Current language: English

Topless bathing: House rules of municipal swimming pools adapted

Baden im Prinzenbad

It wasn't forbidden anyway - but now, topless bathing in Berlin's swimming pools shouldn't be a problem for women or for men.

In an internal instruction, it was clarified that "topless swimming" is allowed for all persons equally, a spokeswoman of the municipal pool operator Berliner Bäderbetriebe (BBB) announced on Thursday. The company will apply their house and bathing rules in a "gender-appropriate" way in the future, the Senate Department for Justice, Diversity and Anti-Discrimination previously announced. According to the Senate Department, this clarification of the house rules is a response to a successful complaint to the ombudsman's office responsible for compliance with the anti-discrimination law of the State of Berlin (LADG).

No basis for financial compensation

The case had made headlines across Germany: Because of her naked upper body, a woman was expelled from a water park in the Berlin district of Treptow-Köpenick in the summer of 2021. According to the ombudsman's office, this constituted an act of discrimination. However, a lawsuit against the State of Berlin for financial compensation remained unsuccessful. In September 2022, the Berlin Regional Court saw no basis for such compensation under the Anti-Discrimination Act (Case No. 26 O 80/22).

No gender-specific swimwear regulations

On the recommendation of the ombudsman's office, the water park has supplemented its terms of use. According to the latter, visitors' swimwear must completely cover the primary sexual organs for all genders. Female breasts are considered secondary sexual organs. Now, the Bäderbetriebe also clarified their swimwear rules. It is true that the house and bathing rules have not included any gender-specific regulations regarding bathing attire for years, a spokedwoman said: "However, this has been interpreted and handled differently by our guests and depending on the pool."

"Equal rights for all Berliners"

The ombudsman's office welcomes the clarification, its director Doris Liebscher stated. The decision creates "equal rights for all Berliners, whether male, female or non-binary". In addition, it creates legal certainty for the staff at the pools operated by the Bäderbetriebe. "Now it's a matter of ensuring that the regulation is applied consistently and that no more expulsions or house bans are issued," Liebscher emphasized.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 10 March 2023
Last updated: 10 March 2023

More News