’s just freedom of choice and being yourself no matter who you want to be.”
That is the muse that is San Francisco. At times, it appears as if a dichotomy between what some consider might conventional, and that which isn’t — but it all coincides harmoniously.
For their second rally to demand the legalization of psychedelic medicines like MDMA/Ecstasy, LSD, and psilocybin — the first had been in August — Gypsy Taub, the organizer, and her followers seemed undeterred by the small crowd.
Taub told SFBay:
“The only reason why I’m even here and still alive is because of psychedelics. They helped me heal and they helped me not just survive but also heal and become a healer.”
Taub said she was raped and tortured by her grandfather multiple times in her early childhood, which, she later found out, was the source of her trauma. She turned to psychedelics to heal, she said. She claims it to be “powerful medicine” that doesn’t “cause addiction.”
Taub, who has also been a body freedom activist for more than six years, said she regards psychedelics as part of her body freedom; that is, the freedom to undress or dress however one wishes and ingest whatever one wishes to ingest.
“It’s our right to do … what we want in terms of what kind of substance we want to ingest, what kind of experiences we want to have emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It is all our god given rights, our birthrights that no government has the right to take away.”
“This is all political; it’s all about greed. And it’s all about stopping people from thinking for themselves and from being free. We understand that, and that’s why we’re here promoting this medicine in any way we can — the most radical way that we can, no matter who says what.”
Taub said she currently runs a psychedelic clinic and rehab for street kids in Mexico, where they use psychedelics to help the kids get off of drugs like meth and pills. She said they have helped 16 kids “quit drugs and heal from their childhood trauma.” She said that within just a few months, most of the kids were either drug-free “or still sniffing glue but in much smaller amounts and are getting better and better.”
For Florian Bodewald, a tourist from Berlin, Germany who came to San Francisco only a day ago for a short vacation and to see the Folsom Street Fair, the main aspect of the rally was the “nudity power.” He said although nudity is not forbidden in Germany, there are some limitations.
“[This rally shows] that this is not a crazy idea of somebody but there are people really interested in [nudity]. You become confident. I became confident, at least in some situations, in group situations like this; therefore, I participate and probably give the opportunity for another person to do the same.”
With time, more people showed up to participate. Some came clad and stripped down their clothes, leaving only their shoes on. Cars honked as they drove past the rally on Polk street.
A Big Bus San Francisco hauling a crowd of sightseers powered past the rally as well, and passengers snapped their Kodak moments of that which is San Francisco.
A bicyclist smoothed past the eye-grabbing crowd and hollered:
“We’re all works of art, don’t ya know? Ya man!”
But not everyone that day was pleased with the sight of naked people on the streets.
Jacky Gonzales, a San Francisco resident, was shocked when she graced the sight of naked people out on the street.
She told SFBay:
“Who wants to see a person’s butt naked? I mean that’s private. They should do this inside a room, somewhere private. My friends got kids and [if] they walk to the park just here — I’m not perfect either, but I think this is kind of disrespectful.”
“It’s okay to legalize [drugs] because some people use it for medication; its ok for that. But you can do it in another way, plus, look, that’s what drugs to do people, too. If you want to do something like that, you have to be indoors. That’s actually what happens when people do drugs, that’s what happens. They’re probably on that shit right now. Just do it privately and indoors and then you’ll be safer.”
Cory Ingram, who participated in the rally, said:
“I really like nudity, [and] I do support the psychedelic thing and nudity with 110 percent, all the way. Because It really doesn’t harm anybody, and it [doesn’t] lead to nothing [but] peace and happiness. So basically it’s just peace and everybody just getting together and just having a good time.”
San Francisco police officers showed up as well to escort the demonstrators on their parade to Haight street.
Taub plans on having another “psychedelic rally” and “nude love parade” on Dec. 16. She said:
“Begging the government to legalize [psychedelic medicine], and it only going through the government route — I think that that is important to do, [but it’s] on the bottom of my list. For me, the most important part is to educate the people. For me, it is power to the people. If people are in power, if we understand the psychedelic medicine [and] its importance, we’re going to force our politicians to legalize it.”
“[Psychedelic medicine] has been given a very bad name by the government. Many people are afraid to use it because they don’t know how to use it right. “We’re so used to being oppressed like this that we don’t even think about it. But if you ever think about it for a second — how is this anybody else’s business what you’re doing to your body and to your mind?”