For anyone who hasn’t been watching this, Lene Tereland has just completed her BA in photography at London Metropolitan University. Her graduation exhibition project featured naturists doing the everyday things we do. Lene had hoped to persuade the University to allow a clothes optional viewing; this they would not, but they have allowed Lene to invite five of her subjects to be present (nude) during a private viewing on 19th June between 7pm and 8pm at 1st Floor, Annex Building, Old Castle Street, London E1 7NT. Members of the public will remain dressed, which is a shame, but as Lene says: ‘Is good news, as I thought [the university] wouldn’t allow any nudity.’
If you can’t make it that day, then you can still see Lene’s exhibition during one of its public days from 20th June until 30th. Opening times: Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm.
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.
Casual Naturism Project
When the weather allows, many of us enjoy wild naturism in lots places around the UK. In recent months, the discussion in H&E Naturist suggests that for some, this option gives more freedom that the perceived restrictions of clubs. As naturists, we know that in only a few extreme cases does responsible public nakedness causes offence but sadly, that can still land the naturist facing legal action.
We, Naturist Action Group, have the Casual Naturism Project, to collect evidence to disprove the claims and if you live in the UK then we are looking for your help. The project aims to create a database from lots of individual accounts of your encounters with non-naturists as you enjoy the great outdoors. Perhaps you’re planning something for Be Naked Day (Saturday 5 Aug)!
Early returns have indicated that few people are offended by public nudity, but the more entries we have on the database, the greater the certainty we will have that offending non-naturists is the least of our worries.
So the next time you visit a beach, go for a walk or sunbath in a large open space (e.g. Hampstead Heath) then please tell us about it by visiting our website and looking up Log Report – Open Space under the Contact tab. Please remember, we only required details of your encounters with non-naturists if they happen in the UK. You will need to log in/register as a user to complete the report but this is a simple and quick process, and it will cost £0.00. By-all-means pass on details of the Casual Naturism Project to other UK naturists.
As much as naturism is about being able to express ourselves without clothes, there are times when we just have to cover our bodies in a garment or two. When it’s too cold for instance, or too hot in the sun, or when being nude is an impossibility. So it’s a little remarkable that the textile world would try to emulate naturists, well nearly without going the whole way. It was reported that US fashion model, Bella Hadid was seen on the red carpet in Cannes in a dress that hid very little. Apparently, Hadid contributed to the design by Ralph and Russo, who like to dress ‘empowered women’. With material so sheer, what is the point of being nearly nude, with the garment superfluous to whatever needs the wearer has. The only purpose that springs to mind is to titillate and for publicity, in which case Bella Hadid succeeded.
In a move considered unusual for the British Royal family, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked a French court to award them €1.5 million (£1.3 million) in compensation for invasion of privacy. They were staying at a villa owned by Viscount Lindley, a nephew of the Queen, in 2012 and believed they were alone when they sunbathed on a terrace. Only they weren’t, as the French-owned gossip magazine Closer published pictures of a topless Catherine, much to the distress of her husband, Prince William, recalling the circumstances of how his late mother, Diane Princess of Wales was hounded by press photographers in the moments before she died.
NAG does not condone any invasion of privacy, but Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge was not doing anything that countless millions of other women haven’t done before, so fail to see why these photos were newsworthiness even if she is a royal. The Duke and Duchess should be allowed to behave like any other family in the 21st Century, including being allowed to sunbath topless, or if they want to, nude, and not have it given a double page spread. Yes, the UK Royal family has privileges that many of don’t but they also pay a price for those privileges in being
Win a Holiday!
Following last month’s brief announcement, we are launching Photo Competition 2017 on the 1 May. It will stay open until 22 September, so plenty of time to get your camera out.
Apart from donations, the entry fees for the photo competition are our main source of income. Will you please help us to help you? Please enter the competition and encourage others to do so too! As with previous years the theme is Living Naturism. This can be anything that expresses your naturism best, while doing housework, while playing sport or just exercising, or sharing a mug of coffee and a joke.
This is the third time we have run this biennial event with the aid of H&E Naturist, and we are extremely pleased to be teaming up with Astbury Formentera again, who have kindly donated accommodation for two for one week, worth up to £1000.
Mental Health & Nudity
This is from a post on our website. Along with BN, NAG is willing to work with different academics to improve our understanding of the connection between our general well-being and nudity, including mental health. The latest is Dr Marina Rachitskiy of London Regent University, who is supervising students studying for their BSc. They are seeking information on people’s upbringing and how it effects their general mental health and behaviour. It is not strictly naturist, but if you were brought up in naturist or clothes optional lifestyle, it might have a significant baring on your present day health. This is what the study is for. You must be over 18 to take part in the survey and your informed consent is required, and takes roughly 10 minutes to complete.
How to loose $2m
We have mentioned before in this column that Queensland is the only Australian State that does not allow nude sunbathing on its beaches. Even so, Noosa’s Alexandria Beach was home to the annual Nude Olympics, a social event rather than a sporting one more reminiscent of your school sports day. Organised by Australian Naturist Federation, it has decided that it no longer wants to be seen encouraging illegal activity in the State and are seeking to move the event to New South Wales instead. Quoting the ANF President Greg Snow from Sunshine Coast Daily, the Brisbane Times said the event was worth A$2m to the local economy, which will now move elsewhere. The article also stated that State Ministers for tourism and police has also questioned the policy of not letting councils to consider and permit nudist beaches.
Time for a rethink?
Nudity and the Germans
The German’s love of nudity is a myth, or so says a YouGov survey brought to us by The Local. It says that despite foreigners impressions, the German people are not all that keen on being naked in the sauna. Roughly half (56%) of those questioned thought there should be rules about being dressed in the hot, sweaty sauna while about a quarter thought clothing was not appropriate. Not surprisingly, it was mostly men who held out for nudity in the sauna. Less than half (48%) of women thought nudity was necessary, while almost a third thought they should be allowed to cover up.
As disappointing as this survey might be, it is not out of line with other, similar surveys we have heard about and why should the Germans be any different from the rest of us? Many moons ago, your chairman was speaking to a Finnish person, where the sauna was invented, who said traditionally nudity was part of the whole experience. Could it be, the Germans are just as affected as the rest of us about the sexualisation of our bodies! Isn’t it about time naturists started to fight back?
Discrimination against the nude
NAG has already published a review of the Channel 4 documentary: The Great British Skinny Dip, but journalist and blogger Jillian Page took her cues from the common themes in reviews published by British newspapers: The Sun and The Telegraph, among others for her Reflections on life in the Global village. Almost everywhere, naturist groups have compared the journey they are yet to make with the one the LGBT community has already travelled and are travelling, and took encouragement without suggesting that naturists have suffered the worst aspects of discrimination. Yet, as Page describes, naturists like the featured Christine have suffered discrimination, forced into early retirement after being ‘outed’ as someone who participates in non-sexual social nudity.
Among the synonyms for discrimination in my thesaurus are: injustice, intolerance and prejudice. Are these things the result of Christine’s naturism or because of the perception held by non-naturists of what naturism is? It has to be said that virtually all naturist organisations are extraordinarily bad at explaining naturism. That might be because we don’t really know ourselves. We have consistently avoided knowing. Apart from our nudity, what is our common beliefs and/or opinions? After more than a century, is it not time we did know?
In her conclusion, Page said that those who thought nudity should be allowed in most public locations are ‘dreaming’ and in your chairman’s opinion, she is correct. There is always an appropriate time and place for doing something and walking down the road naked to your local supermarket is perhaps not one of them (unless it’s in a nudist resort). I depart from Page though in that I believe we can remove the fear and misunderstanding of non-naturists by being able to explain our lifestyle better.
In April 2015, NAG launched its second photo competition with the theme of living naturism.
The judges: Natasha Porter (aka Natansky), Sam Hawcroft and myself have now selected the best entries. It is a task that is never easy as it often comes down to personal likes and dislikes, but this time we had a clear winner, who is Dr Janos Bajusz [Photo No 1] from Hungry. Dr Bajusz has chosen Vritomartis Naturist Resort in Greece as his prize.
My thanks to everyone who entered and to the judges for their time, who gave it so freely.
Apart from the winner, the judges also selected photographs as highly commended and commended. They are:
|2||Glenne Findon||New Zealand||Playtime on the Beach|
|3||Paul Montgomery||UK||Walking with a friend|
|4||Dr Janos Bajusz||Hungary||Mother & Daughter entering the sea|
|5||Gabrielle Bajusz-Birkas||Hungary||Romantic Moments|
|6||Frank Wulms||Australia||Nude woman in snow|
|7||Paul Montgomery||UK||Loving the freedom|
|8||Col Basire||NZ||Seeking natural shade|
|9||Ilana Panci||Italy||Dancing in the Moon|
Congratulations to Dr Bajusz and to all of the above, and once again, thank you for entering. It is often said that it is a pity that there can only be one winner, how true.
See you next time.
Chairman, Naturist Action Group