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The Uniqueness of Queer Nudism

Nathaniel Mae

I looked over the beach filled with a rainbow of bodies in all shapes and shades of human & Queer. The sun had set. The lights were glowing, Everyone was glowing. I was glowing. Hugs and greetings of elation were shared by all. There was an abundance of joy in the space and not a stitch of clothing. The energy was palpable. The vibe was euphoric. This was Queer Nudism at its peak. I was surrounded by people of all walks of life all sharing an abundance of happiness. The only commonality between us all was our Queerness and openness, our vulnerability & nudity. There was magic on that beach. That was a year ago.

I've always hated pants, They’re the first thing off and the last thing on.I first experienced shameless public nudity at Black’s Beach in California when I was just a teen. Since that moment Queer Nudism has become a passion in life. It was the antithesis to my extremely religious upbringing and yet, I felt more authenticity and love with Queers than I ever felt at some fancy holy temple. Being surrounded by loving Queers is a spiritual experience for me. I'm not religious -not at all- but I believe in the energy that we create. I believe together we're powerful.

I am a Queer. For some that word is a slur, for me it is my proud identity. It is both my gender and sexuality, I'm attracted to all people and identify as agender. Queer is how we refer to our community, all of us, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Asexual, Pansexual, Polyamourous, Demi, and all the other unique identities that may us different, because it's exactly what we are, we are not like the majority, we’re not heteronormative, we're different - in romance, in sex, in gender, in presentation. Queer isn't a new word, but it's always been a word of rebellion, pride, and curiosity, a uniting banner for all who are different. There’s power in that shared difference, that shared experience. So let’s speak to that.

I believe in the power of that energy in any group of people. And, above all, I believe that when Queers gather, all of whom have experienced otherness - many who experience compounded otherness in their race, ethnicity, poverty, or disability, and still others sculpting their gender identity - I believe when we gather it's a healing experience. We are a crucible of resilience, and when that pot is stirred, that resilience is combined, something unique happens. I believe that when Queers gather with good intentions in their heart, the vibe is incredible. The energy we all exude and create together is infectious and exhilarating. Together we build a temple of our own Queerness.

When we strip down all the layers and pretense and gather in the nude, in that vulnerability and paradoxical trust of the community, allowing our bodies to be seen, in all their imperfection and power, the scars, the insecurities, the stories our tattoos tell, our energy - shared, uninhibited, our vibe on display - that's when the real magic is created in our space. Not by one, but by our collective hope and joy and resilience.

Throughout human history we, humans have sought to define ourselves, as a species, as tribes, as nationalities, and the myriad other identities that define and divide us. And yet, paradoxically, we also seek out like-minded folks of similar experience or mindset. The uniqueness of the Queer experience is that we all, no matter our origins, share the inner turmoil of understanding who we are, the struggle to fit into a society that expressly ostracizes us, the triumph of living defiantly, and the ever present desire to find love, acceptance, and joy. That shared experience spans cultures, borders, generations, and language. Shared experience is truly one of the most powerful of unifiers.

When we gather as Queers it is a respite from a world trying to erase us. We live in a world so afraid of individuality that they force assimilation and uniformity. That conformity works for some. But for many of us, especially Queers who do not pass within the binary roles we're given, especially for the creative Queers who dream of new ways to be and experience life, assimilation is not possible. We cannot fit in a world that rejects our existence. So we gather together, among our own, not in an effort to escape the world but in a quest to create a world of our own making.

When we gather as Queers it is a rebellion in a world that would have us simply fade from existence. We're forbidden yet persist. Our love is outlawed yet it flourishes. We're told our being is "too much," "unnatural," "a sin." Rather than acquiesce to living in oblivion we create our own community. We gather in bars, book clubs, yoga studies, parks, beaches, and in living rooms around the world. We gather in camaraderie. We gather as chosen family. We gather in raucous spite, because no human, not one, can live alone. And when who you are is an act of defiance, every gathering with those you love is an act of protest.

When we walk alone out in the world, attempting to be seen as part of a world that would rather we not exist, we are not our whole selves. A femme man in the world is seen as cis when he doesn’t present his truth. When a trans person is naked in public their gender is questioned for no other reason than ignorance. The truth is that we all want to be seen, seen for who we are, beyond appearance, beyond assumptions, seen for our truth.

When we gather as Queers, we see each other for our truth. When we shed the layers & labels the world has forced us to wear, when we gather in vulnerability and resistance we reject the role the world tries to force us into. We become equals in our nudity. We become a community of resilient survivors celebrating our love, our existence, our bodies, our uniqueness, our nerve, and above all we revel in the energy of shared joy, joy found through resilience, resistance, and gathering together.

Seeing people like us, seeing our fellow Queers, in their most vulnerable state, exuding nothing but triumph and freedom in a world that would have them disappear, that is the rebellion of Queer Nudism. We persist in joy, we persist in pride of the bodies that we have sculpted out of a lifetime of resistance, we seek the light of the sun that gives us life, and we celebrate every waking moment together. But it's not just about seeing each other for our truest selves, it's about feeling the energy of affirmation & empowerment that is created when we come together. It is a tangible force, we may not be able to measure it, but it is the energy that animates our community. For Queers who have lived through so much strife, the bliss, energy, and power of our community of nudists is what unites us, it's what brings us strength.

For Queers, social nudity, even love, even sex, is rebellion. It's not a rebellion of our own making, it’s been forced upon us.. It's not just that we shed our clothes, it's that we strip down together, openly, without judgment, without fear. We have earned this time together. We have built ourselves and our community, we have fortified our safe spaces, and we are each others’ safe space. The joy and energy of that special space is the rhapsody of Queerness, the elation of triumph, the euphoria of our uniqueness. The room fills with the power of a community that still finds joy in the differences that unite us, the love that brings us together.

When we gather as Queers, stripped down to our most basic essence, the nude Queer, we are humanity.

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