Thursday, June 24, 2021

Naturism and the Gay Body

Article By Timothy Sargent - Guest Writer

Introduction Paragraph by John Konapelsky - BuffBuzz Editor

As an organization, GNI is always keeping an eye on its social media accounts and recognizes the contributions of individuals and organizations who/that promote naturism. While looking through our Twitter feed recently (@gaynaturists), we ran across a blog that we thought you, our readers, would like as it embraces the spirit of naturism that GNI works hard to foster. This blog has been republished in its entirety with the permission of author Timothy Sargent. You can find more about his blog via Twitter @AlmostWildBlog or at his blog site at

Naturism and the Gay Body

I am writing this piece—which I’ve been pondering and rethinking and stressing over for months now—in honor of Pride Month, in honor of being open and transparent about the stories that make us who we are, in hopes that it might resonate with others to help them feel emboldened to do the same. In the piece below, there are discussions of naturism, self-acceptance, coming out, sexuality, and how all of those facets intersect. I feel vulnerable publishing it, but I’m pushing through. Happy Pride, everyone.

I am a 32 year-old gay man who grew up in a conservative, evangelical home on the outskirts of a small farming town. To say I’ve had issues with my body image is an understatement (my youth pastor wouldn’t even let boys and girls swim in the pool at the same time!) and all the evidence suggests that my experience is not an isolated one, but it’s also one that I have not had a great deal of opportunity or willingness to be open about with others. It always feels like a secret—a secret that I needed to keep because who else would understand? Who else would understand what havoc an evangelical upbringing can wreak on a young person grappling with thoughts and feelings that everyone around them was decrying as sinful, disgusting, ungodly, sickening, perverse, deviant… Who else would understand what that journey to self-acceptance and self-love looked like?

Several months ago, I reached out to Gay Naturists International (GNI), hoping to contextualize the path I had taken to where I am now. I consider myself a longtime naturist (or nudist, if you prefer): Discovering and practicing naturism has been an important part of my journey to feeling comfortable in this skin of mine, so I assumed this would be a perfect place to discuss how those identities intersect. In retrospect, I realize that what I was hoping to find was validation of my experience, to be reassured that my journey coming to terms with my body as a gay man was a universal one. When I sat down to speak with Nicholas Roessler, the young, ambitious, and well-spoken president of Gay Naturists International, I did not find quite what I was looking for. I think I found something better.

I wanted my story to be part of a bigger, shared experience. I wanted to hear that lots of other gay men come to GNI having travelled the same path. What I came out of my conversation with Nicholas realizing was that our paths as gay men and as naturists are disparate and nuanced and diverse, but that an experience does not have to be universal for it to be meaningful or valid or even relatable, that we gain more from learning about each other’s diverse experiences than we could ever gain from all sharing the same perspective. Even among a group as niche as the gay naturist community, no two stories are the same… which leads me to what I have felt both nervous and compelled to share for some time now: My story.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

GNI Has an Online Shop?? Get Your Merch Before NakedFest!

 By Johnny Konapelsky - GNI BuffBuzz Editor

    GNI has a little secret that we're about to let everyone know about. GNI has an online shop! Who knew, right?? Well, now you all know. Have you ever gone to a Gathering/NakedFest event and wished you had some GNI merchandise to show your support? Or maybe you have a friend or loved one and felt that an item with a GNI logo would be a great gift? Well, now you can visit the online shop and purchase item(s) from a wide assortment. 

    One of the great things about the GNI shop is that there are so many items to choose from and they are set up in three different categories. "Stuff to Wear" (ironical for us nudists) is for those unfortunate occasions when you have to outside someplace wearing clothes. If you have to wear something, why not put on a shirt that has the GNI logo on it. It's a great conversation starter because people may ask, "What is GNI??" You have a wide variety of different styles of shirts to choose from in this section including a hoodie for the fall/winter or if you happen to live in a constantly colder part of the globe. The one must-have item for all us nudists in this area is a hat. And you have different types/colors to choose from here too. 

    In the "Stuff for Home" section, you have quite a selection as well. There are a few more hats here along with a couple of mugs which is a must-have for those of you who aren't really awake until your first cup of coffee every morning. And another neat item listed here is a GNI sticker that you can put anywhere you want. 

    The final category is "Stuff to Give Away." This section has the largest assortment of items to buy for yourself or as a gift or simply to give away to anyone who is interested in GNI. You will find shot glasses and drinking glasses; for those of you on a health kick, there is an insulated water bottle; and for anyone who likes to make sure they can have a sip of something with a "kick," you will even find a flask. Other items of interest here include car or fridge magnets, stickers of various shapes, sizes, and quantities, GNI logo buttons, and even a shirt for your dog to wear to help show your love for GNI. 

    When you buy anything at the online shop, not only are you getting a great item for yourself or a great gift for a friend/loved one, but you're also helping GNI. A portion of each purchase goes to GNI so that they can keep being the amazing naturist organization you know so well and love so much. Well, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the GNI Online shop and get some stuff today! 

Missed the First NakedFest Mingle? Read On For More Opportunities.

 By Jon P. - GNI Board Member

    A couple of weeks ago some 60 men gathered online from the GoNaked online magazine community along with members of GNI to talk about GNI's August NakedFest. GNI Board members Brian B. and Jon P. fielded a variety of questions ranging from cabin accommodations to entertainment to meals. Several regular Gathering/NakedFest attendees also showed up to help welcome the men and answer questions.

    More on what was discussed in a moment. First, the GNI Marketing Committee is happy to announce a couple of upcoming Mingles from some of our GNI men. One is devoted to questions around health protections and the second to new NakedFest attendees. Be on the lookout for those event announcements next month in July. In the meantime, you can bookmark your calendars for July 8th and July 22nd. 

    Privacy regulations necessitate members to be more proactive about receiving email notifications for the Mingles. If you missed this first NakedFest Mingle, you can head over to the Mingle page and signup to receive the Zoom link for the next one. Also, feel free to go to your GNI member profile and register to be included in all future Mingle notices.

    One of the hardest things to do is to try to explain how our GNI events can be so life-changing, what with all the new friends one can make during the wide variety of daily activities. Our GoNaked brothers, led by Editor-In-Chief Nick Vanello, got a good idea of how special the Dance Club is, and what sort of nightly entertainment to expect, and what types of sports take place. Big on the men's minds during the Mingle were questions concerning housing and cabins, how quiet/noisy they might be, and how to get them all decorated. It's always fun to explain how one can "dress up" for Social Hour and still be "naked." 

    It's never too late to join GNI. Tell your friends to go and check out our newly redesigned GNI website. Registration is also still open for NakedFest 2021 in the Poconos. If you haven't registered yet, what are you waiting for?! Sign up for an experience you'll remember forever!