Registered: Nov 2005
Local time: 06:36 AM
POSTED: 11:40 a.m. EDT, September 4, 2006
Teen nudity exposes town's bare-bone rules
|BRATTLEBORO, Vermont (AP) -- Public nudity isn't new to this bastion of bohemia, but it usually bares itself in more subtle places than the downtown parking lot.
This summer, a group of teenagers has disrobed near restaurants, bookstores and the town's many galleries, igniting a debate about whether Brattleboro should ban a practice long tolerated until now.
Vermont has no state laws against public nudity, but communities can write their own bans. At least eight cities and towns have anti-nudity ordinances, according to the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.
So far, Brattleboro has chosen not to join them, but the teenagers' disrobing may change that. Officials in the southeast Vermont town, about 80 miles west of Boston, are researching how other communities have responded.
Nudity has been used for social protest and rebelliousness for years. This summer, nude bicyclists rode through Burlington to protest the country's reliance on oil, part of an event known as the World Naked Bike Ride. PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has often used nudity as a shock tactic to draw attention to the treatment of animals in research and fashion.
The 50,000-member American Association for Nude Recreation espouses nude recreation in appropriate places, but doesn't use nudity "for social commentary, or rebelliousness or an act of civil disobedience," said Mary Jane Kolassa.
In Vermont, voters have shot down nudity bans before. Prompted by complaints about nudity and sexual activity at a swimming hole, the Wilmington select board passed an anti-nudity ordinance in 2002. But supporters of the freedom to skinny dip rejected the ban in a public vote.
"As soon as winter comes, there won't be a story anymore," said Town Clerk Annette Cappy.