Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Naked Rambler

Two days from today will be the first day of my long distance walk in Scotland. I've been looking forward to and training for this adventure for several months. There will be lots of people on the trail, so I'm not worried about walking solo.....or at least I wasn't worried until I heard about Stephen Gough.

Stephen Gough the naked rambler makes his way south through Peebles in the Scottish Borders, following his release from Saughton Prison yesterday after serving his latest sentence on October 6, 2012 in Peebles, Scotland. The rambler has 18 convictions and has been in prison on and off since 2006 with offences ranging from not wearing clothes in front of the sheriff, breach of the peace and contempt of court.
Stephen Gough, the naked rambler, makes his way south through Peebles in the Scottish Borders, following his release from Saughton Prison yesterday after serving his latest sentence on October 6, 2012 in Peebles, Scotland. The rambler has 18 convictions and has been in prison on and off since 2006 with offences ranging from not wearing clothes in front of the sheriff, breach of the peace and contempt of court.

 
This picture in the National Post a couple of months ago got my attention pretty quickly, but in reading the article, I understood that Mr. Gough is merely trying to express his freedom to (un)dress the way he was born and means no harm to people on the trail. Unfortunately for him, the authorities are not sympathetic to his cause and he has ended up incarcerated more than once, including six years in solitary confinement (I say, neat way to be assured of a private room). More often than not, he gets released on bail and is released from jail, naked, of course.


Support the Naked Rambler
Not leaving much to the imagination

When he was 40 and living in Vancouver with his girlfriend and their two children, he says he had an epiphany. "One day I was walking", he says, "and something happened. I realized on a fundamental level I'm good, we're all good, and you can trust that one part of yourself." If he was good, he rationalized, then  his body should be nothing to be ashamed of. His reasoning brought about a break-up in the relationship with his girlfriend and ever since, he has felt compelled to challenge society with his views on nudity.



Maybe you remember Canadian, Gwen Jacobs , then a student at the University of Guelph, trying to make a point about nudity back in 1991, when on a hot day, she removed her shirt, just the same as a man does, to get a breeze on a 33C day. She was arrested and charged with committing an indecent act. Ultimately released with a $75 fine, she won the right for all women to go topless if they wish (most Canadian women prefer to be clothed). Such a non-issue in Europe!

Jacob, photographed in 1991 when she was a 19-year-old University of Guelph part-time student, vowed to fight for women's right to go topless in public.
Gwen Jacobs as a 19-year old student
 


Of course, if Stephen Gough is presently in jail, I won't be meeting him on the trail, so maybe I'll never know how liberal I really am. Then again, a non-encounter might save me from heart failure.