Sign sign everywhere a sign

Yes this article is about signs but first I need to discuss the law which is the reason for the signs.  Please bear with me for a moment.

Texas law seems to have two sections that have to do with nudity

* Penal Code Title 9, Section 42.01 Disorderly conduct: public nudity.

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:

(12) exposes his anus or genitals in a public place and is reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.

 

§21.08. Indecent exposure.

(a) A person commits an offense if he exposes his anus or any part of his genitals with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, and he is reckless about whether another is present who will be offended or alarmed by his act.

 

RULE §59.134 Rules of Conduct in Parks (Texas State Parks)

(h) Nudity and disrobing. It is an offense to appear nude.

 

* Galveston County follows the state law that says women can be topless unless there is a complaint from the public.

Let’s try to break this down logically (assuming you can apply logic to law):

Both sections seem to require exposure of anus or genitals.  It is almost certain that a nudist will tend to have his/her genitals exposed.  The actual anus is less likely but not impossible under some circumstances.  To be Indecent exposure [it would seem] there is a requirement of “intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire or any person”.  Naturists believe that nudity is not sexual.  They also believe that being lude is wrong.  Those facts combined with the Supreme Court decision that states [paraphrasing] that the human body in its natural state is not indecent, would seem to exempt Naturists from an Indecent exposure conviction as stated.

On to the Disorderly conduct: public nudity law; key points seem to be “in a public place” and “reckless about whether another may be present who will be offended or alarmed by his act”.  Lacking a definition of “public place” we cannot be sure if they mean visible from a public location or physically on public property.  We know that any federal land is not restricted from nude use because there is no federal law regarding nudity and signs regarding nude use are evident on public federal lands.  Can we therefore assume they mean viewed from public property like a road?  For the purpose of argument let’s make that assumption.  That would mean that we should not be nude on our private property if it is able to be viewed from a public property.   What about your neighbor’s yard?  That is not public property.  It would seem that the law is sufficiently vague to prevent any law abiding Naturist from abiding the law.  However, let’s consider the next point; it is used in both laws.  First of all how could anyone be “reckless about whether another may be present”?  It is the other that controls their presence.  I could be in the middle of nowhere and someone else could be present without my knowledge no matter how unlikely.  How can I be reckless about what another person (of whom I know not the existence) does?  Secondly; how could I possibly know if that [other] will be offended or alarmed by my act?  I could not possibly know the mind of the “other” which I don’t know even exists?  This vagueness and lack of logical application in the stated law leaves us with no way to comply because it makes no sense.  It is really up to the police, prosecutors and judges to determine your fate.  All we can do is attempt to follow what we think is the intent of the law as best we can.

All of the above discussion brings me to my point.  I have made every attempt and have gone to great effort to make my yard private.  I have 6 foot privacy fences surrounding the yard.  Key areas also have vegetation further obscuring above the fence.  Some of the fence has landscape fabric attached to further obscure the gaps between the boards.

Signs have been placed at fence level facing the fence and others at locked gates which should serve to  assure that nobody could be surprised if they witnessed nudity.  Is it possible that someone could see us?  Absolutely!  From a tall tree, a roof top nearby they could.  However, I don’t think anybody could consider us reckless.

Our front door has a sidelight window that has only lacy coverings.  The rest of the front facing windows have blinds.  Though that sidelight I could be seen if the person had their face up to the glass.  They would have to be that close to see as there is landscaping along the drive that obscures view into the window from the road.  For further due diligence we sometimes place a door sign at eye level in the window warning that this is a Naturist residence and that nudity might be observed.  The signs are over the top, and may be unnecessary (but who can know when the laws are vague).

Signs at gates

Signs at fence level

Two variations of sign at front door

Sign used when delivery may be expected

All of the above effort has nothing to do with me, as I have no problem if someone sees me.  We really have no personal need for the over-the-top privacy.  Our preference would be to be able to talk to the neighbors in a normal way. 

However, we must not be reckless …

 

–< R JNatural >–

 

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