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UPDATE: San Diego Pride’s Shawn Chamberlain Responds To Lawsuit Over Pride “Thong” Arrest

Yesterday we posted a story about Will X. Walters (above) who was arrested at the 2011 San Diego Pride on a charge of public nudity and the resulting lawsuit Williams has brought against the SDPD and the head of Pride security, Shawn Chamberlain.

Walters who was dressed in “leather gear consisting of boots, a black leather gladiator kilt, black underwear, and a black leather harness with chrome rings and says he was forcibly escorted out and had his phone knocked from his hand as he attempted to record the incident. 

Shawn Chamberlain Head of San Diego Pride responded to our post:

This incident is being over publicized by Mr. Walters and his legal counsel. Mr. Walters allegations of battery of his camera are false. I never struck him or his camera. He was afforded every opportunity to cover his ass crack which was exposed with every step as he was not wearing anything under his flap. This event permits children.

Mr. Walters was simply asked to cover his crack, he refused the situation was taken without force outside the side gate for everybody’s safety. Just outside the venue and in plain sight the conversation continued between the San Diego Police (6) officers including a Lieutenant and Sergeant along with myself the only representative of San Diego Pride.

When he refused to cover himself he was informed of the San Diego and Penal Cde sections he was violating and that he would be subject to citation if he refused to comply. At this time he called his attorney as well he video taped the conversation. He was allowed to make his calls and continue to video tape throughout the ordeal.

It was decided that the incident was not going to resolve and a citation was issued. The citation was explained to him in it entirety and he refused to sign the citation which would constitute his promise to appear in court. Based on his repeated refusal and his escalation in his attitude he was ultimately

During the entire incident I was allowed to speak with Mr. Walters during the initial encounter to attempt to resolve this incident as the Pride lason. Mr. Walters was asked to comply by simply covering his ass crack and enjoy the event. He refused. Prior to issuing the citation I was permitted again to attempt to resolve this issue to which Mr. Walters again refused. When the citation was issued and Mr. Walters refused to sign, I was allowed again to attempt to resolve this issue as well as inform Mr. Waters that they were considering arresting him and f that happened he would be taken to jail dressed as he was.

Mr. Walters continued his defiance and was ultimately arrested. This incident took over 40 minutes to play out. I am accused of striking the camera from Mr. Walters hand which is a false statement. I never touched Mr. Walters and will defend not only my Name but my reputation in the community. Mr. Walters was dressed inappropriately and refused to change his attire to conform with the request of the police dept furthermore refused to give his promise to appear which resulted in his arrest.

Well I have to say that from the above photo I have seen much more risque outfits at many other Gay Pride Parades and at Mardi Gras.  So whats the problem?

The one line in Chamberlain’s response.

“This event permits children.”

Well all parades permit children.  But its the parents responsibility not to take them and expose them to things they don’t deem fit to see. But with the recent “gayby” influx over the past 10 years this puts all Prides in a precarious situation.

Do they tone down the festivities to make them “family friendly” or do they also hold separate “Family Pride Events”?

IMO children have no place at a Pride Parade.  Its always been a day of celebration, frivolous fun, and letting go.  That’s part of the point of it.  And to be so prudish to censor some to make it palatable for others is what we fight against daily.  And for San Diego Pride to allow and to be part of  one of our community to be arrested is inconceivable.  If anything San Diego Pride should have been defending Will X’s right to freedom of expression and also his leather community roots

Thats just my opinion.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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3 thoughts on “UPDATE: San Diego Pride’s Shawn Chamberlain Responds To Lawsuit Over Pride “Thong” Arrest”

  1. #1) The guy broke the law. He deserved what he got. #2) Walking around on the street with your crack exposed is trashy, tacky, immature behavior. There is nothing proud about it, and it reflects poorly on our community. This is not a Pride issue-this is an issue of basic civility. Cover your private parts in public. A street parade is not the backroom of a leather bar. #3) He’s obviously an attention whore, and he got what he wanted. So what’s the problem again?

  2. What’s is interesting here is Shaun was NOT an authorized representative of SD Pride and was NOT head of Pride security. He took on that role himself.

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