A cool blustery day did little to dampen the determination of protestors at Tyagarah as almost 100 supporters visited the Nude Not Lewd beach rally throughout Sunday morning.
Though naturalists at heart, clothes were the day’s option for many as a chill wind blew along the beach, but their message was fiery hot.
Nude is not lewd.
Council is currently debating the future of clothes optional beaches in the Shire and naturists from the Byron area and beyond say they are fighting for their right to have clothes optional beaches. The protestors are adamant about everyone being able to enjoy the beach in a safe community environment.
Several speakers had their say during the morning and all agreed that there is sometimes an unpleasant element who are attracted to the nude beach, but working together, the community could address those issues.
A spokesperson for the Byron Naturists said that the main focus of the day’s rally is to keep the beach open.
‘There’s a small number of local residents who have been very vocal about trying to close the beach.
‘They have claimed that police statistics are up. That is true, but that is since the size of the [nude] beach has been reduced – a lot of those statistics have been about people who have been naked outside of the signposted area. A lot of those statistics are also what they call “bona fides” – they are doing daily patrols and they are asking people for ID.
‘So they are minor issues. What the police have said is that there haven’t been any major issues in the signposted area.
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‘The other thing that this group is conscious of is that with the dedication of the 800 metres reducing the length of the beach, people from the Sunrise area feel very isolated at their end – they have to walk 1500 metres before they are able to get naked and run into the water. So women particularly at that end feel very threatened and isolated.
‘If the beach was extended down towards Sunrise, two to three hundred metres north of the Bayshore Drive entrance, that would increase the parking and reduce the number of people using Gray’s Lane and it would also provide a safer environment,’ the spokesperson said.
Natuist Rudi was emphatic in his resolve that there should be more freedom on the beach.
‘We shouldn’t have this event today, it shouldn’t even need to happen. We come here in peace it’s not a war zone.
‘We need to weed out the masturbators and then the rest of us can enjoy a day on the beach.’
Clothes optional beaches are few and far between and many are prepared to travel to get some sun on skin. Protesters came from near and far to flesh out the numbers on the day as they feel it is important to have at least some havens for nudity and they wanted to have their say.
Naturist Fabio Guarnizo says he often travels from the Gold Coast to enjoy the Byron coast but says his disability makes it difficult to access clothes optional areas where they are now.
‘The clothes optional beach was moved south. For me to park my car then get all the way down here two hundred metres to the south is very complicated.
‘Before it was much easier. I just got out of my car and the nude beach was just there.’