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A Picture of a Naked Man in Boystown? Pbbbbt.

By Alicia Dorr in News on Mar 27, 2006 6:05PM

To people who have been to Boystown, something racy in the window of any of the shops on north Halsted probably wouldn't be a surprise.

But a painting of a naked man and a sign reading "masturbation" in the window of a newer store, Tulip, became a major point of contention in the area recently.

On one side is a mother who witnessed her 7-year-old daughter sounding out "masturbation" and saw the whole display as completely inappropriate. On the other is the shop owner saying that this is the best way to teach people about one aspect of sexual health and that the illustration showed that the place was an art gallery, too.

boystown04.jpgThe owner has taken down the painting, but not the sign. The neighborhood itself is incredibly diverse, with gay and straight men and women living there, as well as all types of families, gay shops, bars and schools. The alderman for the area, Tom Tunney, was contacted, but by that time the illustration had been removed. Neither of the displays violated any laws or ordinances, so he walked the line, underlining how tolerant the community is.

While this particular matter may be settled, an underlying issue was brought back to the surface: Would censuring Boystown even a little bit lead to "Disneyfying" the whole place, or is this kind of compromise necessary to keep the area diverse? So far in this case, masturbation stays.

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