|Photo Courtesy of History.com
In June of 1969, the Stonewall riots in New York launched a powerful worldwide movement establishing June as the official month of Pride but its significance and meaning to the LGBTQIA community has since broadened dramatically. Pride month conjures up images of go-go boys dancing in speedos as floats slowly sail past the throngs of allies and supporters lining city streets for miles on end; drag queens decked in full regalia wearing dresses, eyelashes, high heels, wigs, and feather boas dancing to the tunes of old-school disco; bare chested leather men in harnesses and bare-butt chaps marching in step with their boys, masters, pups, and daddies; and average “guys next door” types with nondescript “dad bods” living a quiet life proudly walking hand-in-hand with their husbands celebrating their marriage that was once forbidden and illegal.
Pride is a microcosm of a much larger and diverse community. But where do naturists fit in? In many festivals, nudity is frowned upon and often enforced with strict anti-nudity legislation. With the exception of a couple of annual events, naturists are not readily accepted into mainstream Pride events. Naturist materials at Pride events are often censored or stored out of public view citing “decency” clauses. The perception that nudity equates to sex is overwhelming in public opinion; naturists are called upon to educate the public - oftentimes mostly of our own community’s gay and bisexual men - in terms that we represent every aspect of society. We *are* like everyone else looking for love and companionship, but we enjoy social and recreational nude activities with other men by proudly participating in local, regional, and national nudist communities, identifying as a “home nudist,” or finding the simple satisfaction of quiet time on nude beaches alone or with friends.
Nudist Pride is about owning who we are. Nudist Pride is about celebrating our diversity as gay, bisexual, and gay-friendly men. Naturists embrace the differences of our various body types, our shapes, and our penis lengths because for naturists, those things are trivial and non-issues. We engage in a much different - dare I say deeper? - level when clothes are cast aside leaving nothing behind but heart-to-heart sharing with each other. Our hearts are touched; our lives are changed; the healing of our self esteems begin; we thrive. We may not be able to dance naked on a float during Pride month in public, but we can rest assured knowing that we belong to a dynamic, growing, visible, and exciting naked community. Celebrate. Be proud. Get naked. Live. Happy Pride!