We here at GayCities love spending the day at the beach, or an afternoon lounging by the pool will do nicely, thank you. And hopefully we will be forgiven for our slightly scandalous swimwear, because if RuPaul has taught us anything, it is how we must love ourselves, can we get an “amen”?
Just don’t express your sexy self too much, because sometimes those scandalous lewks can run afoul of the law, and it’s no fun going to jail in a thong. We don’t know this for sure, but we’ve heard stories.
Yes, there are nude beaches in places like California*, Western Europe, and Australia, where people tend to be laissez faire about the pleasures of sunbathing bare, but there are other locales that do not welcome anyone who wear swimwear that is deemed too scandalous and sexy. Take a look at these stories, and learn where you need to cover up:
String bikini ‘statement’
The big news recently was the woman who was visiting the Philippines island of Boracay, and was fined 2,500 Philippines pesos (approximately $50, but that’s a lot of money in the Philippines!) for wearing an extremely revealing bikini, which was deemed to be offensive to local sensibilities.
According to news reports, the woman left her hotel wearing just a string bikini, and the hotel management told her that it was “inappropriate.” She said her bikini “was a form of art,” and went to express herself at the beach. But the locals at that beach did not appreciate her artistic statement, and called the cops.
First of all, nobody wants to go to jail in the Philippines. But don’t be afraid to go visit, becaus eBoracay Island is regarded as having some of the most beautiful beaches on Earth. The island became too popular for its own good after being featured as the background in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie The Beach, and it was closed in 2018 by the Philippines government to clean out the garbage left over from years of partying tourists. Now that it is open again, everybody better behave properly!
Related: The world’s 10 best nude beaches
Saudi shorts shaming
A gay 23-year-old Saudi Arabian YouTuber named Suhail al-Jameel said that he was arrested for “sharing nudity online” and now faces prison time, because he posted a picture of himself wearing leopard print swim shorts at a local beach.
From our sister site LGBTQNation.com: al-Jameel’s picture ran afoul of the country’s new public decency laws passed last September, which explicitly forbid men from wearing shorts. Shorts! Not thongs, not Speedos, shorts.
Shall we add Saudi Arabia on the list of places that we do not want to go to jail? It should be noted that being gay is very illegal in Saudi Arabia, and they actually do execute gay people, by beheading them (no explicit photos, but still a sad story in the link). So we shant be taking a trip there any time soon. If you want your Middle East fix, go to the beach in Dubai. The Persian Gulf is gorgeous.
A group of youngsters were arrested in Thailand for skinny dipping, although they were only fined a few dollars and then let go. It brings up an important point, however: Thailand has a reputation as being a liberal oasis in Asia, where trans people and “effeminite” boys are accepted as a third gender, and Bangkok nightlife is lots of fun. But Thailand is still a Buddhist country with conservative views.
Remember the two guys who took photos of themselves while dropping their drawers in public places? It was a stupid way to become social media influencers, but they got arrested in Thailand, after they shared photos of themselves baring their butts at a Buddhist temple. Their punishment: a week in jail! There is no way that spending a week in jail, in Thailand, is any fun. So wear your Speedo to the beach, no problem, but keep that Spandex fully on your bum, and don’t act foolish. (Those guys deleted their Instagram account, so any accounts online now are imposters.)
Twerking without a license
A woman in Toledo, Ohio was arrested for twerking in traffic while wearing a thong, and using a utility pole as a stripper pole. This one, we just disagree. What’s wrong with twerking? Police in Ohio have no sense of humor. Police say they hauled her in because her “buttocks were exposed,” but that seems like a weak excuse. If she had been in Miami Beach, she could have joined the performers at Palace Bar, where drag queens literally twerk in the middle of Ocean Drive. Fun fact: Latrice Royale worked at The Palace before going on that reality show on VH1, with all the drag queens and woman on the judging panel who makes condescending comments, what is it called? We forget.
On a serious note, let’s all remember the story from a few years ago, when cops in San Diego arrested a gentleman at San Diego Pride, for parading around in a DIY “kilt” that has the man’s side cheeks exposed. He was wearing a thong underneath, but the police did not think that was enough, and he was arrested. The man was never officially charged with a crime, but he did have to spend the night in jail, which must have been a chilly expereince in his little outfit.
The kilt-wearer, Will X. Walters, fired back at the police with a lawsuit, accusing them of anti-gay discrimination and selective enforcement of public indecency laws—there are countless people in thongs at San Diego’s beaches, and have you seen the nakedness of some cosplayers at San Diego Comic Con?—and he fought his case all the way to the California Supreme Court.
The court did not believe the police were discriminating, because Walters did not get arrested specifically for his sexy kilt. Police claimed they always ask too-nude offenders to cover up at any public event, but Walters was hauled into jail because he did not comply. Seriously where was he supposed to keep a spare pashmina with that outfit? That’s just not a realistic request, officers.
This story has a sad ending, as Walters died shortly after he lost his final court case, from an apparent suicide. But hopefully his legacy has helped the police in San Diego lighten up a bit and let people just have fun.
*The citizens of Northern California are a liberal bunch, and they will hang out on any beach without clothes if they are in the mood to let it all hang out. But avoid going dropping trou at beaches in California state parks, where nudity is illegal and police really do give out tickets. Beaches on private property or on federal land are generally okay.