(As posted to my Gazette blog)

There is some concern among true nudists/naturists about the reporting of the Brian Dickson case in Toronto. Dickson, 32, was convicted this week of the murder of Qian Hui Liu, a York University student. In reporting the story, at least one writer — Christie Blatchford of the National Post — mentioned that Dickson frequented an online “nudist site” where he discussed his sexual interests. That report mentioned the “nudist site” again in the same context, and the editor who handled the piece highlighted a quote at the top of the page attributing it to “Brian Dickson, on nudist site.”

Wrote one nudist/naturist to me in an email:

Just thought you would like to hear a bit of the feelings within (our organization) of the publicity around this verdict. As we have discussed before, the slimy side have hijacked the whole concept and vocabulary of nudism and naturism as we understand it to serve as a cover for their unsavoury activities and there is little we can do about it.

Another person wrote this:

It is a shame that an otherwise excellent article was spoiled (for me) by the gratuitous reference to a “nudist [web] site” in a manner that plays on and perpetuates societal prejudices against the nudist lifestyle. Of course, this is the very excerpt that the editors have chosen to extract and feature prominently at the top of the page.

Indeed. The writer and editor of the article would have been more accurate if they had written it was “a dating site.” Because that’s what it was, even if it uses the word “nudist” in its title. But I can understand how that title would mislead those who may know little about true nudism/naturism, which has nothing to do with courtship and all the hanky panky that goes with it.

In fact, most real nudism/naturism organizations have strict rules barring sexual hanky panky on their sites and at their events. Nudist organizations are NOT swingers’ groups.

I refer you to Wikipedia for its article on nudism/naturism, which has a quote by the International Naturist Federation defining naturism as: “a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through personal and social nudity, and characterised by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment.”

And these thoughts from Walt Whitman in A Sun-bathed Nakedness:

Never before did I get so close to Nature; never before did she come so close to me . . . Nature was naked, and I was also . . . Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! – ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability, that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent.

Nudism/naturism is about celebrating our natural-born state when possible and removing the body image hangups of the textile world.

Simple as that.

– Jillian