Hundreds of people are up in arms over a “disappointing” call to repeal a popular beach’s “clothing optional” provision.
Visitors have been able to leave their swimsuits at home when swimming or sunbathing at Tyagarah Beach in Byron Bay since 1998, but the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service (NWPS) has appealed to the council to remove the nudist status of the place.
More than 150 nudists took to the beach in their birthday suits on Sunday to protest the call, holding up handmade signs with slogans including “Naturism cures,” “Nude is natural” and “Nude is not lewd.”
Nudist blogger and Tyagarah Beach regular Jessa O’Brien, 35, was at the protest and said she is “deeply saddened and completely disappointed” by the NWPS’ “very sudden” request to ban nudity in a letter to Byron Bay County Council.
“The lack of transparency on the part of the NSW NPWS and its omission of community consultation is unfair, undemocratic and unjust,” he said.
Byron Bay residents are protesting an appeal by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service to revoke Tyagarah Beach’s clothing-optional status before April.
Nudist blogger and Tyagarah Beach regular Jessa O’Brien (pictured) said she is “deeply saddened and completely disappointed” by the NWPS’ “very sudden” request to ban nudity.
“I urge Council to propose a different course of action to the NSW NPWS where there is community consultation and a collaborative effort between them, Council and the naturist community.”
He said he believes the council is not aware of how “far-reaching” the implications of closing clothing-optional beaches may be.
“Especially as a woman, I’ve been a victim of constantly feeling sexualized/objectified in society… especially when I’m dressed, I’ll let you know,” she said.
“Contrary to what the general public (and even yourself) may assume, the irony is that I feel less sexualized/objectified on a clothing-optional beach when I’m completely naked than when I walk down the street in my clothes.” put.
“A clothing-optional beach was the first time I had this profound experience and realized that nudity, in and of itself, is not inherently sexual.”
Jessa also appeared on Sunrise on Monday morning in her fight to keep her favorite beachwear optional, saying the community was “blindsided” by the request.
“We have no idea what the basis of this decision really was, that’s the most important thing, we just want to participate in the conversation,” he said.
“The lack of transparency on the part of the NSW NPWS and its omission of community consultation is unfair, undemocratic and unjust,” Jessa said.
“It’s a small 800m stretch of beach and, for a lot of people, it’s an empowering lifestyle choice and a lot of people get to meet like-minded people.”
Jessa, who has been visiting Tyagarah Beach for seven years, said closing the beach would be “robbing” the community of “the very rare and tangible opportunity to experience our bodies and nakedness in a very healthy and healing way.” .
“In today’s age of the Internet and social media, our society needs these spaces and opportunities now more than ever,” he said.
“Revoking Tyagarah’s clothing-optional status not only fails the naturist community, but also fails a broader portion of society and future generations of our community.”
Byron Naturists Inc. president Bradley Benham started a petition on February 11 to save Tyagarah Beach’s clothing-optional status by asking the NPWS to reverse its decision and has garnered nearly 3,000 signatures.
‘Tyagarah Beach, where nudist use is permitted, has been a place of fun and freedom since it was created by community activism more than 25 years ago. “Thousands of people now enjoy this beach responsibly,” the petition reads.
‘Closing the beach at such short notice and without consulting the public or offering an alternative location is unfair. We oppose this decision.’
Byron Naturists Inc. president Bradley Benham started a petition on Feb. 11 to save Tyagarah Beach’s clothing-optional status and has garnered nearly 3,000 signatures.
In a letter sent to Byron Shire Council late last year, NPWS chief executive Deon Van Rensburg said the service does not support having a clothing-optional beach at Tyagarah Nature Reserve as it is “inconsistent with the values of the reserve that it manages”.
NWPS also claimed that naturists were moving away from the designated beach area to also use the dunes and back dunes, creating environmental problems.
“The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to identify alternative locations for the activity to take place,” the agenda said.
Councilors will vote on the matter on Thursday, February 22, and if the request is granted, all signs and other official channels to remove the notice that the beach is “clothing optional” will be removed by April 8 or even before.
Those caught baring all on the beach could be fined up to $1,100.
When asked why the request for clothing to be mandatory on the beach now after 26 years, why beach clothing is related to the issue of people climbing the dunes and whether alternative nude beaches are being sought , NPSW gave FEMAIL the following statement. .
“The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to identify alternative locations for the activity to take place,” a spokesperson said.
“A final decision has not yet been made on the clothing optional area.”