Advocating for Nude Beaches

Advocating for Nude Beaches

I wrote an article in The Bulletin a while back on nude beaches – more accurately a discussion on advocacy. Since this issue of The Bulletin is dedicated to nude beaches, I want to restate my feelings on what the Government Affairs Team (GAT) means by nude beaches. It is the advocacy for nude-use of public lands. When GAT talks about beaches, GAT means all public access locations. Beaches are shorthand for lakes, rivers, mountains, hiking trails, and hot springs – anywhere someone goes out and wants to experience nature.

Slow but steady progress is how GAT likes to look at some of the projects that have been taken on over the years. AANR-West made a multi-year and multi-administration effort for returning a nude beach to Santa Barbara County in California. It took many people doing things to keep nude recreation, and its positive attributes, in the minds of the community and to keep members working to achieve that goal. 

 

The conversation must reflect on why advocacy is so important for achieving long-term success at getting nude recreation accepted by the wider public. Vice President Patty Faber made the observation, “People today want immediate results; we want what we want, and we want it now. Some of the projects and programs are for the long haul. It takes time to network and meet everyone that can help to get things done. Sometimes, it is one step forward and two steps back; other times people move ahead rapidly. Even if AANR loses some of the battles, GAT continues to fight to win the freedoms they sought for in the end. There will always be people who will try to stifle and shut nudists down. If AANR members want to continue to enjoy nude recreation, members need to be able to speak up and stand up for themselves publicly. People do not have to be a bully and shout at other people. Anything worth enjoying is worth fighting for.”

In addition, GAT takes the message out of the clubs and off the beaches to create an outreach effort. The involvement in various trade shows is not necessarily about bringing people into the organization. It is about educating the public that AANR is just like them; AANR members just like to be nude. 

 

It is not a closed or guarded community effort; it is an outreach effort that members can all be part of. For years, GAT had a booth at the Quartzsite RV Travel Show in Arizona. Patty Faber and the crew from Shangri La Ranch, Dave and Helen Landman from De Anza Springs Resort, and Bev Price from Arizona Wildflowers have all staffed that booth along with area volunteers. Anyone will tell you that people come by because they are curious about nude recreation. The average age of the Quartzsite show is not the ideal demographic. At the California Parks show, GAT gets a younger crowd of recreation professionals. At Earth Day and travel shows around the country, the audience runs from retirees to young people just starting out. 

Advocacy takes many forms for AANR, and GAT appreciates everyone who works on the team and cherishes their contributions to nude recreation.