June 2, 2006 by

Andrew Martinez

1 comment

Categories: Misc.

Andrew Martinez, the former University of California, Berkeley student who gained notoriety for attending class in the nude during the early 1990s, committed suicide in jail on May 18. He was 33.
Known as the “Naked Guy,” Martinez wore nothing more than sandals, a peace symbol on a chain around his neck and a backpack to class because he felt clothes were a tool used by society for class and gender differentiation. “When I walk around nude, I am acting how I think it is reasonable to act, not how middle-class values tell me I should act. I am refusing to hide my dissent in normalcy even though it is very easy to do so,” he once wrote in The Oakland Tribune.
The handsome student’s actions eventually led the school to expel him for dress code violations. Although considered a bastion for liberal thinkers, the town of Berkeley also responded to Martinez’s protest statement by adopting a strict anti-nudity ordinance. Martinez was the first person arrested under the new law after he showed up, sans apparel, to a City Hall meeting in 1993. He was arrested and later received two years probation for the misdemeanor charge.
Martinez attempted to pen a memoir about his au naturel experiences but the writing was derailed by mental illness. In the decade since leaving college, he was jailed, institutionalized and living on the streets. On Jan. 10, police arrested Martinez for fighting with another man at a halfway house where he was staying. Charged with two counts of battery and one count of assault with a deadly weapon, he spent the last five months of his life housed in the Santa Clara County Main jail. Corrections officers found him under his bed covers with a clear plastic bag over his head.
According to friends, Martinez was once a straight-A student and a star defensive lineman on his high school football team in Cupertino, Calif. He gained a reputation as a nonconformist in 1992 for organizing a “nude-in” protest in UC Berkeley’s main plaza to promote free expression. After appearing on numerous national television talk shows and in the Oct. 1993 issue of Playgirl, students at other universities across the country began attending class in the buff.

One Response to Andrew Martinez

  1. Mary Blackchurch

    Always saddened when I haer a fellow human being has taken their life. Herere’s hoping the big blue yonder provides for nudity.
    God speed.
    From Rumi the Sufi 1200 BC
    ~Our death is our wedding with eternity.
    What is the secret? “God is One.”
    The sunlight splits when entering the windows of the house.
    This multiplicity exists in the cluster of grapes;
    It is not in the juice made from the grapes.
    For he who is living in the Light of God, The death of the carnal soul is a blessing.
    Regarding him, say neither bad nor good, For he is gone beyond the good and the bad.
    Fix your eyes on God and do not talk about what is invisible, So that he may place another look in your eyes.
    It is in the vision of the physical eyes That no invisible or secret thing exists.
    But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God What thing could remain hidden under such a Light?
    Although all lights emanate from the Divine Light Don’t call all these lights “the Light of God”;
    It is the eternal light which is the Light of God, The ephemeral light is an attribute of the body and the flesh. ….
    Oh God who gives the grace of vision! The bird of vision is flying towards You with the wings of desire~

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