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Will Walters, the gay man who sued the San Diego police over his public nudity arrest at the city's Pride celebration in 2011, was found dead in his apartment Wednesday, an apparent suicide.
Walters's death came about two weeks after a jury ruled that the city did not discriminate in its enforcement of laws against public nudity, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Walters had filed a federal lawsuit claiming the city violated his right to equal protection of the laws under the U.S. Constitution. The outfit he wore to the 2011 Pride event, a kilt over a thong, was no more revealing than the swimsuits commonly seen on San Diego beaches, he said. He alleged that the city had one set of rules for largely heterosexual venues, another for gay men at Pride events. The jury disagreed, rejecting his claim after about two hours of deliberation December 13, according to the Union-Tribune.
A neighbor called police to Walters's apartment in the Hillcrest neighborhood Wednesday, the paper reports. The medical examiner's office is investigating his death.
His attorney, Chris Morris, said he hadn't heard from Walters since the trial and had been trying to reach him. Friends had tried to reach him as well, Morris told the Union-Trinune.
"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 added.
Nicole Murray-Ramirez, a San Diego LGBT activist and member of the city's Human Relations Commission, also spoke highly of Walters. "He was a young activist and many of us thought he had a bright future in our community, and it's a loss to our community," Murray-Ramirez told the Union-Tribune.
There are a variety of resources to help those having suicidal thoughts. LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386. If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day and is designed for people of all ages and identities.