Faced with criticism of Ald. Devon Reid’s proposal to repeal the city’s ban on the public display of female breasts, the Human Services Committee Monday voted to refer the issue to the city’s Equity and Empowerment Commission.

Despite the clear language in Reid’s proposal to strike the ban from the city code, Reid insisted that was not his intent.

Reid’s proposal, from the June 6 Human Services Committee packet, calls for striking out the city’s ban on public display of naked female breasts

Without the provision, female residents would be legally free under the city code to appear topless on city beaches, in city parks, on city streets and in other public places — including the City Council chamber where the committee meeting was held.

But Reid claimed Tuesday he wanted only to make clear how the ordinance would apply to persons who are not “gender binary.”

Reid, who has no formal legal training, had previously claimed that the ordinance violates the state constitution.

Nicholas Cummings.

But he was assured by both Corporation Counsel Nicholas Cummings and Interim Corporation Counsel Derke Price that the existing language would be defensible in court.

Reid then suggested that the city should substitute for the ordinance a provision similar to that used in Glencoe’s village code, which reads: “No person shall openly conduct himself or herself in a lewd, lascivious or indecent manner within the village.”

Ald. Eleanor Revelle (7th) complained that the “lewd and lascivious” language was more vague and subjective than the existing Evanston rule and could be difficult to enforce.

“Overwhelmingly the public sentiment is that they don’t want to see this changed — that our current code reflects the current standards in the community,” Revelle added.

“Lewd and lascivious” is commonly is defined as an action that furthers an offensive sexual desire — including groping and indecent exposure of genitalia — and is often applied to adults engaging in the sexual abuse of children.

Illinois has a state statute, 720 ILCS 5/11-30, that bans public indecency. It makes it a misdemeanor for anyone 17 or older to engage in public in an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct or a lewd exposure of the body done with intent to arouse or to satisfy the sexual desire of the person.

During public comment, Park Board Chair Rob Bush said said the proposal to change the ordinance “has received no public input whatsoever,” and he urged the committee to drop it, suggesting the group has much more serious concerns to address.

Reid is the only alderperson among the nine members of the Equity and Empowerment Commission.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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10 Comments

  1. We are currently living in a real life Onion Article. Local man with no experience falls upward into a City Council position and assures lawyers that he knows more than them.

    Ridiculous.

    1. Hahaha

      I just don’t get it. I have friends & family calling me and asking me “what’s going on in Evanston?”

      -We have kids being shot over a fence at a teenager’s bday party
      -A father shot to death in front of his daughter at a park
      -We have a gang shooting in broad daylight
      -We have a high school kid bring a gun to school
      -We have a kid killed across the street from the high school
      -Panhandling is out of control
      -Taxes are getting higher
      -Police are overworked and understaffed
      -D65 is losing enrollment
      -D65 is losing pretty much all of its principles
      -D65 schools are falling apart
      … but hey, let’s make sure breasts are equal, because, ya know, equality.

      Can anyone else add to the list of what’s happened in Evanston over the last year?

      1. Great list of Evanston tragedies and embarrassments from Frank S. There’s been so much gunplay that I can’t tell if the Green Bay Road gas station ambush is among incidents to which he refers. If not, let’s add it. In terms of other incidents that received media attention beyond our most local news sites, the Haven “Brawl in the Hall” and the “hate crime” that rocked the community without meeting any legal definition of a hate crime (ergo, not a hate crime) come to mind. Honorable mentions to the D65 rally invocation and Margarita Inn kitchen cop-punching.

      2. Evanston is getting exactly what they voted for: a woke, useless Mayor who is more worried about pronouns than addressing the city’s real problems.

    2. I thought the exact same thing. Real life Onion article. I keep brainstorming alternative titles 😂. What a joke.

  2. Well put, Frank. Someone else here said it best – Reid is a bad idea factory. He fiddles, Evanston burns.

  3. Waiting for the time where the City Council has discussions that have an impact on small businesses, taxes, homeowners, schools (both D65 and ETHS), parks and our community. Watching Devon Reid is like watching a ringleader of a 3 ring circus. Focus on impactful things and stop wasting time on his ridiculous proposals and false propositions based on “equity”. Enough.

  4. Just continue to waste everyone’s time with silly and unimportant items…and we all shall see what occurs at the next City Council Elections. I made a complaint about changing the ordinance – I don’t want to see this in my home own, to my Alderman. Many of these ‘items’ brought up are nonsensical. Deal with real things that people identify with and are important to the community schools, taxes, funding police, panhandlers that turn violent. Bare breasted women will not look good on tv–you want to revitalize the downtown, Main & Dempster areas – this is NOT the way to do it. Stop already with this silliness.

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