All that is very different now, thanks to the Internet. Even so, for a long time the main communication facility on the 'net for people interested in clothes-freedom was the rec.nude Usenet newsgroup. But in the last two or three years, due to the explosion of the Web and the development of many new 'net facilities usually based on the Web, there are a large number of alternatives.
This is a great thing, because active naturists and nudists are still a relatively small minority in the U. S., so the chances that you will be acquainted with one of them in your area and (more importantly) be aware of their interest are still slim. Now, however, it's no problem at all to find hundreds of clothes-free people to communicate with on the 'net. This is still short of being able to meet them in person and join then for clothes-free activities, but it's a big improvement.
All the information about naturism and nudism now available on the Web is a fine thing. But when you have personal questions you want answered or you need detailed information about specific naturist activities and locations, there's nothing like being able to ask a real live person. It's also a means of "consciousness raising" in the naturist outlook on life. Or, even if you don't have an immediate question or need your consciousness raised, it's just pleasant and fun to "hang out" with others that you know share a special interest of yours.
This kind of naturist networking is also important for the advancement and increased social acceptance of clothes-free lifestyle and attitudes. Because people of this persuasion are still a relatively small minority, they need the opportunity to interact with each other in order to keep up their morale when problems arise. In short, people with clothes-free attitudes need a support group tailored to their interest.
We present here a short guide to the main resources which presently exist with which to conduct such networking. Some of these are available right here at this Web site.
For a long time we've had an extensive list of links to most of the important naturist pages on the Web. Many of these are associated with individual naturists/nudists and naturist/nudist clubs. Most of these list at least one email address of the page owner or site's Webmaster. You can look for these and send a message when the page/site seems to be owned by someone whose outlook seems similar to yours or who seems likely to be able to answer some question you have. However, this can be a rather slow process.
One relatively recent development may speed things up. That is, many sites now have "guest books", i. e. special pages where you can enter comments about the site or ask a question. People who put guest books on their sites are usually especially eager to receive feedback, and probably have a more than average interest in striking up a conversation. Better yet, it's usually possible to read the messages that other visitors have left. Since there's ususally an email address, and sometimes a personal Web page, associated with such messages, you get access to many more people you might want to network with. If you're just looking for a simpatico penpal, this is a great way to go.
To make things even easier, I've put together a special page with links to naturist guest books. Have a look at the list, and then have a good time exploring.
But writing to people you find this way can still be a hit-or-miss business, since you have little to go on regarding the other person's attitudes, interests, and personality, at least unless they also have a Web page. It's a lot easier to "break the ice" if you have a chance to observe other people actually conversing in order to form some idea of where they're coming from. Mailing lists are great for this sort of thing. When you join a list, you get the opportunity to follow a lot of interesting conversations (and a lot of dull ones too), as well as to get a feel for the personal styles of other people.
I've operated such a mailing list for a small number of people interested in naturism for about a year and a half. It now seems like a good time to open it up to everyone who reads this newsletter and might be interested in a forum to discuss the sort of topics we deal with here. So if you might be interested in this kind of mailing list, take a look at the page about The Nakedness, Nudity, and Naturism List, and follow the instructions there if you'd like to join.
There are a number of other networking tools. The two main types we haven't discussed yet are "forums" (also known as "message boards") and chat systems. There isn't space here to describe the details of how these things work, and chances are pretty good that you already know anyway. Suffice it to say that forums are like mailing lists in that the messages are available to all forum members, usually for an extended period of time, and that the conversation proceeds as each participant writes replies to existing messages at his leisure. In a chat system, on the other hand, the conversation is strictly "real-time". Only those who are online at a particular time can participate, and the resulting conversations are usually much more informal.
With so many choices, if you have not already done so, perhaps now would be a good time to come out of the closet and start networking with other naturists.
On June 13, Ms. Logan stood at the podium and spoke of her own "journey on a road less traveled", acknowledging the challenge and inspiration she had gained at the school. Then she removed her graduation robe and continued to speak, naked, before the small audience of about 200 students, family, and school staff.
The 18-year-old graduate continued: "Without expectations, feeling the limitless directions, to open myself completely, to express myself fully as a confident individual -- for it is only then, when I am open and free, that truth and wisdom will reveal themselves."
Her decision to make this traditional rite of passage in the nude was, she says, not a momentary impulse but was instead conceived several months previously when she began thinking about the significance of the event.
School administrators, however, could find nothing but an occasion to make themselves look silly when they called Ms. Logan's speech "inappropriate" and "not reflective of our student body", while threatening darkly to "take steps to deal with this".
Video clips of the ceremony showed school officials considerably less than pleased, though most students were smiling. Even Logan's mother expressed support. Kate Logan herself regrets nothing. "When I was up there it felt natural. It didn't feel like I was doing anything crazy. It felt like the right thing to do," she said.
The incident has received fairly wide coverage in print and broadcast media. You can find the AP version of the story here or here. (Hint: there's a place on the latter page to enter reader feedback.)
The State Parks and Recreation Director said the decision was made because "public sentiment on the issue was deeply divided". More specifically, there were fears of "security problems" and the encouragement of voyeurism. This is in spite of earlier statements from spokespersons that that the proposal was "a legitimate request and should be treated as seriously as requests from paragliders and rock climbers," who have also asked for their own areas.
The cited reasons are disingenuous, however, in view of the many cases where nude beach users and government officials have figured out how to solve such problems in numerous other places, such as Wisconsin's Mazo Beach (see our last issue) and beaches in British Columbia, Oregon, and California. As usual, the reasons all tend to blame the victim, rather than those actually guilty of disruptive behavior.
The real reason for the decision is probably pressure from right-wing politicians trying to impose their moralistic ideas on everyone. The Parks Director noted that his office had received messages from more than a dozen lawmakers -- mostly majority Republicans who indignantly opposed the idea. The Republican Senate Majority Leader, in particular, threatened that "Any change in current policy (banning nudity) would reflect a serious lack of judgment on the part of the commission, constitute a breach of faith with the public, and require corrective action by the Legislature."
An AP story on the decision can be found here - and a place is provided for reader comments. (Hint, hint.)
On May 24, a protest was held at Playalinda. It was intended as a nude protest, but due to heavy police intimidation, turned out to be a mostlyclothed event. Stringent restrictions in the permit for the protest severly limited the ability to gather petition signatures. More details are here, or on the home page of the Central Florida Naturists.
"Coincidentally", on the very same day, there were reports of ticketing by NPS rangers of nude beach users at Apollo Beach, in the northern part of Canaveral National Seashore, where nude usage is also traditional - and still completely legal (being in a different county). It appears that this was the result of actions by one overzealous ranger. Superintendent Robert Newkirk of the Canaveral National Seashore personally stated in a letter to the AANR that the incident was essentially a mistake due to a single ranger. (More details here.)
The underlying problem (an anti-nudity ordinance in Brevard County, and failure of the NPS to designate CO areas at Playalinda) remains. The Central Florida Naturists are planning a larger, better-organized "Rally for Resolution" on July 3.
Crested Butte is a year-round resort community, and on June 8 hosted a conference for Colorado county officials. According to an article in the Denver Post, one right-wing county commissioner named Betty Beedy from the conservative Colorado Springs area, disgusted at the very idea of people skiing naked, vociferously announced a personal boycott of the conference solely on the grounds that she didn't want "to support a community that supports indecency."
Conference organizers and Crested Butte officials reacted philosophically to the announcement they would not have the pleasure of Beedy's attendance. One noted that theirs was the kind of community in which how people choose to ski is considered none of the government's business.
Among Beedy's other causes has been opposition to naming a section of highway in honor of Martin Luther King, on account of moral objections. Perhaps other communities should look into hosting nude events in order that people like Beedy would boycott their towns as well.
Well, we're sorry if you miss it this time. But there's always next year. And Nude Recreation Week is coming July 6-12. Try a clothes-free hike then on your own favorite trail.
There is an AP article at CNN on "Nude Hiking Day", but it tends to put a wet blanket over the idea by suggesting that not many hikers actually participate and that there is a possiblity of fines for "indecent exposure".
In a City Council meeting on June 9, nudity was again on the agenda. Certain city officials, in particular City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque, who seems to have a bee in her bonnet on this issue, want to change the anti-nudity ordinance to make public nudity "only" an infraction instead of a misdemeanor - but thereby eliminating the possiblility of jury trial. The change is also supported by Mayor Shirley Dean and City Manager James Keene.
No final decision was reached, as the matter was tabled until July 7, at the earliest. However, a number of citizens testified in favor of nudity. And the audience was on their side - the warmest applause of the evening went to 8-year-old Horizon Kent, a member of X-plicit Players and the son of a couple who is leading the fight against the ordinance. "I think the anti-nudity ordinance should be dropped," he told the council.
Check here for a news story on the meeting, and here for a statement from Marty Kent (Horizon's father) on efforts to demonstrate public support to the City Council.
The local police recently decided to drop charges against her under Canada's laws against public nudity, because the province's Attorney General, who must approve prosecution, has refused to give his approval. However, she still faces trial in Maple Ridge on December 7 under a local bylaw passed specifically to target her. Similar bylaws in Ontario have been invalidated due to judicial rulings in that province. The hope is for the same outcome in B.C.
The women's topfreedom issue is not the same as the issue of public nudity in general, because of its gender-specific discriminatory nature. However, there are a number emotional and philosophical aspects in common between topfreedom and public nudity - and relaxation of social and legal attitudes against both have tended to go together.
See our section of topfreedom links for more background information.
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