Letter to the Editor - April 2001

Twin Lake for Psoriasis

I am a senior citizen who will be age 70 next year with severe psoriasis. Uncared for, severe psoriasis can result in death. Caring for my psoriasis involves about 25 hours a week, just to keep it down.

Last summer, I learned how brutally callous governments can be in lack of concern for those of us with disabilities.

An important part of my battle to keep my body from becoming a mass of bleeding flesh has been the clothing-optional beach at Twin Lake in Wirth Park (owned by the City of Minneapolis and supervised by the Minneapolis Park Board) in Golden Valley. This beach has been traditionally de facto clothing-optional since the 1800s. Being only 15 minutes from my residence, Twin Lake has enabled me, as a psoriatic, to keep psoriasis from overwhelming me, by simply subjecting myself to whole-body solar radiation.

My access to the needed sunlight was abruptly halted last summer when the Golden Valley Police raided the beach, issuing tickets to those subjecting themselves to whole-body solar radiation. I was not there at the time, but as one who respects the law, I wore my bathing suit there the rest of the summer.

Right now, my body is pretty much clear of psoriasis except where my bathing suit blocked the solar radiation. There, I have re-developed the sores, many of which bleed, and which include lesions on my genitals.

I visited law enforcement officers in Golden Valley, who suggested with a smile I will need to keep my bathing suit on. I phoned a high official in law enforcement who slammed the receiver down on me. I talked privately to several members of the Golden Valley city council, some of which seemed sympathetic and suggested several avenues I might pursue to achieve my goal of access to the sun.

Right now, there are plans to build a road to the beach, but no plans to keep it clothing-optional. I would solicit the support of all those reading this to allow legal clothing-optional access to those who, like me, find that whole-body solar radiation therapy makes a positive difference in the state of their health.

Readers of this letter can help by telling the following persons and organizations you support making Twin Lake whole-body solar radiation access legal for health purposes: the Minneapolis Park Board at 612-370-4800 and  the Golden Valley City Council at 763-593-8006.

I would note that Twin Lake has been, to my knowledge, the only facility in the Twin Cities, public or private, that facilitated exposure to whole-body solar radiation.

Personally, it has been very important to me. Tanning beds (which I use at this time of the year) are much less effective than natural solar radiation in controlling psoriasis. Drugs are expensive and dangerous (I already must spend $4,000 a year on drugs which neither Medicare nor my supplementary $3000-a -year insurance covers).

I would much appreciate the support of all officials in all levels of government, clergy, law-enforcement officers, and the residents of Golden Valley for my position.

Bruce F. Watson