Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Armchair Commentary

The story of Elizabeth Book is a long one that started 10 years ago, when she decided to flash her breasts at a bar:
It wasn't until I got a copy of the arrest affidavit and realized I was being charged with exposure of sexual organs that I literally became outraged. It's the same state statute they levy against sex offenders, pedophiles and the men being arrested in the bathhouses.
Because of that charge, I lost hugely. I was denied the right to be a part of my daughter's academic life.

Since then, she's become one of the most active top-free supporters in the US.
"I will not be a quiet voice in this revolution. Sitting down and quietly protesting has been shown to be totally ineffective. My personal belief is that the louder the voice, the greater chance we have of being heard."
She mentions why she believes that this is the only method that works:
My friends with the "Top-Free 10" [10 women who filed a federal lawsuit] spent 10 years quietly picketing outside of courthouses and making public statements to decriminalize breasts. But nothing in that time occurred.
Top-freedom is a battle which we can easily win, because it's an equal-rights issue. Several places in the US already defend top-freedom, even though it's rarely practiced. Legally, a woman should have the same right to go topless as a man, despite what the media shows and what some people think.
They've spit in my face. I had one man scream in my face they should put me in prison and throw away the key. Once, someone put sugar in the engine of my car.
So why are we not a top-free society? What are we lacking that would make a huge difference in getting our rights? The answer is obvious when we look at TERA's news archives:
Elizabeth Book ... is planning a major protest against laws banning women's exposed breasts. Tentative date: March 7, 2004. Place: Daytona Beach, Florida. Wanted: lots of women.

Although TERA is not involved in this, it will try to keep readers informed.

On March 7, 2004, Book was the only topfree protester, demonstrating in part against the inequality of women's and men's breasts, also against Daytona Beach's anti-nudity ordinance.

2005 March 14. Liz book's topfree protest yesterday in Daytona Beach had some success. She was not arrested. But five other women were, because they were topfree outside Liz's "tent." ... Those convicted are the well-known activists Kayla Sosnow, Norma Mitchell, and Shirley Mason. The two let go are almost unknown.

"Thank you for your support and interest in this cause. I know that we are legion in number. We just have to gather our troops and make our voices heard loudly enough for Washington to hear them."

Congratulations to the most prominent topfree activist in the USA! [Although TERA still doesn't officially support her, and she's not even mentioned in wikipedia (especially here).]

2007 August 21. Another victory for Liz Book! ... Liz Book and Linda Meyer ... are the most valiant and successful topfree activists in North America, and probably the world! [I was unable to find a news story detailing how many people were in the protest, which probably means not many.]

To recap, Elizabeth Book has been protesting for years with hardly any support. (Similarly, Steven Gough has been protesting for years and has also had practically no support of any kind.) Therefore, I believe that we are severely lacking proactive support!

  • TERA should be supporting Elizabeth Books, and encouraging people to attend.
  • US nudist/topfree organizations should be supporting Elizabeth Books, and encouraging people to attend.
  • Local nudist places (plenty in Florida) should each organize for a group to attend.
  • Anyone in support of top-freedom SHOULD BE THERE.
We are good at reactive support, such as saving a beach from going textile and hanging on to what we currently have. However, there seems to be almost no proactive support.
  • We need to take Book's International Top-Free Stand seriously, and ATTEND.
  • We need to have a booth at Comfest in Columbus to support and raise awareness of top-freedom.
  • We need to attend, participate in, or have booths at top-free events such as Comfest, the Oregon Country Fair, Burning Man, Fantasy Fest, etc.
  • We need to friendly up to the lawmakers in Brattleboro, and figure out a nudity-positive legal framework for the town.
  • AANR or a similar organizations need to comment to the media a lot more -- to correct bad images projected by the media and to put activists such as Gough in their place. Something like "Steven Gough is a bit out-there, but he raises important issues about body acceptance... [insert nudist propoganda here]" The media loves stories regarding nudity, so they'd push almost anything the large organizations say. We can use this to our advantage, instead of letting the media stomp all over nudism.
  • Nudists who support Steven Gough should go support Steven Gough -- and the same can be said with Elizabeth Books and anybody else.
  • We need to use the WWNCW, because it's the BEST support and collaborative network that exists for nudists. All of the above ideas and projects can easily be supported via the WWNCW, but we can't do much unless we get our act together.
Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words. Stand up for what you believe in! Your armchair commentary is enlightening, but getting out and doing something is far more helpful. You can indulge in your nudist lifestyle this summer, but please invest in the future of nudism as well. (That's part of the problem -- we'd all prefer to indulge, sunning ourselves and being nude, instead of clothed and pushing for change.)

Stop saying "we should..." and start doing. Any sentence that starts with "We should" can be a project started in the WWNCW. Any sentence with "Should we?" can be a poll in the WWNCW to see what others think. Hey, it's at least a start, and it's a lot better than just saying we "should" because that word hasn't gotten us anywhere. We should do a lot of things, but then we don't, and that's a problem. A while back, I thought that I should start a collaboration platform to help out ... and then I did.

Why don't I write here very often? It's because I'm too busy investing in the future! I'm a man of action, because I know that change isn't going to happen all by itself no matter how much we say it should.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Australia Story (p3) - Staying Safe

I'm standing on the third and final beach of my Maggie nude beach tour. Each beach has been more disappointing than the previous one, and I was at the point of giving up. My goal was to be nude outside, safely. Of the three beaches that were known to be clothing optional, I didn't feel safe at any of them.

So what should I do for the rest of the day? I didn't pack a swim costume since I wasn't planning to swim in those waters, ever. I'm wearing my hiking stuff -- boots, jeans, t-shirt, baseball cap, and medium-sized backpack of necessities. (I had to bike and hike for a while to get there, and that's what I dressed for.) I didn't want to bum around the beach, even though I had several hours to kill before heading back.

In the middle of my disappointment and observance of how out-of-place I appeared among the tourists, I noticed a guy climbing towards the beach. Good idea -- I enjoy climbing around! I knew there was a peninsula of land that stuck out separating Balding Bay and Radical Bay. I asked the guy if he could see the other Bay, and he said "sure, it goes all the way to it." I'm up for an adventure, so I decided to give it a try.

I spent about 20 minutes navigating over or around the rocks to get to the end of the peninsula. It's not an easy task, which is why nobody else decided to follow me. The tip of the peninsula ended up being a large flat rock that carved into the hillside. In front of me was nothing but ocean and a few more rocks. I could see Radical Bay from one side of my spot (pictured), and then I had to walk over about 20 feet to see Balding Bay -- both looked about the same, perfect tropical white sandy beaches. I watched the sparse population at Radical Bay, and noticed that nobody was on the rocks. Thoughts of nudity struck me instantly.

I walked to the other side of the area, and observed the same thing -- nobody was braving the rocks. This gave me at least 20 minutes of total seclusion, assuming no boaters were out (and I haven't seen any yet on that side of the island). Out came the towel, off came the boots, and off came the clothes. This is my moment of bliss, and I'm taking it!

I did everything right to get completely hooked on nudism. I was at the most beautiful place in the world, in nearly total seclusion. I was sweaty from the hike, and the cool ocean breeze felt wonderful. It was a perfect 79 degree, bright and sunny day. There is no way I could describe how the sun and breeze felt on my freshly naked skin that day. Remember that this is the first time I've been clothes-free in the great outdoors.

There is only one thing I would want to change about the experience -- who I was with. In the company of my loved one, I would've stayed there forever.

However, my watch was telling me that time was up. My white skin was also telling me that it had enough of the mean Australian sun. On went the clothes, and I took a peek around both corners. Nobody was on the rocks... I probably could've spent all afternoon and evening there if I wanted to.

When I got back, the naked couple were still around. (No active cameras this time.) I decided to ask them a few questions. First, we discussed beaches. They didn't know about the other two, but were interested in checking them out. They asked why I didn't go nude too -- and I said I just was, and pointed to my newly found spot telling them how it was. My main question was what they thought about being the only nude people on a beach full of tourists. Don't they feel a bit out-of-place, or that they are risking a ticket? They laughed and said "we're vacation-makers!" They heard it was a nude beach, so they got nude despite everyone else. This was their first day in the area and they seemed to enjoy it. I congratulated them for their bravery.

I guess the lesson from this trip is one of bravery. If all nudists were paranoid like me, we'd lose all of our beaches as soon as a few textilers walk in. And what did they have to lose? People didn't complain, and generally stayed away. Even if the authorities were called, it would take a long time for them to show up and they probably wouldn't do much anyway. If I had the bravery I have today, I would've stripped off and chatted with them for a lot longer. I encourage all of you to possess that same sort of bravery! But... don't take it beyond the realm of safety, because it may end up being negative publicity for all of us.

Thinking back (later that night), Rocky Bay was the best of the three beaches for a couple of reasons. First is that it had a sign -- which clearly warns everyone about what they may see. Second is that it is out of tourist interest. It's a tough (but short) trail from the quieter part of the island. Third is that people use it for what it's known for, so it's unlikely that you'll see textilers there. Last is that there are no bugs because it's always windy. (Most Mag. Island beaches didn't have bugs, namely tree ants, but most other Queensland beaches do.)

The next morning, the plan was to head back to Rocky Bay! However, it ended up being the first Rainy/Misty day of the whole 5 month trip. Poor me -- no more nude sunbathing for a while. I took an early ferry and rode the bike back to the dorms. I enjoyed the cool mist during the ride, but would've enjoyed running around naked at the beach a lot more.

Next up is my Spring Break trip -- where I visit a small "legal" beach, visit the area's most popular beach, and meet lots of interesting people. (It has 4 parts all by itself!)