Nudists are planning a museum and library in Miami
Local nudists, or naturists, are working to establish a museum and library with a training institute and offices. They have been exploring potential sites from North Miami to Sunny Isles Beach.
What's happening: The nonprofit B.E.A.C.H.E.S. Foundation (Beaches Education Advocates for Culture, Health, Environment and Safety) hopes to establish a facility where people can learn about naturism through lectures, articles, legal documents and art.
- It would house offices for B.E.A.C.H.E.S. and its sister organization, South Florida Free Beaches.
Why it matters: A 2017 study by nude recreation advocacy groups found that nude tourism contributes billions of dollars to Florida's economy.
Flashback: Grassroots activists worked with politicians, business leaders and other stakeholders to have a section of county-operated Haulover Beach Park designated as clothing optional in 1991.
- It's now a mecca for naturism that advocates say draws 1.2 million visitors a year — 65% of which are tourists.
Context: B.E.A.C.H.E.S. promotes safe, family-friendly nude recreation and body-positive culture as well as environmental programs, beach access for people with disabilities, skin cancer screenings and more.
What they're saying: B.E.A.C.H.E.S. President Martin Novoa tells Axios that in the 1970s, there were 44 Florida beaches where nudism was allowed. Most were on state property, where restrictions have since disallowed it. Now there are just four on county and federal land.
- Being naked in public is not illegal unless "in a vulgar or indecent manner," per state law covering lewdness and indecent exposure, he says.
- Nudists have fought to secure their rights and fended off legal challenges over the years. It's a "myth that naturists are kind of hippies," Novoa says. "There's a massive percentage of MAGA people in naturism."
- "Our biggest threat, in my opinion, is economic," he says. "It's the developers who would love to have restaurants and hotels and condos and everything right at our beautiful beach."
Zoom out: Other libraries exist at naturist resorts, but in North America, only the Naturist Education Foundation Library in Oshkosh, Wisconsin is open to the public.
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