NEW YORK — A Brooklyn City Councilman has announced a plan for sex-segregated beach days this summer.
Billed as "Southern Brooklyn Beach Day," the event will have one day for men and boys in June with another day for women and girls in July.
On a hot summer day, there's nothing like going to one of the many Brooklyn beaches.
But for many Jewish and Muslim New Yorkers, public beaches are not an option because of modesty laws of their religions.
So City Council Member Chaim Deutsch is renting a small beach on Kingsborough Community College campus for two days this summer. Only men and boys will be able to use the beach on June 29th, while women and girls will have their own day July 27th.
He says it's a way to allow his religious constituents to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf they might not be able to on a normal public beach.
Councilman Deutsch adds that the separate beach days are really about inclusion. -
“Nobody should be disenfranchised because of their religious observance," Deutsch said. "Offering these individuals the chance to have the same experience as everyone else is simply us practicing what we preach – equity and acceptance.”
At nearby Manhattan Beach, beach goers seemed to support the idea.
"I use mixed beaches, so that's fine for me, but I understand for other people it could be a more sensitive issue," beachgoer Paulina Belkina said.
Although some worry about the impact if other families want to get in on the fun of a private party on a publicly owned beach.
While it is illegal to discriminate against someone based on their gender in public accommodations in New York City, exceptions can be made based on "bona fide considerations of public policy" including religious observances and cultural traditions.
"Even if some people are against it, I think we can probably tolerate for the sake of others for whom it will open up the beach."
The councilman has already obtained permits for the two beach days. However, here at Kingsborough they say the are doing their due diligence to make sure they are not violating anyone's rights before the events.