The leader of a couple of nude psychedelic parades is defending herself against criticism that her parade puts both psychedelics and nudity in a bad light.
Gypsy Taub has been criticized constantly for organizing parades through the streets of San Francisco to push for the legalization of psychedelics while naked.
So far, there have been two "Rallies to Legalize Psychedelic Medicine / Nude Summer of Love," in which a couple dozen naked people protested for the right to trip, to be naked, and to trip naked.
Folks who love psychedelics and nudity, either together or separately, flooded her email inbox to say parades in public sent the wrong message.
"We want to be taken seriously, a bunch of naked hippies running down the street screaming about drugs won’t do anything," a critic emailed Taub. Redditors called the nude psychedelic parade "stupid" and said paraders "look like lunatics."
The emails get Taub riled up and defensive.
"If they think I look crazy when I walk through the streets naked," Taub says by phone, "tell them they need to do more psychedelics."
"Psychedelics are about liberation — and if you carry body shame and you want to shut down other people for being free and being naked, then you're not liberated yourself," Taub says.
The parade caught more flack from onlookers who linked psychedelics and bizarre behavior. 'That’s actually what happens when people do drugs," onlooker Jacky Gonzales told SFBay.ca. "They’re probably on that shit right now."
Psychedelics, of course, drugs like LSD and mushrooms, were hugely popular in the Sixties, seen as catalysts for personal change and societal transformation. They might actually be as likely to make you go sane as to make you go crazy. But they became illegal in part because hippie naked freakouts on the streets are part of what scared middle America away from them.
Today, psychedelics are surging in popularity, as people who wear suits and have PhDs from Johns Hopkins and New York University use them to treat war veterans, rape survivors and computer programmers. These types of clothed, sane research is non-threatening to basic people in suburbs. Psychedelic advocates hope the sobriety and probity of this approach will lead to the eventual legality of psychedelics, at which point the advocates can take huge doses and run naked through the streets. (Kidding. Kind of.)
This is why so many psychedelic advocates hate Gypsy's parades, and some of her other wild adventures, like using ibogaine in Mexico to help street kids stop sniffing glue. It just seems so crazy. It plays into the stereotype that psychedelic users are insane.
Taub says she's not waiting for the laws to change, and she doesn't care what haters say.
"Marijuana was legalized by the hippies, it wasn't legalized by conformist people in suits," she says. "They try to say I'm crazy for getting naked, give me a break."
Taub has long fought for the right to go naked. She got a bunch of press when she danced naked on the desks of the city council members of Berkley. Though she's been marching naked through the streets for years, this is the first year she's included psychedelics as part of her protests.
She plans to do it again, critics be damned.