A Nude Not Lewd rally is being held this Sunday 16 September from 11am to 2pm at Tyagarah’s clothes optional beach by a group of local Byron naturists and skinny dippers as they welcome the arrival of spring and continue to assert the message ‘that naturists are part of the solution to keeping the beach safe.’
Some locals have said the Tyagarah beach is unsafe because the ‘clothes optional’ option at the beach attracts sexually deviant behaviour. They have called for the removal of the ‘clothes optional’ status, believing that this will stop inappropriate behaviour at the beach.
Regular beach user Debra Lee Conomy, who bought her property in the Byron hinterland because of the proximity of the beach, said the call is ‘a knee-jerk reaction that won’t help eradicate lewd behaviour by a very small number of beach users’.
‘There is no evidence that naturists being forced to abandon this beach will make it any safer,’ she said.
‘On the contrary, our neighbourhood watch-style patrols, in particular, have been very successful in reducing inappropriate behaviour.’
Local naturists believe that the combined effort by police, NPWS, council and the naturist community has been an outstanding success.
Sunday’s event is open to everyone: locals and visitors, clad and unclad, are welcome to attend and find out more about how to keep up the momentum of keeping Byron’s only clothes optional beach safe for all users, say organisers.
Make Byron’s Main Beach ‘clothes optional’
Local resident Gwen Gould has said that while things have improved there is still a core group of men, primarily from Queensland, who are exhibiting inappropriate sexual and intimidating behaviours at the beach.
‘I went to the clothes-optional beach the other day and was followed by a single male who was naked, he then went and lay on the beach and masturbated,’ said Gwen who is in her 70s.
‘We’ve been labeled as prudes but I was one of the people who rallied for a nude beach in the first place,’ pointed out Gwen.
Gwen highlighted the fact that the isolation of Tyagarah’s ‘clothes optional’ beach is a significant part of the problem and when asked if she would support a clothes optional beach at Byron’s Main Beach said she ‘yes’.
‘I would support a clothes optional beach at Main Beach in Byron Bay where it can be patrolled properly by both the police and lifesavers,’ said Gwen.
‘People would not accept the kinds of behaviour that we have to put up with here at Tyagarah.’
‘While the police have been doing a great job it takes 25 minutes for them to get to this isolated spot and even when things are reported they are not always able to attend.
‘Why are council supporting an isolated clothes optional area that most locals no longer frequent because of the sexually predatory behaviour of single males from out of state? If it is to save our free and liberated image it is not okay at the expense of the harassment that we have to put up with.’
So is there a way to make the Tyagarah ‘clothes optional’ beach safe?
The local naturist group who is organising this weekend’s rally believes there is such a way, and they are recommending an extension of the beach to 300m north of the Bayshore Drive entrance to ensure that it extends to a less isolated location.
However, Gwen says that unless there is a patrol on the beach from 6am to 6pm seven days a week the isolation of the site means that you can’t ever fully get rid of the problem.