Pictured above is my BPM (bare practitioner of the month), Kenn Campbell-Harris, author of the blog, Gay Black Nudist (click title to visit his site). I discovered his online journal early this past January and he’s a talented writer and a true nude prince! He’s an American and is currently living in Thailand with his husband. Back in January, when I posted my End of Month Reflections (click to view), Kenn gallantly volunteered to grant me this interview. That’s one of many reasons why I consider him a true nude prince!
Before reading any further, there is a little detail to bring to your attention. The pictures in this post are the property of Kenn, the Gay Black Nudist. They may not be copied or otherwise reproduced without his permission. Thanks.
During this interview process, I’ve discovered many similarities that Kenn and I share. The obvious being that we’re both confirmed naturists/nudists and we’re both same gender loving (gay) and married. If you’re reading this, I encourage you to visit and follow his blog. I believe you’ll soon discover his royal attributes just as I have. You don’t have to be African-American to appreciate his zest for life and sense of fun!
For this interview, I’ve organized this post entry into three separate categories: Nudity, Being Gay and Blogging. Now that we’ve completed the interview process, there are several additional questions I wish I’d asked. He’s a very talented and interesting man. I’ll have to remember to see if he’s willing to do a sequel to this post!
Please allow me to introduce all of you to Kenn, my bare blogging buddy and the author of the Gay Black Nudist! Hello, Kenn!
1. Growing up, what were you taught about nudity and being naked around others?
I grew up in a large family with five brothers, so catching a glimpse of my brothers nude was bound to happen. But the idea of actually wanting to be nude around others never entered my mind. The body was something to be hidden away under as many clothes as comfortable.
2. In many secondary schools, students change and afterwards shower for their physical education class. Were you comfortable doing this? Why or why not?
My schools did not have showers and we did not generally change for PE class. At most, some of the kids wore shorts under their pants and simply removed the outer layer. I do remember one occasion when we had a field trip to the local public swimming pool and there we changed. But I was more preoccupied with the fact that I was one of very few students who didn’t know how to swim. And so, I didn’t think about changing or being naked.
3. Did you ever skinny-dip (swim naked) with your friends? If so, did you enjoy the experience?
No, I never did, but I would give a lot to be able to go back and try it.
4. With all the physical changes that occur during adolescence, many teens are uncomfortable being naked among their peers. Did you ever feel any anxiety being nude with your friends?
I would never have been naked around others for all the money in the world in those days. I even refused to use the urinals in the school bathrooms for fear that someone would see my dick (penis). Or that I wouldn’t be able to prevent myself (from) looking at theirs.
5. What was your first experience with social nudity? Did you enjoy it?
I honestly don’t remember which experience was my first. I think it may have been at an all gay, clothing-optional resort in Palm Springs, California. And by that point in my life, I had become such an avid home nudist that I embraced the opportunity to expand my naked world.
6. At what age did you recognize your preference for being bare? What triggered this realization?
This happened around age 13 or 14. I used to slip out of my underwear once I was in bed (I shared a room with my brother). I mostly did this to more easily masturbate, honestly. But I so enjoyed the feeling of being naked that it became a habit and I started going nude in my bedroom when no one else was at home. As my room was the farthest from the front door, this allowed me ample time to slip into my clothes if anyone arrived.
7. Do you have any advice for any youth considering nudity?
My advice for anyone considering nudity – regardless of age – is to give it a try in the privacy of your home. If you feel comfortable and like the sensation, continue to practice nudity. If not, it’s not for you. Whether socially or in private, nudity is about being comfortable in your own skin. And once you achieve that, you will not care if others are around or not.
8. You’ve written on “Gay Black Nudist” of some of your travels throughout the world. Where is your favorite place to be nude? Why?
This is a difficult question. But I think my favorite place to be nude is somewhere I haven’t been and may never go. It is a fantasy. As a runner, I want to be able to run naked. And I would love to run along the Great Wall of China naked. As far as places I have actually experienced go, I always enjoy being nude in the woods. Nude beaches are fantastic, but the country boy inside me loves forests and hiking. In particular, I once had the opportunity to hike nude for a brief few minutes in Nepal, in the shadow of the Annapuma Himalayas. It was an experience I will never forget.
1. Growing up, what were you taught about same gender love or gay love?
“Homosexuality is a white boys disease.” I heard these exact words from the mouths of countless Black Baptist preachers. And this was the shared community viewpoint. I think those six words say so much about African-American attitudes. And nothing more was said other than that gays were destined for a particularly fiery furnace in hell.
2. Growing up, were any of your relatives gay or same gender loving?
Not a one of them. In my small South Carolina town I didn’t know anyone who was out (openly gay). There were rumors of a few very effeminate men possibly being gay. And those rumors were not at all encouraging.
3. At what age were you aware of your same gender loving attraction? How did this make you feel?
The earliest “crush” (infatuation) I can remember having was on a TV character: Michael Evans of “Good Times.” He was cute and charming and I couldn’t imagine that there would be any doubt as to someone finding him appealing. So I was not aware that this attraction was unusual. I had no way of knowing that this feeling had a special name and was outside societal norms.
4. Did you have any relatives or family friends who are/were gay? Were they avaiable to you as a resource?
Not when I was coming out. Since then I have 2 nieces and 2 nephews who are gay. I have been able to help them in their journeys, but I had to travel mine alone.
5. Many gays wait until after they leave the family home before they explore the gay social scene. Was this true for you?
My first visit to a “gay place” was the Bourbon Pub bar in New Orleans, Louisiana. This occurred a couple months after I graduated college. I had known about and walked past this place and other gay bars, bookstores and cafes many times during my four years in New Orleans and had been curious. But I did not dare enter. In my mind, even wanting to go inside was sinful. I was at that time president of my university’s Baptist Student Union. I had “found Jesus” at age 13 and as my homosexual nature became clear to me, I tried desperately to pray it away.
6. At what age did you “come out” to your family and friends? Were they supportive?
I began coming out at age 23. I had been participating in a young gay men’s support group at the Atlanta Gay Center and finally found the courage and community I needed to come out. I first came out to new friends and co-workers I had made during the six months I had been living in Atlanta, Georgia. They were mostly unsurprised and, if not supportive, at least not disapproving.
From this initial foray out of the closet, I wrote letters to my college friends – all who I knew from the Baptist Student Union – coming out to them. One of them had come out also and so this made the process a bit easier for me. Again, there wasn’t much support but neither was there condemnation.
I did not come out to my family until more than a year later once I had entered a serious relationship with a man. My coming out created some distance between me and my previously close-knit family. But they did not abandon me and I encouraged them to ask questions to try to understand. They did and over time our relations grew stronger than ever.
7. There are many contemporary Black, gay authors writing about the Black, gay experience as both fiction and nonfiction. Who are some of your favorites and why?
Honestly, I haven’t read any.
8. Any words of advice for gay youth today?
I would give the same advice to any youth regardless of their sexuality. “Say yes as often as possible.” Life is meant to be lived, so keep your mind open to it and its experiences. This doesn’t mean being foolish – though a bit of foolishness has a place too – but rather to not cut yourself off from new experiences, new people, new ideas and new possibilities.
Embrace who you are and don’t let yourself be easily diverted from your path. But you have to recognize that the universe presents more than one path and you need to be willing to explore the unexplored. Life will take you on a journey you can’t possibly imagine if you allow it to.
Society tries to put us all in boxes and tell us who we must be and what we must aspire to become. Heterosexuality is one such thing that is imposed on kids but not the only one. Break free from the boxes and expectations of others and be true to yourself.
1. Have you always been interested in writing?
I began writing at the age of 13. For a school English class project, I wrote my first fictional short story. The high grade that it received, along with my teacher’s flattering comments, led me to continue writing. Fiction soon became my escape from an unhappy period in my life. I was coming to understand the idea of homosexuality while simultaneously becoming involved in the church. The two parts of me did not sit well together causing depression and internal conflict. Through writing, I learned to construct a world I wanted to live in, one filled with peace and happiness. And the process of writing took me away from my worries.
2. Did you keep a diary/journal when growing up?
No, I did not. I was in my 30s before I started journaling.
3. Any significant encouragement or literary awards that influenced or facilitated you in writing?
My first attempt at publication was successful. A short story I had hammered out during the summer after finishing college was published by a gay literary magazine: Christopher Street. This proved to be somewhat unfortunate as it robbed me of my drive to write. I am a person who loves to challenge myself. Once I feel that I have met a challenge or learned the lesson on offer, I am ready to move on to new objectives.
4. Any authors or other bloggers that inspired you to pursue writing? If so, in what way?
My blogging hero is Jennifer Miller of Edventure Project and BootsNAll. I greatly admire not only her use of words but her lifestyle and subject matter. She writes about her life traveling full time with five children in tow.
5. What appeals to you specifically about the blogging experience? Is the Gay Black Nudist your first blogging effort?
Gay Black Nudist is my fourth blog. My first was called Espanidense which is a portmanteau of the Spanish words for Spanish and American. I started it when I moved from the USA to Spain. It was meant as an open letter to my family and friends back home recounting the changes, challenges and adventures my kids and I were having in a new land.
Espanidense morphed into an eponymous blog, KCampbell Harris, which dealt with my art. I had rediscovered painting and posts about my artistic endeavors were overtaking my original blog’s aim. I thought a self-titled blog would be better to promote my artwork.
My passion for writing has been rekindled and blogging fuels this. Additionally, I love the way blogging allows me to discover and build a community of like-minded people.
6. Any issues or concerns about publishing a blog that you would like to change or alter in any way?
Today, in order to attract readers/followers to a blog, one has to maintain robust social media profiles. This often occupies more time than blogging itself. Again, this allows for connection and relationship building. But I would prefer to spend this time managing and updating my blogs or writing for other publications.
7. Any proverbial words of wisdom that you want to share with other aspiring authors or blog journalists?
There is a vital piece of advice that most bloggers offer. I read it many times before starting out. Yet I ignored it completely. The advice is to narrow your focus as much as possible. I should have listened from the beginning, but I am learning the truth of this. My travel and food blog is far more diverse in subject matter than is Gay Black Nudist. And partly because of this, the latter great outperforms the former in terms of viewership, subscription and comments. This is despite the fact that ZestAndGusto.net being over a year old and Gay Black Nudist only having been around a couple of months. So potential bloggers, keep it simple and focused. Target a very specific audience.
Much love and many naked hugs, Kenn, for a truly candid and honest interview! You’re a terrific naked man to collaborate with and I’ve sincerely enjoyed being involved with you on this project! There are no words to express my gratitude for you exposing – yes, pun intended- yourself to everyone reading here. Congratulations on a job well done, sir!
Please remember to explore Kenn’s blog, Gay Black Nudist, (click to view) and follow him if you like what he offers. He normally posts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
I’ve created a new page here on ReNude Pride to salute all the subjects interviewed and featured on this site. The new page is entitled, Page of Fame. Check it out! I’m thrilled to have Kenn as the first honoree and for his being this site’s bare practitioner of the month!
Author’s Note: The images used in this post are the property of Kenn Campbell Harris, the Gay Black Nudist. They may not be copied or used without his permission. Thank you.