gender identity in naturism – are we ready?


Gender identity is a trending issue in the news. Statehouses are busy drafting laws to forcing people with non binary gender identities to use  public bathrooms, designated by their gender assigned at birth. Are those in the nudist and naturist communities keeping up with the changing social fabric? Do naturist and nudist organizations have policies and strategies to respond to these changes? What do each naturist and nudists think?

Gender identity emerges

Last summer while at a naturist venue I had my first direct experience with gender fluidity in naturism A person who I saw before  but only had limited contact with walked past the hot tub where I was sitting. I was there with three or four other people. Nothing unusual as clothing optional experiences go. However this person who was male in terms of genitals was wearing make up and jewelry usually worn by those who typically identity as women. Simply put, to external eyes he looked like a cross dresser. The conversation in the hot tub was revealing.

“If his wife is ok with it who am I to be bothered?” “I don’t think I have ever seen him dressed like that before” “I have a real problem with it, (glance toward me not sure why) I think it sends the wrong message to people who are checking this out.” “I think its fine, I remember when you couldn’t marry who you wanted (another glance toward me suspect because of my dark complexion) so if he is comfortable…”

Throughout the brief episode, which ended as the person said goodbye to a few people promising that he/she would see them later for dinner, I kept my thoughts to myself and did not stare. Still, my mind was racing with questions. I previously understood the meaning and intention behind the word queer in broader society as to related to sexual orientation. This gave me pause to ask myself if I needed to learn more. I personally know and interact with gay people who describe themselves as nudists. However, the issue of gender identity had never been the subject or discussion or thinking in the naturist/clothes free context. So I tatted to seek out people who identified as gender fluid to get better educated. This got me thinking. Are other naturists or nudists encountering this kind of situation? What do they think? Is the naturist/nudist community ready for this?

Current state

To be honest there are still some nudist/naturist clubs and venues that discourage or outright prohibit gay men and lesbian women. They do so by defining a couple or family very narrowly.  It remains to be seen how this will evolve, as same-sex marriage is now the law.  Pride month recently ended and at least one North American naturist organization participated in a pride parade.

People (65 total) who responded to this twitter poll seem to approve.

Though not everyone agreed

Then this news burst onto the net

Read  the original post https://thenaturistpage.wordpress.com/2017/07/08/aanr_int-gives-intersex-individual-the-cold-shoulder-the-naturist-page/

So what is actually happening? Are we ready to include everyone? Does race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, or gender identity influence acceptance? Or are we confused by the complexity of emerging social identities and their non binary nature. Is the issue solved simply by taking off your clothes?

The challenge

A significant challenge for current established nudist and naturist groups is their understanding of gender identity. I have come to understand gender identity as separate from sexual orientation or physical genitalia. It is important for all of us to deepen our understanding of the meaning behind the letters in LGBTQI spectrum. I suspect while some naturist/nudist groups and individuals have begun to accept non heterosexual normative participation in naturism with regards to the first three letters in the LGBTQI spectrum. Those letters for the most part deal with sexual orientation. Many, if not most have yet to consider the last three letters that deal more with gender identity. Social identity is a a complex thing. It requires all of us to rethink our assumptions about ourselves and others. We would do well to listen to the voices of those who embrace differing perspectives and social identities than our own.

To that end, we have an up coming interview with a non binary person. It will share the perspective of a person who identifies as both a naturist and non binary gender fluid.

So what do you think? Are we, are you ready for a gender fluid, non binary naturist/nudist community?

About the author: Verified member Moderator Earl D

Founder, editor in chief, news curator clothesfreelife.com.


8 Comments
  1. Yannick T 7 months ago

    Thank you for this. As a transwoman I often an fearful of going to a nude beach baring all as to what society will say but I am happy with myself as a transnudist

  2. natfabart avatar
    natfabart 8 months ago

    As a same-gender loving man I must say that naturism should not be defined by sexual orientation or the color of your skin. Whatever happened to “live and let live” and acceptance?

  3. Richard Romig avatar
    Rick 1 year ago

    It’s been my observation that ideas about gender and sexual identity have been changing over the past few years and I think that our concept of the exclusive binary gender identities is headed for the dustbin. Very few things in our world are strictly binary. Rather than being either black or white, they are somewhere in the spectrum. People have a tendency to want to categorize every thing into as few narrowly defined categories as they can and are frustrated when someone or something comes along that doesn’t quite fit into their narrow viewpoint.

    Why shouldn’t nudism embrace gender fluidity and non-binary identities? I’m more concerned about a person’s character than what labels they wear either by choice or assigned by others.

    • Earl D avatar Author
      EarlD 1 year ago

      Thanks for the comment Rick. What do you think that looks like in practice?

  4. Jessica 1 year ago

    Naturism Should be included as a right in the LGBTQI Space. LGBTQIN! – We have been hiding for far too long. FActs- 1)We have had gender neutral restrooms forever. 2) We are all about acceptance.

    • Earl D avatar Author
      EarlD 1 year ago

      Thanks for sharing your thought Jessica any further ideas about how to move forward.

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