Venice Beach council wants topless sunbathing for women

The Venice Neighborhood Council said this week that it "supports women being afforded the same rights as men to sunbathe topless." The council vote was 12-2.

The notion would have to receive the approval from the City of Los Angeles, which prohibits nude or topless sunbathing. But Melissa Diner, the Venice council community officer who sponsored the resolution, said the panel would draft letters to city leaders, including Councilman Mike Bonin, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which has jurisdiction over the beach.

"I think this is a serious equality issue, and I'm not going to shy away from it," Diner, 32, told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday. The wave of publicity that instantly followed the decision had done exactly what she'd hoped: "start a conversation about not only wanting to show our nipples on Venice Beach but about what else people want to see."

We’re not quite sure what that means, but let’s move on.

"Venice Beach was founded and designed around the European culture of Venice, Italy," the neighborhood council said, "and … topless [sun]bathing is commonplace throughout Europe, much of the rest of the world and many places within the U.S."

The Times article goes into the history of toplessness in Venice.

“Venice's earlier flirtation with laissez-faire sunbathing ended soon after the non-nudist public took notice. News crews swarmed. Helicopters hovered. Lifeguards found themselves rescuing people with nothing material to grasp. Lascivious men in leisure suits showed up carrying cameras with telephoto lenses