Letter: Nude beaches can coexist with law

A nude beach opposite the Fire Island Lighthouse.

A nude beach opposite the Fire Island Lighthouse. Photo Credit: Bill Davis, 2008

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The essay on clothing-optional public beaches elicited online comments betraying woeful ignorance about body acceptance ["Nude beaches help us show our true selves," Opinion, June 28]. There are hundreds of such beaches worldwide but precious few in New York's metropolitan area.

"Topless" applies to bars, not beaches. In New York, any woman can go "topfree" anywhere a man can. "Naturalists" are devoted to nature; "naturists" are, too, but also enjoy clothing optionality -- wearing as much or as little as is comfortable while swimming, sunbathing, etc., usually in somewhat secluded areas.

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Naturist visitors to Lighthouse Beach worked with rangers for years to avoid conflicts with non-naturists. Sandy's dune destruction made the western beach more visible from the road. When asked, rangers state they've been directed to enforce state anti-nudity laws never enforced on this beach before.

There's a genuine community of folks being disrupted by this new policy. That community needs to organize and work with authorities to restore what's been destroyed.

Rangers are not enforcing anti-nudity laws in Fire Island's resident communities, accessible to outsiders only by ferries (or 6-mile walks). Said enforcement's been directed only at nonresident visitors, in a manner clearly discriminatory.

Leonard J. Lehrman, Valley Stream

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the The Naturist Society, which promotes clothing-optional recreation on public lands.

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