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Venice Beach neighborhood council seeks topless sunbathing for women

Venice Beach neighborhood council seeks topless sunbathing for women
Couples enjoy a sunny day at Venice Beach in March. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Venice Beach, looking to its European roots, is asking the L.A. City Council to let women sunbathe topless at the beach.

In a 12-2 vote, the Venice Neighborhood Council said it "supports women being afforded the same rights as men to sunbathe topless." Of course, the City Council doesn't have to heed the group's recommendation.

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Why recommend the shift? The Neighborhood Council noted that "Venice Beach was founded and designed around the European culture of Venice, Italy, and ... topless [sun]bathing is commonplace throughout Europe, much of the rest of the world and many places within the U.S."

Not to mention, according to the agenda for the Tuesday meeting, that the neighborhood is a "safe haven for liberal views and free expression."

Melissa Diner, a Venice Neighborhood Council community officer who sponsored the resolution,  said the council will draft letters to send to City Councilman Mike Bonin, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which has jurisdiction over the beach.

"It's an equality issue," Diner, 32, said of the resolution. "There's a conversation we're trying to start. ... What do you want to see on Venice Beach?"

The Los Angeles Municipal Code currently prohibits topless sunbathing.

"No person shall appear, bathe, sunbathe, walk or be in any public park, playground, beach or the waters adjacent thereto, in such a manner that the genitals, vulva, pubis, pubic symphysis, pubic hair, buttock, natal cleft, perineum, anus, anal region, or pubic hair region of any such person, or any portion of the breast at or below the upper edge of the areola thereof of any such female person, is exposed to public view or is not covered by an opaque covering," the code reads.

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