The situation over Mr Gough has long been ridiculous but it has now become farcical. Vast amounts of public money are being spent to deprive him of his liberty and he faces yet more years in solitary confinement for nothing more than, well what exactly? That is a very interesting question which has never been answered adequately.
So what are the facts?
1. It is accepted, by even the police and prosecutors, that Mr Gough is not a danger to anyone.
2. There is not a shred of evidence that nudity causes harm to anyone of any age
3. However, the prejudiced reaction of some adults does cause harm to children and the prejudiced reaction of some adults may cause harm to themselves.
4. There is strong evidence that body-shame results in widespread and often serious harm, mainly to children and young people. The repeated imprisonment of Mr Gough is encouraging those harmful attitudes.
British Naturism advocates a less confrontational approach than Mr Gough has pursued but that does not alter the logic and principles underlying this case. Mr Gough, just like every human, has the right to be treated fairly, according to facts and evidence, not according to prejudice. It does not matter how popular a prejudice may appear to be, or how strongly that prejudice may be held, unless there is evidence of harm, it is nothing but prejudice.
Some people find burqas offensive. Should wearing a burqa result in solitary confinement for life?
Some people find turbans offensive. Should wearing a turban result in solitary confinement for life?
Some people find crucifixes offensive. Should wearing a crucifix result in solitary confinement for life?
What about two men holding hands? Should that result in solitary confinement for life?
The law being used to imprison Mr Gough has not been passed by any Parliament, it was invented by the courts and it is an excellent example of why vague law is bad law. It is wide open to abuse, it is being abused, and the law is being brought into disrepute, the police into disrepute and it alienates minority groups. It is damaging society way beyond just this case.
It is time for the Parliament of Scotland to step in, to put a stop to this absurdity, to stop this injustice, and to stop this appalling waste of public money. About half a million pounds so far. Think of the difference made to body-attitude related outcomes such as breast feeding if that money had been spent on combating body-shame instead of promoting it.
"Life imprisonment?" - a Scottish judge has made it clear that he will continue to be imprisoned until he gives in.
There are about four million naturists in the UK and the anger is growing.
- ENDS -
BN Commercial Manager
Andrew Welch 01753 481527
Notes for Editors
British Naturism (BN) is the UK’s officially recognised naturist organisation. It exists to support and unite naturists around the UK and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014, although its predecessors were in existence since the 1930s.
Amongst the aims of BN are to campaign for more places to be made available for naturism and to protect naturists against discrimination and Victorian attitudes to the human body.
Fact – in law, there is no offence of nudity. Various pieces of legislation and common law are often mentioned in connection with naturism but they are not relevant.
In the UK, there are over 130 sun clubs, swim clubs and holiday resorts and many beaches used regularly by naturists. Membership of BN is around 10,500 people with many more being members of clubs affiliated to BN.
YBN (Young British Naturists) has a membership of young men and women between the ages of 18 and 30 who get together at clubs and beaches many weekends. They represent the UK at the International Naturist Federation (INF) Youth Rally held annually
Naturism is good for you! Naturists report improvements in well-being, stress, chronic illness, self-esteem and body image. It’s also a sensible choice of dress when the weather is warm. Naturists are normal people. The only difference between activities inside and outside of naturism is the dress code.
It is a fallacy to believe that naked children are any more at risk in a naturist environment. Unaccompanied children are not permitted in naturist places and the community spirit that pervades ensures that a watchful eye is present. Despite the perception, there are far fewer problems in naturism than in more “public” places where children and adults mix. Mindful of the need to be aware of child safeguarding issues, however, BN have a robust child safeguarding policy, code of practice, and a Child Safeguarding sub-committee that meets regularly and runs workshops on the subject, sometimes to groups from outside the naturist world.
For the media, there is a dedicated “Media Centre” at http://www.bn.org.uk/media, which contains useful information for those wishing to write about naturism or to feature this wonderful world in their publications or programmes