At AANR, our mission is to "Advocate nudity and nude recreation in appropriate settings, and educate and inform society of the value and enjoyment of such through on-going member growth." We take this mission very seriously, and depend on you, our members, to help keep us apprised of developments that could infringe on our right to practice nudism.
AANR is always looking for opportunities to make a positive differences the credible voice of reason---explaining the wholesome benefits of nudity and nude recreation to lawmakers, staff, decision makers in business and even your next-door neighbor.
by Jonathan Duffield, Government Affairs Co-Chair
Our members ask a lot of questions about social nudity and the law in Florida, and they’re often the same. Here are five of the most popular, and their answers, in no particular order.
Q1: Is nude recreation legal?
A1: Yes! On all federal recreational lands within Florida (though common sense should be exercised so as not to offend the textile users); in all county parks where spaces have been designated as clothing-optional; in all nudist resorts, clubs, and parks; and on your own property, or someone else’s property with permission, as long as you cannot be seen by the neighbors. In those places, and under those circumstances, Florida’s indecent exposure laws do not apply.
Q2: What is the controlling Florida Statute?
A2: That would be FS 800.03. Because it is so short (and actually written in English), here is the entire text, verbatim:
Chapter 800, LEWDNESS; INDECENT EXPOSURE
Section 03, EXPOSURE OF SEXUAL ORGANS
It is unlawful to expose or exhibit one’s sexual organs in public or on the private premises of another, or so near thereto as to be seen from such private premises, in a vulgar or indecent manner, or to be naked in public except in any place provided or set apart for that purpose. Violation of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 [up to 1 year in prison] or s. 775.083 [a $1,000 fine]. A mother’s breastfeeding of her baby does not under any circumstance violate this section.”
Q3: What’s the difference between legal public nudity and indecent exposure?
A3: In Hoffman v. Carson, Case No. 40151, July 7, 1971, the Florida Supreme Court found – and the courts have consistently held ever since – that “mere nudity” [and no more] does not constitute indecent exposure. A violation of the indecent exposure statute requires a lascivious and lewd exposition or exhibition of sexual organs and that in order for there to be a violation of Section 800.03, there must be a lascivious exposure of a sexual organ. So mere public nudity (in an appropriate place) is legal; being nude, lewd, and lascivious about it is indecent exposure and, therefore, illegal.
Q4: Can I be arrested?
A4: Arrest is highly unlikely. In most cases, a law enforcement officer cannot originate a complaint; a legitimate complaint must be made by an identifiable member of the public. Generally, law enforcement officers do not want to interfere with the peaceful enjoyment of nude recreation but, if a legitimate complaint is made, they must respond. In most cases, they will politely request that you simply cover up, and we recommend that you politely comply. However, if you are ever hassled or cited for violating any law, please contact us immediately.
Q5: Can I take my own boundary signs to a secluded beach, post them temporarily, engage in nude recreation and take my signs home with me when I leave?
A5: FS 800.03 makes no mention of who can and cannot “provide and set apart a place for that purpose”. In fact, one group of local activists recently tested that right by reserving a certain stretch of a beach and installing permanent boundary signs there. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no objections or protests from any branch of that county government – but that’s only one beach in one county.
If you have a specific question about the law in Florida, or any other government affair, please e-mail me at Jonathan.Duffield@AANR-Florida.org
(The opinions expressed are those of the writer – who is not an attorney –
and should not be taken as legal advice.)
By Jonathan Duffield, Government Afairs Chair
THE GAT MISSION, PART 1
I travel frequently throughout the Region and, wherever I go, I often encounter the same question: “What, exactly, does the Government Affairs Team do?” The answer is surprisingly simple.
The GAT serves a dual mandate: 1. to protect and preserve what we’ve got, and 2. to win and secure more. In Part 1 of this article, I’d like to discuss how we go about protecting and preserving our current nude recreational venues.
“ETERNAL VIGILENCE IS THE PRICE OF LIBERTY”
That quotable quote is most often attributed to Thomas Jefferson. Though no one has ever actually found it in any of his writings, it does, nonetheless, pretty accurately describe the first part of GAT’s mission.
You see, the woods are full of wolves – prudes and bluenoses – who think we’re all a bunch of sickos who need to be locked up, and our resorts, clubs, campgrounds, parks, and beaches permanently closed. Sadly, that may be the attitude of the majority of Americans.
But fortunately, while we do have majority rule in this country by design, our founding fathers soon realized that they had also inadvertently created a system of government by which the majority could tyrannize a minority, and that was not their intention. So two years after adopting our Constitution in 1787, the framers then adopted its first ten Amendments in 1789. They intended the Bill of Rights to correct their oversight – to protect the rights of minorities.
You have an absolute right to take your clothes off and run around naked in public if you want to (as long you’re in an appropriate setting and you’re not being lewd or lascivious, that is). You have the right to live, work, play, and even socialize in the nude. And where, exactly, do these rights come from?
Well, most good citizens who remember what they were taught in ninth grade civics class tend to think of these rights as being guaranteed by the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly clauses of our First Amendment, and they are.
But they are also protected by our Ninth Amendment which says that all rights not previously conveyed to the Federal government, or to the States, shall be retained by the people themselves.
That is important. Please remember it.
Your Government Affairs Team is charged with the responsibility of continually monitoring all proposed Federal and State legislation – and all County and local ordinances, rules, and regulations as well – for actions which could, potentially, infringe upon your right to social nudity.
In order to do that, we first need to hear about such threats. And at the Federal and State levels, we’re pretty well covered.
For Federal and State laws, and regulations that have the effect of law, we have tools at our disposal that allow us to search all Bills for key words like “naked,” “nude,” “nudity,” etc., and then track their progress through the legislature. We are further aided by John Hunter, Chairman of our Federal Government Affairs committee, who also brings Bills of concern to our attention in time for us to intervene.
And here in the Florida Region, we are very lucky to have the services of Ramon Maury, our own professional lobbyist in Tallahassee, who also alerts us to proposed State laws and regulations that could adversely impact our chosen way of life.
But it’s for proposed County and local ordinances that we need your assistance.
Ralph Collinson, President of the Florida Region, has talked about the importance of volunteering to help protect your right to social nudism, and here is another way for you to become involved without lifting a finger.
For several years, AANR’s Community Awareness Team program has lain dormant. And now we’re re-activating it in response to increasing challenges from those who would seek to harm our lifestyle.
You can think of the CAT as AANR’s “Early Warning System” to alert us to proposed County and local ordinances that could hurt you and all of us.
By doing nothing more than what you’re already doing – that is, reading your local newspapers, keeping up with the news on your local radio and TV stations, and talking with your family, friends, neighbors, and workmates – you can maintain an awareness of hostile actions being contemplated in your County and municipality and then tell us about them so we can get out in front of the curve instead of behind it.
Won’t you help? You can become a Community Awareness Team member by simply raising your hand.
Contact me, your Regional Government Affairs Team Chairman, at Jonathan.Duffield@AANR-Florida.org, and let me know that you want to be a CAT volunteer. Following a tiny little bit of instruction, you’ll be left alone. You won’t be badgered or harassed or contacted at all unless we need to mount a grassroots campaign to head off some kind of impending legislative disaster.
In the grand scheme of things, that’s really not likely to happen. But we need to have at least one watchdog in every community in every County in the country for this program to work.
You can be a part – an important part – of our efforts to protect and preserve your rights as a nudist. And this is the easiest way possible for you to get involved.
Had it not been for a concerned AANR member, the proposed ordinance to ban nudity in Clay County, Florida, would never have come to our attention in time for us do anything about it. As it was, we were nearly too late. But, because he let us know in time, AANR was able to influence that bad action for the good of our members.
Yes, the world is full of people who would like nothing more than to take away our right to social nudity and curtail the way we like to play. We can’t let that happen. And with your help, it won’t..
Next month, how to start your own nude beach (or park or campground) on public land. It’s easier than you might think!