Friday, February 21, 2014

A Blueprint for Progress

We all wish society was more accepting of naturists.  We all wish there were more opportunities for nude recreation, without the occasional social and legal repercussions.  We all believe that the lifestyle is healthy and natural, and we wish others could understand that.

Every naturist seems to have their own opinion of what the problems are and what needs to be done to advance our cause.  My opinion is quite straight-forward -- do what works.  And I look to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community as a good example of what works.

LGBT vs. Nudist Statistics

There are a lot of parallels between being a nudist, and being gay.  (Or part of the LGBT group, more specifically.)  There is a period of self-discovery, followed by a duration of keeping a secret, followed by a "coming out".  Although we live in an America which is more tolerant of some things, it seems less tolerant of others.

There are some important differences too.  First is that naturism is a choice, and being gay is typically not.  Second is that discovering and "coming out" usually occur at very different ages for each group.  The LGBT group typically "come out" in their teenage years.  Naturists often discover the lifestyle and "come out" much later.  Despite the differences, I think there is still a strong comparison between the two groups.

I previously mentioned a surprising statistic, and asked the obvious question:  8.2% of Americans have engaged in some form of same-sex sexual activity, yet most Americans think 25% of the population is gay.  Per the NEF poll, 25% of Americans have gone skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing in mixed company, yet many Americans think we're a fringe group.  Why are these statistics inversed?  For the sake of this post, let's assume that these two groups have roughly the same numbers of people, somewhere between 8.2% and 25% of the population.

Last summer, a publication caught my eye:  "A Survey of LGBT Americans" from Pew Research. In the back of my mind, I contemplated what naturists would say to those same questions.  (I wish a similar poll was conducted on naturists so that we have a baseline.)

92% of LGBT adults find America more accepting of them compared to 10 years ago, and expect it to be even more so 10 years from now.  Naturists might say the opposite, or say there has been little progress.

54% of LGBT adults say that all or most of the important people in their lives know that they are LGBT.  (Only 14% haven't told anyone.)  Do you think that many naturists are open about it?  Not only that, but 70% of LGBT adults believe that the biggest help to making society more accepting is "people knowing someone who is LGBT."

The LGBT adults clearly saw Barack Obama and Ellen DeGeneres as important public figures advancing their rights.  Although I once tweeted that Obama could fit in as a nudist, we really don't have any public figures that we can proudly point to.  LGBT adults also point to the entertainment industry, with 70% thinking it's friendly.  Most mainstream TV depicting naturists isn't so friendly, especially the news media.  And what do LGBT adults think of the news media?  Most think it's friendly or neutral.

The LGBT adults are active too.  52% have attended a pride event, 40% attended a rally or march, 39% are members of an organization, and 32% have donated to the cause.  For naturists, I'm betting these numbers would all be much lower.  (For attending an organized gathering or conference, participating in a protest, being a member of TNS or AANR, and donating to support naturist rights.)

The Blueprint

In order to:
  • Move America in the right direction for accepting naturists.
  • Make society more accepting to naturists.
  • Have celebrity support.
  • Have a naturist-friendly entertainment industry (TV, movies, news).

We need to:
  • Have at least 54% of naturists "come out" to most friends and family, with  another 32% or so telling at least someone else.  This would have the biggest impact.
  • Have at least 52% of naturists attending gatherings, conferences, or other similar events.
  • Have at least 39% of naturists be members of a naturist organization.
  • Have at least 32% donate to naturist causes.

I've helped all of those metrics, and I hope all of you will do the same.


nudRus said...

"I've helped all of those metrics, and I hope all of you will do the same. "

So have I

Nate said...

Great post, although I prefer to use the word nudist. Being associated with nature could make us seem even stranger like the tree hugger type. It helps to fit in as much as possible.
I’ve read that as religion declines in America support for LGBT increases. The same is true for us.

Unknown said...

I agree. I have done my part and continue at every opportunity to do so. We must become more visible. World Naked Bjke Ride a.d similiat events are vreat for promoting our nonsexual nudist life style.

Happy Bare said...

Agree wholeheartedly. We need to talk about it more with people we know, we need to get more people to join us in being naked, we need to participate in more naked events, we need to publicise nakedness as a healthy, both physically and mentally, activity. I am doing my part in all of the above.

J. Marchant said...

Get active, get the word out: nudism/naturism is here to stay. Be polite but firm, but mostly, insist on our right to share public space with non-practitioners. Public space isn't for the majority to do whatever they want with; it is to be shared with everyone.

CC Rockhopper said...

Let me first say I have no issues with what you are saying. Nate, sad to say your religious comment is true and does not have to be. Religion and Naturist/Nudism can co-exist. For us who call ourselves believers and are naturists/nudists just believe that we are practicing is how God meant us to be in the beginning. However there is still a lot to be taught that being naked is not the same as sexuality. We as a group are not perverts or weird. Talking about it at the right times and without confrontation is the best. Yes I speak up when it is appropriate, and when I can further the cause. Now for joining groups and clubs, the problem is they cost money and most are expensive. A lot of us that would love to be part of these groups or clubs can not afford it and unlike the UK we do not have many "free" places to natural in nature. Only when legislation is changed will we start to see our numbers grow. Tough spot to be in, I'm doing the best I can.

Anonymous said...

What is your position on the show "Naked and Afraid". Although not about nudism it does show how a man and a woman can live together without clothes and it not be sexual.

I guess some would say it shows the the negative about nudity in that without clothes one doesn't have the protection that clothes can bring to harsh environments with sunburns and bug bites. But nudists always say "clothed when necessary" and of course bug spray and sun screen can take care of that which they aren't allowed on the show..

But the show also shows the fun of nudity especially swimming without clothes. And again, the most important aspect really is that man and woman can be naked together, work together naked, without sex coming into play.

Usually on the show there's a part where the man and woman first meet, sometimes they "look each other over" and that's it. The shock, what there is of it is over and they soon forget about at least the social part of being nude.

So, yeah, despite the hardships I believe it's a pretty good portrayal of social nudity. Also, there's a practical purpose of the nudity to see if people can survive in their natural state. The nudity is almost secondary to the goal of survival without much help from anything but their own skills. So it really isn't done for much shock value unlike most nudity you see on television (unfortunately you do have them blur the genitals, but that's the case even with "native documentaries" these days.

Academic Naturist said...

My position on "Naked and Afraid"? I love the show. I've seen all the episodes and the after-shows. I believe it's positive for naturism. Especially since the show's popularity is already making spin-off show ideas involving nudity. (Naked Buying, Naked Dating.) Even though it's blurred out, any show which contains non-sexualized nudity will get people thinking that it's not a big deal.

Dan said...

I recently pushed the envelope a bit in trying to demonstrate that nudists and textiles can interact together. I went to a conscious dance workshop. The facilitator and I exchanged emails a week before the event, and I told her that to achieve the kind of freedom described, I would need to do it without clothes. I have been a nude model for art classes for 30 years, I told her, and I also wanted my dance to connect with my modeling.

So, in the opening circle of the six-hour Saturday session, we brought up my desire to dance nude. None of the other nine people had a major problem with it, and the facilitator encouraged everyone to dance through any discomfort they might feel. I spent most of the free dance time naked and free. Unfortunately, no one else got naked (I was the only male for most of the session until one other guy showed up for the last hour). The only comments I heard about my nudity were positive. It really was an amazing experience to be so vulnerable, so exhilarated, so free, and so blissful.

Unknown said...

I'm reasonably academic (Retired school teacher) and love(d) being a naturist (also happy to be a nudist). Now in my early 70s the 'effort' involved in driving to the only legal beaches, in Sydney or River Island Nature Retreat (I update their website) has become almost too daunting.
I'm not expecting advice on this matter but feel like explaining.
I so enjoyed my one visit to Cap d'Agde, now quite a few years ago and also the 'legal' areas of the beaches in the Netherlands. It strikes me that we're all 'singing the same sad song!!' Nevertheless I'll keep hoping.
Again I want to explain that I not only enjoy being one with nature, when nude out there but I also like the 'leveller'-aspect. The 'humanist' - the humanity we have in common, no matter what station in life or nationality. Oh well. KEEP UP the GOOD work! Jo Mulholland