May 2015 Nudescene

In my opinion, there are two entwined concerns that face AANR and AANR-NW today.  These are advocating for nudism and declining membership.

Advocating for nudism takes many forms.

The most obvious is watching for harmful legislation and working with legislatures to prevent unintended consequences that are harmful to nudists.  For example, an unintended consequence is one where a law is written to regulate the sales of alcohol at strip clubs, but is worded such that nudist resorts can’t get a liquor license to sell or serve alcohol.

However changing public opinion is another way to advocate for nudism.  Changing public opinion can happen in many ways.  But it starts with letting everyone know who we are and what we do as nudists.

We change public opinion in many ways:

  • Booths at public fairs where people can see real nudists, who are not too different than they are. As one example, last year over Memorial Day Weekend at Northwest Folk Life, we talked to approximately 2000 people.  They asked real questions about why we were nudists.  We will be there again this year.
  • Press releases about fun events in the nudist community. This year we will be ‘Skinny Dipping Again’.  There will be press releases.  Many of our clubs also send out press releases and have made friends with the press.
  • Nudist participation in community events. This can be done in many ways.  A few years ago, Shirley Gauthier was instrumental in putting together an entry for the Springfield, Oregon, entry for hosting the premier of The Simpson’s Movie.    Every year, Kaniksu puts on a neighborhood barbeque for their neighborhood.
  • Road Clean Ups. Many of our clubs participate in road cleanups and then have their names posted along those roads.
  • Wearing your nudist T-Shirts out in public and being willing to answer questions about nudism. This is something that individuals can do.  It is remarkably effective.  People will read the shirt, laugh and then ask questions.  If you have flyers to give them about clubs or activities in the area, it is even better.
  • Telling your family and friends that you are a nudist. Just being willing to tell your family and friends that you are a nudist helps change public opinion.  They know who you are and therefore have to let go of stereotypes.

That brings us to the second concern – declining membership.  Changing public opinion is about publicizing who we are.  And if we let people know we are there, some will want to join in the fun.

But we have to make sure it is fun.  This means we have to respect one another, understanding that different people like to do different activities.  Excluding people because they are not like us puts a very negative feeling to the gathering.  We need people of all ages, from all walks of life, all races and all sexual orientations.  Being nude is about being accepted.  How can we feel accepted if we aren’t accepting?

So, why do we need to grow membership?  We need to grow membership so that we have the people and resources to continue to advocate for nudism.  And we need to advocate for nudism to protect our membership.


Posted by karenlahey

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