Pride Over Prejudice

Honor and Honesty Through Openness

By Pam Brown

Are you sick and tired of your friends and relatives giving you a hard time over being a Naturist? Perhaps you are still a "closet nudist" to avoid the ridicule. John Q. Public thinks that we are aliens from another planet or something. It seems to me that the image of us that society has is from the old Playboy Magazine cartoons of nudist colonies. We live with an antiquated stigma created by people who have never understood us.

In fact, in real life, nudists are nothing like the stereotype. I've been going to Elysium for 28 years, and in reality, the Naturist lifestyle is quite a wholesome thing. Nudity is not translated into anything sexual, only something natural. Nudists are no more perverts than anyone else in society at large. In Europe, nude sunbathing and swimming are widely accepted as perfectly normal. However, in the United States in the year 2000, outdated Puritanical attitudes are still pervasive.

John Irving said, "If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it." I have endured all of the jokes and astonished looks from people when I share my interest in Naturism with them. But, thankfully, I have found the courage to live the life I love. I am openly proud to be a Naturist. I am not ashamed. What happened to America's quest to be a champion of individual rights and freedom of expression? If this great country would only practice what it preaches, it would be a better place for all of us. Are we Naturists -- happy little tribes of harmless good hearted souls -- hurting anyone in our pursuit of sunshine and brotherhood? I think not. But we are still constantly being laid low by old prejudices.

I am proud that I have found the courage to live the life I love. I praise all of you, even the closet Naturists, for having the courage to live this wonderful life, even if it is still undercover. Whether incognito or not, I hope that we will continue to have the courage to live this wonderful lifestyle. I live in the hopes that one day we will prevail over old stereotypes and that the America of the future will hold steadfast to its quest for ensuring our basic freedoms in our pursuit of happiness.

Copyright © 2000 Pamela B. Brown, All Rights Reserved

This article originally appeared in the Elysium Institute's on-line magazine, "Journal of the Senses", Volume 2, Number 5 (September, 2000). It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.

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