Naturists Campaigning for Naturism

News from NAG – August 2017

An English Person’s Castle…
This is being written in late June and if predictions are correct then a 40 year old record for a June heatwave would be broken. But not everything is rosy.

People have taken to sunbathing nude in their gardens and The Express (16/06/2017) published an article telling its readers that Surrey Police should be discreet about it after disputes broke out between neighbours. The police spokesperson suggested that if you want to sunbath naked in your garden then you should speak to your neighbours first or make sure that you restrict yourself to a part of the garden that isn’t overlooked.

Is that fair? The article does say that the law extends over the garden space just as it does any public space, but that should also mean the CPS’s advice is equally valid. Yes, talk to your neighbour first. Try to get them to understand that nudity is not automatically illegal and you mean no harm to them.

One thing the article did cover, which is not usually done, is that just because you are gardening (or whatever) naked, this does not give carte-blanche to your neighbours to lean our of windows or climb ladders to watch your efforts at weeding. The police spokesperson told The Express: ‘if you find your neighbour is leaning out of an upstairs window or standing on the top of a step ladder in order to see you then he or she may well be committing an offence.’ Let’s hope that it doesn’t come to that though.

If not the garden, the beach?
As we know, the beach have their own difficulties. Lincolnshire Live (01/06/2017) told readers that the Alford and Mablethorpe Neighbourhood Policing Team were called into action to deal with naked persons walking through the sand dunes at Theddlethorpe beach. They later took to social media to explain the dunes are a National Nature Reserve, not a naturist beach.

The online publication tried to be helpful though, advising the nearest official naturist beach is 87 miles (140 km) from Lincoln, or alternatively they suggested either Holkham Beach or Fraisethorpe, the latter being 69.5 miles (112 km) away, or North Cotes Point, just 38 miles (61 km) from Lincoln.

Like The Express article above, Lincolnshire Live quoted the CPS stating: ‘In the absence of any sexual context… or intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress…’ it is not illegal to be nude in public. As this is so, why can’t local authorities embrace naturism and reap the rewards when the weather is nice… like now? Obviously I can tell you, but don’t have space.

Nude Sunbather (wikicommon)

Popular beach off limits
A bit late, I know, but last year The Irish Mirror (11/05/2016) gave voice to Cllr Ger Carthy, Mayor of Wexford, as he warned naturists that public nudity in the Republic is illegal.

He gave the warning after a group of naturists of both sexes were reported to have walked some 10 km (6.2 miles) along Curracloe, a popular coastal area in southern Ireland, and took in a spot of sunbathing. According to the article, this is quite close to where Saving Private Ryan was filmed.

The Irish Naturist Association spokeswoman confirmed that it was against the law in the Republic of Ireland for anyone to appear naked in public, but added: ‘No one has had any issue (in Wexford).’

In a more conciliatory note however, Mayor Carthy told the Wexford People that he thought it possible to find naturists somewhere: ‘more isolated place on the Irish coastline than at popular beauty spots like Curracloe….’ Why should naturist have to put up with second best, the places that nobody else wants? Isn’t our holiday money good enough!

A readers’ survey asked if Ireland should have nudists beaches and 72 per cent said yes, compared to 28 per cent who said no. The Ayes have it, I think.

Only in America…
We’re not living in Maryland, USA. When Chelsea Covington argued that Maryland law allowed women to be bare-chested in public, Ocean City council threw a hissy-fit and passed an emergency ordinance to allow discrimination between men and women because of the amount of fatty tissue they have on their chests.

Ms Covington put her argument to the Worcester County state’s attorney office in the form of a legal brief, who then pass it up the line to the Maryland Attorney General’s office, who is yet to make comment.

Mayor Rick Meehan told the Baltimore Sun: ‘While we respect Ms. Covington’s desire to express what rights she believes she may have, Ocean City is a family resort, and we intend to do whatever is… [necessary to protect] the rights of those families that visit us each year.’ As the name implies, Ocean City is on… er… the Atlantic seaboard with tourism a substantial employer with long wide beach. Now, given how little cloth there is in a modern bikini, how can anyone say that a woman with no top on is going to undermine the rights of families?

In Quebec, Canada CTV News reported on a suspected double murder and suicide at the Adam and Eve campground at Sainte-Brigitte-des-Saults. According to the website, Adam and Eve advertises itself as a: ‘naturalist (sic) campsite for liberated people,’ and the two men and a woman were in a love triangle. Of course tragic incidents like this happen elsewhere too, but would it be a ‘newsworthy’ if it wasn’t for the campsite’s pandering to ‘liberated people’ (i.e. swingers)? It is hard enough to promote naturism without this kind of complication.

Winner 2015 Competition

Change of Subject
Don’t forget that we are running a Photo Competition with a closing date of 22nd September, so there’s still plenty of time. Please spread the news and go to our dedicated website for more details.

And while I’m here, just want to mention that we do have a Facebook page with 1200 likes, but if you want social media that is a bit more naturist friendly then why not head off to our new page on Naktiv and naturally, you can find us on Twitter too?

Finally, we have just had some excellent weather here in the UK, so if you’ve been out and spoken to non-naturists as you sunbathed, or whatever, then please help us gather the data we need by completing a Casual Naturism Activity Report. You will need to be a registered user of our website, but that only takes a couple of minutes.

Don’t forget to play nice and share.

6 Responses to News from NAG – August 2017

  • Since it is lawful to be naked in public, why don’t more of us do it? There is a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding among the public, and even among police officers, about the lawful status of public nudity, but the law is on our side. Shouldn’t we be ready to embrace the rights we already have and use them to our advantage. I see no reason why I should not go shopping naked in Plymouth City Centre, for instance.

    Andrew Good,

    • To give a brief answer to your question Andrew, social conditioning. I need to be careful with my words here. While there is no primary legislation (law) that specifically prevents public nudity, section 5 Public Order Act 1986 and section 66 Sexual Offences Act still apply and going into Plymouth City Centre to shop may very well lead to your arrest. NAG is not campaigning for the downgrading of these Acts but a change in how society perceives non-threatening public nudity in the same way social norms were changed leading to the end of Bull-Baiting, of slavery and, in more recent times, of how most of the public perceive the LGBT community.

      I do agree though, too many people don’t know the law in relation to public nudity, including some Police Officers and PCSOs because there they have not been made aware of the CPS’s guidance on the subject. Training is available via the Police College but in the current economic climate it is thought counter-productive to campaign for its compulsory inclusion in police training.

  • But the CPS guidelines say that an offence is committed under Section 66 if a person exposes their genitals intending that someone will see them and be caused alarm and distress, so surely no offence is committed if there is no such intention.

    As far as Section 5 Public Order Act is concerned, I think it is stretching a point to deem somebody behaving perfectly normally but without clothing as behaving in a “disorderly” manner. Are NAG and BN challenging this interpretation of the law?

    • Only the individual knows their intentions, everyone else has to guess. If a third-person claims to be alarmed and/or distressed by your behaviour (not just nudity) then you are committing an offence. As was said at its time of enactment, s66 SOA is not intended to catch otherwise law-abiding naturists but it is easy to be caught up by it. Still following the guidance, it is less likely. As for s5 POA, again it isn’t you that determines what is disorderly. You also need to remember an officer may have to act to protect you from harm by other, misguided, people who think simple nudity is illegal, or affront to their female companions and/or children. To use a maxim from elsewhere, you behind the wheel of a car isn’t the problem, it’s the other idiots.

      Are we or BN challenging how SOA and POA is interpreted by the courts? Not to my knowledge. When Malcolm Boura was RLO (later Director of Campaigns) for BN he spoke of wanting to do a test case that would stretch up to the (then) House of Lords, now the Supreme Court but that would be tricky and very expensive. It would have to be a cast iron case, with ‘no skeletons in the cupboard’ to muddy the water or pour doubt on the defendant’s intentions. I don’t know if the intent is still there, as BN has changed how it organises its political campaigning.

      NAG is a small, largely self-funded organisation with no members, so a strategy such as challenging how the law is interpreted by the courts is out of the question, and why I favour challenging and changing public opinion. It’s slower, but deeper rooted and more permanent than challenging primary legislation that can be changed at Parliament’s whim. If you have an alternative plan Andrew then I for one would like to hear it.

  • A report in Metro of 10 July said that a pet shop boss who stripped in front of a customer as a “joke” during the heatwave was convicted of “indecent exposure” and fined £375. What he was convicted of I don’t know, but it wasn’t indecent exposure because there is, of course, no such offence, and we have a long way to go when reputable media are so ill-informed.

    On a more cheerful note, Rayner Otter in the August H&E (p. 9) says the only organisation capable of conducting research on the “new naturism” is – NAG! Nice of him to say so!

    • It was. While I stand by my words given in H&E Naturist a month earlier, I think NAG’s format needs to change before we can pick up this particular gauntlet. We need more collective members capable of giving us the competencies necessary in greater depth.

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