We are who we are – guest essay bill bowser

Editor’s note: From time to time we have stated we at CFL are open to sharing on this site, the views and perspectives of those who do not necessarily agree with our editorial view. This is one such instance. The views presented here DO NOT reflect the views of clothesfreelife.com. They are presented in an effort to encourage conversation about the naturist/nudist cause and the path forward for the same. As you read this piece we hope you will receive it in that light. The author made an earnest effort to share his perspective and voice with us and we hope you will add your voice to the conversation  in the comment section – EarlD: editor in chief clothesfreelife.com

For some time I have advocated on various internet nudist forums that we nudists be more activist in our approach to ending discrimination against our lifestyle and gaining the freedoms we desire. I have chastised the vast majority of us who are too timid to reveal their participation in nude recreation, and I have urged everyone to emerge from their closets, get off their towel-covered sofas, and help carry the banner for social nudism. I’ve said we must stop acting like our lifestyle is something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. I’ve also suggested the we examine the strategies used during the social movements of the latter part of the twentieth century which achieved great success in gaining civil rights, gay rights, and women’s liberation. (I never gave any thought to exactly who should spring into action as a result of my suggestions and I guess no one did. It is always much easier to propose solutions to problems than it is to implement them, but that’s a topic for another discussion.)

Many issues confronted by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) community during their efforts to gain public acceptance are similar to those faced by nudists, so it seemed to me that we could learn some lessons from the gay rights struggle. For example most LGBT people were even more reluctant to reveal their nature than nudists are, and in most states homosexual activity was illegal just as public nudity is today.

Then a while ago, in response to a comment on an Internet nudist forum, I decided to do a little research into exactly how the LGBT folks made so much progress toward gaining public acceptance and political power. As might be expected there is a great deal of information about the subject on the Internet, and it was very enlightening. It is a complex topic which offers many suggestions which the nudist community could use and I hope to write an article about it one day if I can figure how to post it where it might get some attention. But today there is just a small aspect of it that I want to discuss.

Probably from the day our country was founded the federal government has been slowly eroding our personal freedoms. Politicians have gotten into the business of picking winners, for whom they provide special benefits, and losers, who pay the bills and get nothing. One of the ways this is done is to give special status to selected groups of people. To date protected status has been given for race and ethnicity, disability, religious persuasion, sexual orientation and several others. One would be very naive to expect the federal government to exercise logic or fairness in selecting which groups to single out for protection because those of us who lack political power are ignored by the System, but one can still hope. I have no idea what criteria are used to decide which groups are entitled to special treatment, but if the previously mentioned groups qualify then nudists ought to qualify too. I suspect it is a case of the squeaking wheel getting the grease

Up through the early nineteenth century homosexuals were looked upon as people who did evil things. Then sometime later during that century the public perception of homosexuality in the U. S. (and perhaps elsewhere around the globe) changed from being something you do (as an activity or behavior) to something you are (as part of your nature). This was considered a watershed moment and was very important in terms of gaining public acceptance for homosexuals. Undoubtedly there was a great deal of debate on the subject, some of which continues to this day, but if gaining public acceptance depends on whether or not your behavior results from something innate, then we ought to look into it.

There is no doubt that a person’s race or ethnicity is part of their nature. Your skin color and ancestry are what they are, and they are a basic part of who you are. (Some people masquerade as people of other races or ethnicities, but they’re not my concern here.)

Many people might think that one’s religion is also part of their nature, but I would argue that it is just something one does. Religions are basically a belief system, some ceremonies or rituals, and a set of guidelines regarding how one lives his or her life and interacts with other people. All of the aspects of a person’s religion are activities or behaviors which would not exist in those people if not for their indoctrination. Your religion affects who you are, but fundamentally it is something you do and not something you are.

Now, what about nudism? Many folks would consider it only something we do, but I believe that for at least some of us there is more to it. As with homosexuality I believe one must explore why some people act differently from what is considered normal. Doesn’t it seem likely that it is a part of one’s nature to prefer to be nude while others prefer to hide parts of their bodies from public view?

The joy that most small children experience while running around naked makes it pretty obvious that the desire to wear clothes is not a basic part of human nature. Young children have to be brain washed into thinking that there is something wrong with being seen naked. (No one seems to have a compelling reason for this, but that doesn’t seem to matter.) As they grow up practically all youngsters are coerced or forced to cover up, but some retain their proclivity to be nude and subsequently may become nudists. I believe the case for nudism being a matter of what you are as opposed to what you do is at least as compelling as the case for homosexuality, and that with a well thought out plan to win public acceptance nudists could become a federally protected class, or at least have the laws prohibiting simple public nudity relaxed, but that will take a lot of hard work and the acquisition of a lot more political power, because almost no one pays any attention to us.

author
Bill Bowser

One Response

  1. Verygary November 5, 2016

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