Eight years ago, when we launched Naturist Action Group, we had two aims; to campaign for the lifestyle’s wider acceptance and to represent a broad range of views within UK Naturism. We thought we had a reasonable grasp of the issues involved, and we had the beginnings of a plan.
Today though, NAG is announcing what will arguably be its biggest project to date, it is an attempt to learn more about UK naturism, the opinions of naturists in this country to find out how we think collectively. Let me ask the question that must be forming on your lips by now: Why?
In part it is in response to Rayner Otter, who last year wrote an essay [H&E Naturist, March 2017] about what he saw as the future of naturism following his nine-years of observing the European naturist scene. You could say, I’m putting my money where my mouth is, for I argued that naturism didn’t need conclusions based on observation but from robust research [H&E Naturist, July 2017]. To be fair, Rayner responded generously saying he too agreed with the premise. However, as a British-based organisation we are chiefly concerned about UK naturism, so the survey we shall be conducting will be restricted to those living in the United Kingdom, or British nationals living abroad while maintaining strong links with the UK.
The other part is that it’s really time we took a look at ourselves; are we serving naturism and naturists well? Are the things we think we know, accurate. Could we do things differently, better, smarter? And finally, can we describe the British person attracted to the lifestyle in any detail?
These are our goals and while I cannot promise we will achieve all of them perfectly we shall, with your help, make a good attempt.
This survey is for anyone 18-years and over, so married couples or co-habiting partners can complete separate questionnaires, as can any adult children. Once you have completed the survey, please share this post on social media, or by whatever means is available to you, with your naturist friends and family, encouraging them to complete it too. We want as many replies as possible, from the young and old, male or female, Black, Brown or White, computer savvy or not. The more replies we get, from as broad a spectrum of society as possible, the more accurate the survey will be.
UK NATURISM SURVEY— Closing date for replies: 31/12/2018.
If online forms are not your forte then we have a Word document (.docx) that can be used either as an editable electronic document on your desk top or printed, to be used as a paper survey. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “Survey” in the subject line and you will receive a reply within 24hours. Or send a self-addressed envelope (DL or C5) with a first- or second-class stamp to: UK Naturism Survey, c/o Reg Barlow, 6 Brunswick Street, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 4PL and a pre-printed paper survey will be posted to you. Surveys returned by post and postmarked 31/12/2018 will be accepted. Just follow the instructions provided.
Many thanks for your co-operation, and don’t forget to share.
18 November 2018
Campaigner Juliette Gill has tweeted that Police Scotland will now be informing their control rooms that simple public nudity is not an offence and anyone reporting a naturist will be told accordingly. The only reason an officer will be sent to investigate further is when the person displays behaviour that is concerning.
This is Gill’s victory and hers alone; not NAG’s and, as far as we are aware, not British Naturism’s.
13:00hrs 10th July — I have been corrected, Juliette is Regional Committee for BN in Scotland, and a hardworking volunteer. Hope no one was offended and apologise if they were.
The Public Nudity Advice and Decision-making Aid from the College of Policing has come some years after the CPS published its own guidance: Nudity in Public, guidance on handling cases of naturism, even so NAG’s Treasurer Duncan Heenan said: ‘It is a welcome addition and should greatly help with educating frontline police officers.’
In the briefing note, officers are told that naturism is ‘a philosophical belief’ and ‘naturists have a right to freedom of expression, which only engages [the] criminal law if they commit sexual offences or use disorderly behaviour’ and they ‘should consider every situation according to its own circumstances’.
While it explained the wide
Posted on behalf of John Paine.
Following a meeting of NAG’s supporters in, and around, London on 28th October and they discussed the potential sites for open space naturism other than Hampstead Heath. Talking about Hampstead Heath, they also discussed the brief media frenzy generated in May and the opinion poll of heath users conducted in June, with encouraging results.
Following the introduction of open space naturism in Paris, NAG London is discussing the possibility of making a visit; a fact-finding mission, bit like the one some of the Management Collective did to Munich, and to enjoy the day, of course.
Finally, they discuss the potential for a Christmas Dinner at The Oxford public house, Kentish Town Road.
More details can be found in the prepared leaflet and if you’d like more information then please email John.
The next meeting is scheduled for 10 February 2018 and if you’d like to attend or to be added to the email distribution list then again, please contact email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
Or perhaps that should read, what is naturism? Over two issues of H&E Naturist, starting in March 2017, Rayner Otter has given us the benefit of his and his Fräulein’s extensive travels and casual observations around naturist Europe and the world. If he has been understood correctly, the premise of his essay is that most young people are not bothered by labels and prefer to be naked among friends, even if those friends decide not to undress themselves and with nudity depending on multiple factors. That organised naturism is either dead or dying and eventually organisations like British Naturism or the INF will disappear. And let’s not omit Naturist Action Group out of this equation either, we are history. The future of naturism is the individual, social nudity is all in the past.
I consider that to be a very bleak prospect, but perhaps Rayner is right. We have seen a massive shift in social attitudes since the 1960s, away from doing things collectively with others to the self. From we to I. Something made more observable by the use of mobile devices connected to the internet via wifi and social media, which in reality is anti-social. You can test this theory yourselves the next time you are on a bus or train. Put away your own mobile device and look around you, what do you see?
So where does this leave naturism, commonly defined as non-sexual social nudity? Exactly where Rayner said it was! Martin Warrilow (H&E Naturist, Opinion, April 2017) seems to think so and, seven years ago, Charlie Simmonds wrote along similar lines when NAG launched itself upon the world, so maybe there is something in it. My problem is that they are observations, made over many months if not years, and unless the observer is omnipresent, they can only see the conditions being observed at that single point in time and place. What occurred in one place on a specific day may not be true for the same place the next day or for a different location, even if it’s the other end of the same beach, on the same day. Casual observations have only limited uses, but people do put great store by them. After all is there not a saying: ‘seen with my own eyes’? We in NAG have supported the idea of academic research in order to further our understanding of the effects of nudity on young minds. Does it corrupt and destabilise it in later life, as so many people seem to think, or does it enhance the mind, creating a body positive image reducing incidents of body dysmorphia? I have no idea, but I await the results of Dr Keon West’s and others research with interest. If we are prepared to do that, why should we not use the same rigour to understand naturism itself?
Ah, you will say, but we have. Hasn’t British Naturism commissioned two surveys, one in 2001 and the other in 2013, done by commercial research companies. They did, the problem is that neither report has been published, and privately, I have been told they never will. So the figure of four million naturists in the UK quoted by Rayner and many others is the result of a leak and has never been substantiated. I have even seen (observation again) someone trying to use it as part of their defence in a magistrate’s court, only to have it dismissed because court officials could not go to a report in the public domain to verify the claim. So, basically, British Naturism has wasted its money.
But lets not be too hasty and dismiss what has been observed by Rayner, Martin and Charlie without consideration. We all know, even if its just a ‘gut feeling’ naturism in the UK has changed as society has changed. People are far more accepting of nudity or being nude, with protests like the World Naked Bike Ride, or those by Femen and PETA attesting to that, but does that really show a greater interest or participation in a clothes free lifestyle. (BTW, Rayner used the term Clothes Unnecessary, abbreviated to CUN; not a good idea because I can see some wag adding a letter to it leading to all kinds of trouble.) We just can’t say, not without asking each and every participant. Even then the answers of one person to a question may not be the same as someone else; the old problem ‘ask 100 x the same question and you get 100 answers’. What we need is not a survey, but two surveys. First one built along similar lines to the surveys commissioned by British Naturism but with more rigorous control over the way its conducted. That doesn’t mean it has to use the Gold Standard of academic research, a commercial researcher like YouGov or Ipsos Mori would be fitting for the project but it will cost more than the £5,000 I believe quoted for the last survey commissioned by British Naturism. It needs to get under the skin of British society and its attitudes to nudity, social or otherwise? It could also tell us, with a moderate degree of accuracy, just how many people in the United Kingdom have a clothes optional attitude to life (not necessarily naturist) and act upon it.
The second survey stems from Stéphane Deschênes’ letter to the INF dated 24 Feb 2016, when he wrote: ‘The INF-FNI needs to remember that naturism is an ideology or philosophy, not an activity.’ It is the question about naturism being an ideology or a philosophy that the second survey will try to answer. We cannot possibly organise a worldwide survey but we can look at doing our corner of it, directing a survey towards UK naturists as a single community, to find out what it thinks. I suspect that it will throw up a lot of contradictions but could also show areas of commonality. It could show if naturism is akin to an article of faith (ideology), something that might be of interest to Christian Naturists, or something different. Such a survey would be helpful to British Naturism (and NAG of course) to understand just who they represent, to H&E Naturist in defining its readership, to existing naturist clubs and to anyone wishing to set one up or perhaps any other type business catering to a niche clientele. It will in effect be a census but one that will be aimed at a specific group of people, those who participate in, and enjoy the clothes free lifestyle.
It sounds, and probably is, a lot of work organising two closely related but very different surveys, and I’m sure there will be a lot of objections to this suggestion. Not least from the ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘why bother’ brigades. From his observations, Rayner has put forward a hypothesis that as a concept clothes free living will loose its distinction in society and be individualistic. Another so called ‘given’ is that children’s psychological development is harmed by seeing adults in the nude, often with the unsubstantiated refrain “but what about the children” heard in court and treated as though it ends all arguments. NAG has been instrumental in persuading British Naturism, and through them the INF, to support research that will either prove or disprove the statement. If, as we suspect, it is nonsense then we shall have in the public domain research that will counter any such statement made in court or elsewhere. In the same manner, we must test Rayner’s hypothesis with research and not blithely accept it as a given fact. If that’s what you want, the bleakness of Rayner’s hypothesis, then what is the point of INF, of British Naturism, of NAG, of club, of H&E Naturist? We might as well pack up now.
Only why should we accept anything without question. Naturists and naturist organisations have used the example of the remarkable journey taken over the last 20 years or so by the LGBT community. Does anyone think that that journey was made possible through just an annual get-together in Gay Pride? Without doubt, organisations like Stonewall also did boring stuff like gather evidence and used the language of politics and business to persuade those with the power to bring about a change in social attitude. Naturists need to do the same, if we want to follow the same path.
Park Authority says No.
Last month I mentioned a council in Tasmania that was prepared to hear a proposal by the Tasmanian Nudist Group to create a clothes optional beach because of the advantages to the local economy.
And yet, 12,000 miles away – according to Southern Daily Echo (23/09/2016) – the New Forest Park Authority has dismissed an application from Avondale Sun Club to expand their offer to non-members. They asked to be allowed overnight stays for up to three caravans and 15 tents at weekends and special events. The reason they gave was that it would ‘require a full change of planning permission’.
I wonder what Avondale’s argument was, when they went to the New Forest Park Authority? Was it “Please let us have overnight says for 26 weekends a year.” (Tugging forelocks.) Or was it, “We want to be allowed to have overnight stays at weekends because it will attract (enter number here) tourists to the New Forest per year and we know naturists will put £(enter figure here) into the local economy.” What do you think would be more persuasive?
Anthony Horowitz Interview
In an interview published in the Radio Times (09/10/2016), essentially about his new BBC TV series New Blood, writer Anthony Horowitz was asked by an audience member at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, if he was a naturist and he replied: ‘Yes I am.’
The reason why he was asked that question was because naturism is a theme featured in Horowitz’s new novel, Magpie Murders. I feel an itch to buy a book.
Berlin, Paris, London?
According to MailOnline (23/09/2016) the Green Party in Paris is proposing an Englischer Garten-style area for Parisian naturists.
In France, open space naturism is illegal and anyone caught could be fined €15,000 or given a 12 month prison sentence. So taking a naked stroll along a footpath in open country, or stripping off on an undesignated beach could land you in some seriously hot water. Paris nudists groups, however, have complained about overcrowding at the facilities they do have in the city, so this proposal by the Green Party is most certainly welcomed.
The designated space has not been announced, but speculation has suggested Daumesnil Lake in Bois de Vincennes, on the eastern side of Paris. The French government also plans to turn this lakeside area into a public swimming zone by 2019.
In the summer just gone, London hosted a pop-up restaurant – Bunyadi – that boasted a waiting list of 46,000 potential customers. Does that not suggest to City of London Managers that a similar Englischer Garten-style zone could be an asset to Londoners in the city’s extremely large open spaces?
Making a Break Through with Nude Yoga
An interesting article by JoAnne Viviano for The Columbus Dispatch (13/09/2016) about naked (nude) yoga has come my way and seems to have relevance for naturism.
The article quotes Amy Paterson, who attends Dharma House, a Yoga studio in Columbus, Ohio: ‘Prior to this practice I, like most women, really struggled with a lot of body image issues and
Later than intended, we are however, please to announce the publication of our second annual report that covers the period March 2015 to February 2016. It shows that we are moving forward, even if they are baby steps but look forward to taking some giant strides in the future.
Chairman, Naturist Action Group
A Film for All The Family
It is not often that I mention a film in this column. Ok, not ever. I leave it to others but if you are looking for a film that can entertain multi-generational audiences then what better than a Disney animation. So can I point you towards Zootopia, (Zootropolis in the UK for some reason) set in a land where the animals live in peace, with Idris Elba? Like so many animated films today meant for a U certificate there are layers of jokes and references. The reason why I mention it is that it features Mystic Springs Oasis, a naturist club owned by a laid back Yak. Did I mention it is by Disney?
Looking for Paradise?
For naturists, a small Mediterranean island – Ile du Levant – off the French coast near Toulon could lay claim to being paradise. According to the Wall Street Journal (10/03/2016) however, all is not well, and Jean-Yves Gacon, the president of the homeowners association on the island, is its source.
Brothers, Drs. Andre and Gaston Durville bought their portion of the island in 1931, after it had a chequered history as a young offenders penitentiary and orphanage. Most of the island is a military base but on the Durville’s portion, the village Heliopolis grew in the 1950s with its own town hall, a post office, school and chapel built by and for the residents.
When the community was first founded, there were certain areas – like the town square – people were expected to wear ‘la minimum’. Over the years enforcement has been lacks and naturists have got used to passing through the town square from the beach (where nudity is obligatory) to their hotel, naked. M. Gacon says he has researched the history of the community and discovered that the Durville brothers were rarely ‘entirely nude’ but wore a ‘stringy garment’ instead. Claiming historical precedence the homeowners association is now enforcing the old rules and has been backed up by the Mayor of Hyeres, under whose jurisdiction the Ile du Levant falls.
Like lots of other naturist sites, Ile du Levant has an aging population and M. Gacon believes by reverting to the old rules, he will make the island a popular holiday destination once more. But wouldn’t that also mean loosing a unique facility to naturism?
End of the Road for WNBR in Melbourne
For the last decade, Melbourne, Australia has been a host of the World Naked Bike Ride, but this year was the last one.
According to website Road.CC, more than 100 people took part but Dallas Goldburg told The Age that it took a lot of organising and that he believed that ‘cycling and cycling awareness has become a full time job, not just one day a year.’
We could say the same about being an advocate for naturism.
Mazo Beach Closed
Nudism at Mazomanie Beach, one of a few sites in the US State of Wisconsin, along the Wisconsin River, is no more. The State’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has closed the beach, citing illegal drug use and anti-social behaviour (public sex) as its reasons.
A homeowner, living near the beach told 27 News however, that it wasn’t the naturists who were causing the problem. He said: ‘We’d see more than a 100 cars lined up on the road with license plates from states like Indiana, Minnesota and Illinois.’ But the President of Mazomanie Village said loosing of the nudist dollar would have minimal effect on the village.
The DNR officials said that nudist activity was not allowed under the department’s rules and failed to respond when 27 News asked them why they acted now, after allowing custom and practice to develop for the last 20-years. According to their website, Friends of Mazo Beach said they are acting, along with the assistance of the Naturist Action Committee (not us) and legal counsel, to reverse the decision.
Topless in Chicago
In 2014, Sonoko Tagami decided to join in with ‘Go Topless Day’ demonstrations in Chicago and, along with other protesters, covered her chest in body paint to comply with a Municipal Code requiring women to have an ‘opaque covering’ over their breasts. The police decided that this still violated the code and Tagami was fined $100 for indecent exposure, plus $50 in costs.
According to the Chicago Tribune (04/03/2016), Tagami has now filed a lawsuit against the city and Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings, seeking a reversal of her original conviction.
Tagami had tried to claim that the Municipal Code was un
You might be wondering when the next version of the You & the Law leaflet will appear, having promised it some months ago.
Our progress towards publication had gone quite well and we sent a prototype of the final document to a friend of ours, who happens to be a retired solicitor, to try out. It was he who raised the question: is this something that NAG should be doing? He pointed out that British Naturism have published documents with a similar purpose for England and Wales, and more latterly, Scotland.
We are pleased that BN decided to follow our lead in this and have taken it further than our own resources would allow. A discussion at the spring meeting for the Management Collective came to the conclusion that publishing another You & the Law leaflet would mean we are just duplicating work already done and that is not what NAG is about. So we make a strong suggestion to make use of the excellent BN publication: Public Naturism and the Law. You will find buttons for the most appropriate document for you to download for free on the right hand side.