NAC Advisory
VERMONT: BRATTLEBORO
September 6, 2006

  |  Return to Current NAC Advisories | Return to NAC Home Page |

**********************************************************************
                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                             ADVISORY
**********************************************************************
                   http://www.naturistaction.org
**********************************************************************
 Copyright 2006 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible
 for its content. Permission is granted for the posting, forwarding or
 redistribution of this message, provided that it is reproduced in its
 entirety and without alteration.

DATE:    September 6, 2006
SUBJECT: Brattleboro, Vermont
TO:      Naturists and other concerned individuals

Dear Naturist,

The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) wishes to make you aware of recent developments in an important situation.

By now, you've undoubtedly heard about a handful of teens and young adults who have discarded conventional notions of public dress in the southeastern Vermont town of Brattleboro. To the delight of some and the dismay of others, these folks have occasionally chosen to shed their clothes at a popular parking lot in town.

EXISTING STATE AND LOCAL LAW

The state of Vermont has no general law forbidding simple nudity in public. Municipalities with such local laws number only a half dozen or so. Brattleboro is not among them.

Vermont does forbid "open and gross lewdness," but mere nudity is not considered to be lewd. As a result, those who have chosen to be simply nude in Brattleboro this summer have done so with legal impunity.

ANALYSIS AND REACTION

In stories that have appeared recently in the popular media, Brattleboro has been characterized as exhibiting "liberal" attitudes toward nudity. However, it may be just as accurate to say that the tolerance shown by many in the town is simply a reflection of traditional New England conservatism that places an extremely high value on personal liberty and individual freedoms.

Whatever labels are applied, townsfolk are not united in their views on nudity. While there have been significant local expressions of laissez-faire, a vocal few would like to see the nudity stopped - by the passage of a town ordinance, if necessary. Many townsfolk seem more troubled by the international focus placed on Brattleboro than by the public nudity that brought the attention in the first place.

Unsurprisingly, naturists have also been divided in their reaction to the events in Brattleboro. Some view the summertime nudity as a refreshing expression of body acceptance in a place where it has not been made illegal. They point out that advances are often accompanied by some degree of confrontation, and they are particularly encouraged by the fact that those who are participating spontaneously are of a younger generation than most naturists and nudists.

Others are concerned generally about any public nudity that appears to lack prior official approval, and they are specifically wary of possible adverse consequences that may result from what some see as "in your face" nudity.

AN ORDINANCE IN BRATTLEBORO?

A few disgruntled locals mounted what can only be called a limited backlash to Brattleboro's occasional nudity. Among the most vocal has been Margaret Frost, a resident of nearby Vernon. Naturists with good memories may remember her as the same Margaret Frost who, in 2002, led an effort in the town of Wilmington, Vermont, to prohibit nudity at The Ledges, a popular skinny-dipping spot on Harriman Reservoir. During that crusade, which was ultimately unsuccessful, Frost portrayed herself as a resident of Wilmington.

The Brattleboro town selectboard responded by asking attorney Robert Fisher to prepare and present options related to a possible anti-nudity ordinance for the town.

The presentation and ensuing selectboard discussion took place on September 5, 2006, during a scheduled meeting of the selectboard. The public was not invited to speak, but the Naturist Action Committee did have a representative present at the event.

    [CORRECTION: Members of the public were allowed to speak briefly at the meeting, and a few did so.Opponents of nudity concentrated on the "mortal sin of lust" and the supposed permanent damage caused when children view nudity. A greater number of speakers supported the town's hands-off tradition. NAC's representative at the meeting did not speak.] 

The selectboard was told of anti-nudity ordinances in other Vermont towns, but it was NOT presented with any ordinance specifically proposed for Brattleboro, and the body took no action on the issue. Selectboard Chairman Steve Steidle called the notion of an ordinance "a knee jerk reaction to an isolated problem."

One member of the selectboard admonished those who had been naked to "police yourself."

WHAT IS NAC DOING?

The Naturist Action Committee is working with and through local naturists and others to monitor the situation in Brattleboro and to suggest viable alternatives to the prohibition of nudity by ordinance. This is a tricky task, one that must be done gently and with appropriate finesse. Local social and political influence is best accomplished in conjunction with local activists, and this is especially true in New England.

WHAT IS NAC ASKING YOU TO DO?

This is an informational advisory only. The Naturist Action Committee is not requesting that you take action at this time, and in fact, NAC specifically asks that you do NOT contact Brattleboro lawmakers.

The Brattleboro selectboard and city manager have already expressed discomfort at having become the focus of so much outside attention. No official action has been taken, and NAC asks naturists to allow this issue to remain dormant for a while.

PLEASE HELP NAC HELP LOCAL NATURISTS

The Naturist Action Committee exists to advance and protect the rights and interests of naturists throughout North America. NAC consistently and successfully supports the responsible nude use of public lands. The activist programs of the Naturist Action Committee rely entirely on the voluntary support of involved naturists. Please donate generously with a check to:

    NAC
    PO Box 132
    Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or use your credit card to make a direct donation online through NAC's Web site:
   
www.naturistaction.org/donate/

Thank you for choosing to make a difference.

Naturally,

Bob Morton
Executive Director
Naturist Action Committee

---------------------------------------------------------------
Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton       -
execdir@naturistaction.org
Board Member George Winlock     -
gwinmass@aol.com
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick  -
naturist@sunclad.com
---------------------------------------------------------------

 

  | Top | Return to Current NAC Advisories | Return to NAC Home Page |  


 

Entire contents © 2006 Naturist Action Committee, Inc.
All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.