All swimmers at public pools in Berlin will soon be allowed to swim topless, city officials announced on Thursday, according to the BBC.
The new ruling comes after a woman took legal action in response to being thrown out of an open-air pool for sunbathing topless. The woman, whose identity has not been revealed, had turned to the senate’s ombudsperson’s office for equal treatment to demand that women, like men, should be permitted to go topless should they choose.
As per the outlet, Berlin authorities agreed they had been victims of discrimination and said that all visitors to Berlin’s pools are now entitled to go topless. In reaction to the complaint and the ombudsman’s involvement in the case, Berliner Baederbetriebe, which runs the city’s public pools, changed its clothing rules too accordingly.
“The ombudsperson’s office very much welcomes the decision of the Baederbetriebe, because it establishes equal rights for all Berliners, whether male, female or non-binary, and because it also creates legal certainty for the staff at the Baederbetriebe,” said Doris Liebscher, the head of the ombudsperson’s office, as per The Independent.
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“Now it is important that the regulation is applied consistently and that no more expulsions or house bans are issued,” Ms Liebscher added.
It is not clear when the new bathing rules would be applied. But the decision is expected to be welcomed by Germany’s freikorperkultur, or “free body culture”.
Germany famously has a relaxed attitude to nudity for all genders. However, the issue of whether, and to what degree, that is permissible at municipal swimming pools has plagued many a local authority.
Last year, several cities reportedly introduced topless swimming in public pools, including Siegen in North Rhine-Westphalia and Gottingen in Lower Saxony. But the same year, the Lower Saxony state capital of Hanover changed its bathing regulations, dictating that only “primary sex organs” have to be covered “in the wet area” of municipal baths.
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