Nudism/Naturism: Calgary debacle a setback for true naturist groups

What were they thinking?

A group calling itself Calgary Nude Recreation forms in November 2017, rents a public pool facilty and posts a Meet-up notice inviting the general public to attend a nudist event there on Jan. 14. Everyone was welcome, they said, especially parents and their kids because the group is family oriented. Tickets were $20, and the event was to be held at the Southland Leisure Centre.

If you are a naturist who belongs to a traditional naturism organization, you probably would have been cringing had you seen that post. No traditional naturism organization would publicize their events in such a way and invite people to attend without some sort of screening process in advance. And they would never, ever broadcast to the general public where a particular swim is being held.

But Calgary Nude Recreation doesn’t appear to be a traditional naturism organization. They seem to have been thinking outside the traditional box, “pushing the envelope,” as the head of one respected naturism organization told me. Calgary Nude Recreation, perhaps naively, seemed to want to reach a broad audience very quickly to establish itself.

They may or may not have been expecting some media attention — and I suspect they were expecting it — but they probably weren’t expecting a public outcry and, worse, a petition calling for the cancellation of the event. And even more worse, threats of violence.

The problem for April Parker, who started the petition against the event on Change.org, was the fact children were being invited to attend. She didn’t have a problem with adults being there. She even wrote that it might be fun. But she was opposed to children attending because such a public event could attract pedophiles and voyeurs. And almost 23,000 people agreed with her and signed the petition.

The city cancelled the event not because it agreed with April, but because authorities had security concerns amid the threats being made against the swim’s organizers. But April and her petition signers see this as a victory. And no doubt, we haven’t heard the last of them thanks to all the media attention this situation has garnered.

Indeed, the media have already turned to traditional naturism organizations for comments about the Calgary story, and have also asked some pointed questions about the presence of children at naturism events in general. They’re hearing that these traditional organizations are self-regulating: they vet and screen new members, and their events are private. Children are invited to attend with parents or guardians, and everybody looks out for the kids. Any impropriety would be dealt with swiftly.

At least, that’s how it works in theory, and it works very well in the organization in which I am a member.

But as the media begins to dig deeper into all of this, they will soon see that there is no government oversight of naturism organizations. There are no government officials at any level looking in. Anybody can start a naturism group, rent facilities and invite people to attend. You don’t even need a licence.

Of course, you could say the same about a lot of social organizations in which no government inspectors are looking in. But those groups don’t have naked children running around with naked adults.

All of a sudden, thanks to the Calgary uproar, the innocence of good, trustworthy naturism organizations is being questioned by the media. And you can expect to see more in-depth, investigative reports asking about the possible negative effects of social nudism on young children.

Government will probably be asked to regulate naturism organizations and provide oversight.

And don’t be surprised if young children are barred from attending social nudism events, no matter who is running them.

— Jillian

Photo: A public naturism facility in France.

10 thoughts on “Nudism/Naturism: Calgary debacle a setback for true naturist groups

  1. It’s all very unfortunate and the last thing anyone needs is for more government oversight or regulation. The AANR recognized and affiliated clubs and organizations we are aware of do a quite credible job of policing their members and visitors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That was the biggest mistake to make for a Naturist Group. I organize similar events here in Halifax Nova Scotia but do not advertise it publicly. Our group is private and two administrators and myself have a screening process before people can join. I sincerely hope this does not spill over to other naturist organizations across Canada. We have an uphill battle enough as it is convincing non-naturists that groups like ours have nothing to do with sex. Thanks for posting this. Fabien

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree, this is such a tremendous set-back for naturist organizations. The last thing we need is for any government organization being involved on how to do things. On the other hand we have such a variety of occupations involved in naturism, maybe we wouldn’t have to look too far to have someone in the field governing us. It is sad this has brought us to the forefront of a media issue. Media doesn’t care who they hurt, as long as they have a big story: dragging this on by making it a ordeal outside of Calgary. Extremely unfortunate for established naturist organizations

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  4. At least they achieved one goal: they sold out the event. They brought like-minded people to become aware of each other and make the public recognize that they exist. It’s only too sad that officials caved to the threats of domestic terrorists who threatened the cars in the parking lot. And with that, did the opposition do enough to make it known that there were other events taking place at the facility? How many vehicles might have been damaged belonging to folks who had nothing to do with the nude swim? The vehement outcry against this put innocent people at risk when they rallied the torch and pitchfork wielding mob.

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  5. I have recently relocated to Calgary from Edmonton and I addended the first Calgary Nude Recreation clothing optional swim in November of last year. It was open to all who wished to attend (including children)and the attendees were required to provide a government issued photo ID upon arrival. There were about 30 people in attendance; all male; no children or females. Everyone had a great time at the event. I was really looking forward to the January swim.

    It concerns me that Naked Jeff is being attacked for the approach that he used when he tried to organize the January swim. I used to be an FCN member for many years, and I opted for an AANR membership so that I could receive discounts when attending resorts in the US. I am married but I am treated as an “individual male” when I attempt to join a a nudist resort in Alberta. Gender balance “aka gender descrimination” is practiced at both of the landed resorts here in Alberta. Both AANR and the FCN permit, and basically support this behaviour, because the resorts are an ongoing source of revenue.

    I feel that AANR and the FCN do very little to promote the nudist lifestyle to the general public. They appear to be way too comfortable with the current situation where they receive a steady stream of revenue from the resorts and their associated members. Aside from a few “pity party planning sessions” on how to increase membership the management of these organizations are leading them to a certain and quiet death.

    If the organizations were proactive they would publically promote the lifestyle and provide some much needed education. They would also host events to attract new members rather than just wait for someone else to act on their own.

    If April Parker was truly concerned about the welfare of the children she could have easily expressed her concerns to the organizer of the event, to the city facility manager, and to the mayor. She could have also contacted the FCN and AANR to get their feedback. If she really wanted to, she could have arranged to have a select group, including herself of course, to monitor the event. Since it was clothing optional she had the option of wearing a swimsuit. Instead she decided to use the media as a weapon!

    I will continue to support Naked Jeff and the Calgary Nude Recreation group efforts. As for AANR and the FCN, I will have to think about that some more.

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    1. I was writing my post, below, while this one was being posted, and I didn’t see it before posting my own.

      It sounds like the organizer, Jeff, may be well intentioned, but he really hasn’t considered a lot of issues and concerns, many which extend far beyond the activity he attempted to host. (He probably realizes this, now.) He needs to learn more before he tries to do anything further like this.

      I’m not surprised the first event, in November, was only attended by males. But, the way the organizer tried to open it up to a more diverse crowd, was really very poorly thought out. He needs to learn from clubs with more experience before he tries this, if ever, again.

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  6. I’d say the Calgary group was lucky their ill-conceived event was canceled. The way they advertised this, and just sold tickets to whoever without any sort of screening, they likely would have ended up with a bunch of guys there only wanting to gawk, and with a very wrong idea about naturism. I wonder if they tried to have any balance between male, female, and families? It might have been very unpleasant for any true naturists attending, and, frankly, may very well have re-enforced the concerns expressed in the petition, if pseudo-naturists were there making people uncomfortable. It doesn’t sound like much had been done to ensure this was a family-friendly, (or safe,) event.

    This Calgary group sounds like they may not be very experienced naturists, at all. They sure sound clueless about issues around hosting such events.

    There have been other recent anti-nudity stories getting attention in the news, which aren’t really related to naturist activities, but which demonstrate paranoia existing in society. A few months ago, there was something about complaints by people, (not sure it was more than one,) who was uncomfortable about nudity in a Montreal health club’s locker rooms. Another similar story, in the past week or so, somewhere else.

    Now, this asinine situation in Calgary, and it’s not helpful for true naturists.

    While I agree with the FCN’s opposition to the petition in Calgary, I think FCN should also distance themselves from the group sponsoring the event, and acknowledge that this group had not been planning a well thought out event. To say the least.

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