True to form, Berkeley's City Council meeting on Tuesday night included some lengthy public debate about an issue that's not exactly vital city governance at the moment, and ultimately devolved into some yelling and chaos thanks to nudism/body freedom activist Gypsy Taub.
Just last week we learned that Berkeley was considering lifting a decades-old ban (and one that isn't even on the books in San Francisco, which is arguably a less intensely liberal place) on the baring of women's nipples in public. Yes, bare breasts are illegal on the streets of Berkeley go figure! and as an extension of the anti-shaming-of-breast-feeding campaign #FreeTheNipple, Councilmember Kriss Worthington introduced the measure, which says "It is nonsensical and sexist that Berkeley criminalizes the display of the female nipple while allowing the display of the male nipple." As NBC Bay Area reported, the ordinance goes on to say that the female nipple is not inherently sexual if its regularly bared to babies and toddlers, and lifting the ban on toplessness would avoid "future complications ... before they even arise and grow into complex legal issues," especially when it comes to trans men, for instance, who decide to go topless before they've had chest reconstruction surgery.
Public comment on the ordinance extended well past 11 p.m. Tuesday, and ultimately the Council voted to table the issue after Councilmembers Sophie Hahn and Susan Wengraf essentially called it a waste of the Council's time. Per NBC Bay Area, Hahn said at the meeting, "We have a lot of fake news. I really question whether this might be a fake women’s movement." She added that the proposed ordinance should have first gone through the city's Commission on the Status of Women.
I think I would rather die a thousand painful deaths than serve on the Berkeley City Council, but I digress.
Following the meeting's adjournment, as you can see in the NSFW video, Taub just loses it at the 16-minute mark and says, "Okay, f*** it. Let's do it. Let's get naked. Let's get arrested." She proceeds to strip as she did many times at SF City Hall over our nudity ban and then jump up on the bench of the council chambers after all the councilmembers and the mayor have already left.
On her website, Taub writes, "Sophie Hahn completely disregarded the will of the people. 8 people made public comment. Every single one of them was in favor of the legislation, in favor of letting women decide for themselves whether to wear a bra or not. But Sophie Hahn didn’t give a damn about the public."
Note that the first speaker who goes up to the podium in the first video above, to whom you can hear Taub say "speak up!," is Taub's 14-year-old son.
The videos here and here are NSFW, starting at the 16-minute mark of the first one.