If you attend a big Pride parade in any major city, you’re sure to see some eye-catching costumes.
When Will X Walters attended a San Diego Pride event in 2011, he was inspired to opt for a skimpy, leather gladiator-style outfit that featured a harness and small leather loincloth. It left his butt partly exposed.
However, Police took a dim view of the outfit. They asked him to cover up. When he refused, they arrested him for public nudity.
He then declined to sign a citation for the misdemeanor.
Walters was to later argue that women are allowed to wear thongs and other skimpy clothing, and that he wasn’t naked. He believed he was discriminated against because he was gay and launched a federal lawsuit against the police.
However, after five years, the case concluded this month with a federal jury coming down in favor of the police.
On Wednesday, Walters’ body was found at his apartment in Hillcrest, San Diego.
It’s not yet known how long his body had lain their undiscovered, but his attorney, Chris Morris, says he had not spoken to him since the 13 December jury ruling.
Morris said that Walters had been left ‘shocked’ by the failure of his lawsuit. His legal team say that the case had racked up $1million in costs for Walters.
Authorities believe that he committed suicide.
The day before the jury ruling, Walters posted a message on the Pride LA Facebook page . He thanked people for their support and explaining why he believed so passionately in taking the case to court.
‘The reason I continue this fight is so that we all can continue giving our opinions and we can enjoy the luxury of equal enforcement as well as freedom of speech.
‘We need to remember that EVERY freedom in the Bill of Rights are rights that so many people around the world do not enjoy. I continue this fight not because of myself, but for everyone and I want to thank everyone for allowing me to represent them in this struggle.’
His original 2012 complaint against the police said: ‘Will Walters is a Hispanic, gay man who owns the dubious distinction of being the only person in the history of the City of San Diego to be arrested and booked on a charge of public nudity.
‘Mr. Walters was arrested for public nudity at the 2011 Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender Pride (‘Pride’) event while wearing an opaque gladiator type kilt over black underwear.
‘Under any definition, he was not nude, as his buttocks and genitalia were fully covered. Nonetheless, he was ushered out of the event, humiliated, arrested, and incarcerated.’
As the case proceeded, Walters set up his own advocacy group, FreeWillUSA ‘to help honor, defend and enshrine the Constitution in every American.’
‘Will Walters was a valiant warrior for his cause, and he will be missed by those who knew him and the community he fought for,’ Morris told the San Diego Union Tribune yesterday.