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Asking ─ what if?

One thing that has been learned from the clothing optional access petition initiative effort is that the naturist/nudist community at present is splintered and there are almost as many competing and conflicting ideas about how to best advance naturism and nudism as there are individual members who identify with the lifestyle. There is no consensus on how to proceed toward the goals of gaining wider acceptance of the wholesomeness of the naked human body and mainstream tolerance of the clothes free lifestyle.

A question that leads to new possibilities.
by Larry Darter

It can't really be disputed that nudity has to become more normalized in the minds of the general public before nudism ceases to be viewed as some eccentric, anti-social and deviant subculture that threatens to morally corrupt society if left unchecked. How to accomplish that however is the subject of much debate.

There are plenty of naysayers willing to stand on the sidelines and criticize the ideas of others. Yet when it comes to offering viable alternatives in terms of an actionable strategy, they seem to always be found lacking. That is one thing that needs to change.

[JUST 6 Days remain to sign the petition: Clothing Optional Access]

Many of those who have tried without much success to get the nudist and naturist community to engage and get involved in a grassroots movement have concluded that organizing the naturist and nudist community is sort of like trying to herd cats. It just isn't easy to do. Those who accept that rather negative assessment may as well also accept that nudism will remain a minority subculture of misfits disdained by the majority of society.

One might argue that it isn't a matter of the community being systemically resistant to organization and action, but more the lack of a proper organizational framework to accomplish it. Is it time for a new organization with fresh views and new ideas, an organization unfettered by peripheral concerns and responsibilities that detract from the priorities of working towards advancing the cause? What if there was an organization that would;

  • Bring the naturist and nudist community together instead of diving it along narrow interests, both at the individual and group levels,
  • Ask its members what they wanted rather than just giving them what it thought they needed,
  • Serve as a single point of contact, a place where information is gathered and disseminated both inside and outside the community to educate,
  • Focus solely on activism, advocating the nudist and naturist philosophy and promoting and protecting the lifestyle,
  • Empower and energize individuals to make a difference in their own communities,
  • Actively uphold and represent the clear, historical standards and values that have defined wholesome, non-sexual nudity from the start.

The vision here is a national coalition of local, regional organizations where regional members could effectively work for change right at home where they are most familiar with the conditions, laws and issues of concern to the nudist and naturist community. One possible regional breakdown might look like this;

  • Pacific West Region: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington
  • Mountain West Region: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming
  • Midwest Region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin
  • South Central Region: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas
  • Northeast Region: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont
  • South Atlantic Region: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia

What would it take to build an organization like that from the ground up? Perhaps a general interest convention would be the place to start. A national convention held after a reasonable period of time devoted to advertising the meeting to ensure that the maximum number of interested nudists and naturists were made aware of the intent to establish an organization built on input and consensus and that would give adequate time and opportunity for them to plan to attend the convention if they so desired. At such a convention, delegates for each region might be elected from among a pool of vetted and qualified volunteer candidates. Workshops might be facilitated to gather input from the attendees about things like;

  • What values or standards the organization should adopt and uphold as a condition for membership,
  • What services and benefits the organization should provide to members,
  • What specific areas the organization should be focused on and involved in to advance naturism and nudism.

An organization based on such a template would operate with a coordinated but decentralized approach. The national level would focus on lobbying for social change at the national level, working with federal elected government officials and the national heads of agencies that manage federally-owned public lands.

The regional chapters would work to establish and build rapport within their own communities and would focus activist efforts on influencing regional and local government officials and building relationships with the local federal land managers in their own areas.

Regional chapters might also seek to influence local and state laws criminalizing simple nudity by identifying and supporting open-minded candidates for local and state political offices willing to be responsive to naturist issues or even by producing and supporting political candidates from within the ranks of their own organizations.

What if nudists and naturists had an organization like that?

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