Thursday, September 24, 2009

Victims of Discrimination – Naturists

R.U Nude
24th September 2009
A common thread among naturists is the question "What have we got to hide?" Many reply that their jobs, families, friends don't know about their naturist lifestyle, and they live in fear of being 'exposed'. It is ironic that we are not afraid to let ourselves be seen naked, but we have to be careful who we allow to see us naked. It has been the trend in naturist circles to always use only first names to maintain the anonymity among naturists. This practice, however, also maintains the veil of secrecy surrounding what naturists do and who they are, and probably goes some way to perpetuate the public's misconceptions about naturism.

So what do we have to hide? Many of us believe that we stand to be sacked from our jobs if our lifestyle preference became public knowledge. This is not really a realistic option given anti-discrimination laws, yet not all naturists would have the capacity financially to fight against such discrimination should it happen. We have seen it before in several instances where professional people have posed nude and been fired. A recent article in the UK Times gives us in Australia some hope. The Government Equalities Office, headed by Harriet Harman, is planning a review into discrimination laws following claims that “Naturists encounter prejudice in employment”. The Equalities Office is urging "the government and other authorities to make “affirmative statements” in favour of naturism and combat the financial penalties endured by those who pursue clothes-free leisure pursuits."

This positive news from the UK prompted me to recently write my own submission to our Federal Government's Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, seeking his support. Naturists in Australia also suffer discrimination (or at least fear of retribution) from employers, colleagues, friends and family, as well as the press and general public in many forms. The movement in Australia has been going for close to a century, and has a rich history which genuinely deserves cultural status. Since migration brought naturism into Australia following both World Wars, we have seen an increase in the number of naturists across the country.

Unfortunately naturism seems to be currently in decline, as those naturists get older and we struggle to find and encourage younger generations to join us. This is largely because naturism has changed little in all that time, and has not kept up with the times. Naturists have been happy to keep to themselves and remain behind closed doors for their own protection. Hence, younger generations don't really have a good understanding about what naturists do, nor do they feel inclined to mix with older generations. The stigma associated with being a naturist is enough to put the younger individual off, since Generation Y is all about being accepted and finding a place. They are unlikely to choose a lifestyle in which they will undoubtedly suffer prejudice and isolation.

The type of discrimination we suffer today has been likened to that suffered by gay people prior to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK in 1967. Naturists in Australia need to stand up and demand recognition, and I urge all of you to also write to Peter Garrett HERE and voice your opinion on the matter. Numbers speak louder than words, and currently nobody in Australia seems to know accurately how many naturists we have. Let's let them know how many there are.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

we have also had problems finding places we can go as a family as most places are couples only so how can the younger generation become nudists if they are not allowed to go we are teaching them that its not ok to be nude.