An online journal celebrating the joys of living bare with pride! This site usually publishes every Monday and Friday. I may be irreverent but I am no way irrelevant! My preferred personal pronouns are he, him, his.
This is an announcement honouring the celebration of “good news” from our government legislators!
The U. S. House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Congress, just passed the Marriage Equality Act. The U. S. Senate (the legislative upper chamber) approved the same measure several weeks earlier. It now is awaiting the signature of President Joseph Biden and then it officially becomes law. This legislation enacts the federal mandate that assures the complete recognition of all interracial marriages and all individual marriage equality unions throughout this country.
My spouse, Aaron, and I are an interracial couple. He’s African-Canadian and I’m Greek. We also are a same gender loving male couple. We were legally married in the Commonwealth of Virginia on August 15, 2015. Our marriage is now totally legal everywhere within this country!
Because of the U. S. Supreme Court’s reversal of its previous legalization of abortions this past June, this action by the Congress prevents an automatic reversal of the marriages of all same gender loving couples and of the marriages of all racially mixed marriages. Multiple Christian extremists organizations have threatened to implement judicial review of marriages, hoping for a “return” for supremacy of the conservative religious concept.
Aaron and I are dancing bare all day today!
Aaron and Roger Peterson-Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Monday, December 12, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Resolutions Solution!”
The Red Ribbon symbolizes World AIDS Day and HIV/AIDS awareness!
Proudly show that you are aware and that you care. Wear your red ribbon!
Basic Facts About HIV/AIDS:
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
AIDS is a result of being infected with HIV.
HIV is not spread through everyday, casual contact.
A physician is needed to diagnose AIDS.
“It’s not who we are, but rather what we do that determines the risk factor of HIV infection.” ~ Red Cross HIV/AIDS prevention education ~
Follow protocols for reducing HIV infections:
Do not share needles, syringes or drug use tools.
Avoid contact with body fluids.
Treat everyone with care and respect.
Since the first World AIDS Day observance on December 1, 1988. The date was first conceived in August, 1987, by James Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.
Each year, Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have released messages for both patients and health care providers on World AIDS Day. They have also publicly offered prayers for a world living with HIV.
In the USA, the White House (presidential home) began observing World AIDS Day under the administration of President Clinton and the iconic display of a 28-foot massive Red AIDS Awareness Ribbon on the North Portico of the building. It was the first banner to prominently hang from the White House since the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.
by Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai
It was in the late autumn of 1978 that I came into this world. My mom would always tell me that I was an overdue birth; as it I didn’t want to leave the womb. I see it like being cuddled up in bed. Who’d want to leave such a comfy spot? To this very day, that has still remained my all-time favourite activity.
So being born in 1978 meant that I grew up in the 80’s. Wow! What a decade! Madonna, Punk fashions, Hurricane Gilbert and skyrocketing food prices – if you’re Jamaican – and…AIDS!
Being an island didn’t mean that we were isolated from world issues, especially when your island is renowned for its culture, its beaches, its sunshine and sex. I saw all the AIDS prevention ads on TV: “AIDS kills,” “stick to one steady partner,” “use a condom,” and “you can’t tell by looking.” I grew up scared! I grew up being scared of actually growing up!
Throughout high school, we teens would laugh about stuff pertaining to sex and sexuality, there was little or no sex education in school and what we learned came from porn, the dancehall music or the local pastor. The radio broadcast the death of Freddie Mercury. I remember that so well because I was wearing a Queen t-shirt at that very moment! I heard of Arthur Ashe; in school we talked and laughed about the death of Rock Hudson – I didn’t know who he was at that time. But the dearest tragedy for me was when I learned that Olympic diver Greg Louganis was diagnosed HIV+. I was personally touched because I knew who he was. He was my hero, a gay Olympic champion! And, of course, during the 80’s and 90’s, they constantly reminded us of the growing numbers of new cases.
So as I fast forward a bit to young adult, HIV/AIDS was less and less stranger. It was now a reality. It had faces! And faces that I knew!
I made friends with people working in the local AIDS support association and the church I attended did volunteering and outreach. Being scared didn’t shield me from the harsh realities of my life. I wasn’t going to be spared. AIDS was not going to have pity. Not on this little island boy. No sir!… Familiar faces kept vanishing, boys I fell in love with kept getting sick: Julian, Everton, Fred, Frank. A church member was dying. I saw their faces. I saw their bodies lying on the hospital beds. I saw them agonizing. I saw them dying…I loved them. I loved them as hard as I could. I held them in my heart; it’s all I could have done.
There was only love, that’s what they needed, not pity or shame, but Love. I understood that. I had that gift.
Allisson was my elder. She and I were friends, we weren’t that close. She was the first child my dad got from his first relationship, so, we were as close as two half-siblings who were ten years apart could be. She had her life and her family: boyfriend, son and daughter. I checked in with her as often as I could. I still thank God for that last moment I spent with her. It was in the local store where she worked. Allisson was standing there behind the counter. She looked so thin, so pale, so not all together there. Nothing could have prepared me for that grim phone call I’d received a few years later…AIDS took my beloved sister.
To be honest I did my best to play it safe, but I also took my fair share of risks. I even slept with the enemy. Why I didn’t remember all those faces, all those bodies I saw, covered in sores, laying on those hospital beds? Why didn’t I remember the agony? I should have ran! But I didn’t…I wanted cuddles instead. It only takes one encounter. I slept with this guy twice in the Summer of 2005 I was diagnosed in the Fall of that very same year. Painful urine and a creamy white substance leaking from my penis made me go to the doctor real quick.
I was alone when I went to the doctor’s, I was alone when the doctor broke the news, I was alone when I went to the hospital to have his diagnosis confirmed. I was alone to face the stark reality that I was not going to be living a normal life. Oddly though, the news that I was HIV positive wasn’t as earth shattering. It didn’t have that devastating effect as I had imagined. I didn’t scream, or cry, or ask God why? Maybe it’s my way of dealing with trauma: in silence.
My explanation is that, growing up gay prepared me for days like these. If I could handle growing up gay in a homophobic society such as mine, anything else would be a piece of cake. I kind of figured that, somehow it’s kind of logical, sad way to think. I agree it’s a bit fatalistic: being gay isn’t a death sentence! But for me it was. So I imagine I was accepting my fate. My mom was right. A gay life is one of damnation and hellfire. And this was exactly what I deserved.
Since then, I’ve celebrated seventeen birthdays, visited six countries and changed two jobs. I have met my beautiful niece who is also living with the disease as she was contaminated at birth and I am currently in a stable long-term relationship. I am disciplined regarding my meds and my combat still rages more than ever. I can’t say that I have had to face discrimination regarding AIDS as not that many people know. I do my best to stay healthy, “Sound Mind, Sound Body.” I workout regularly and I combat negativity. I have grown to love myself, understand and own who I am and cultivate self-worth. I was young but now I am mature, I have seen my friends fallen by the wayside but I am still here. I had to learn gratitude.
Living with HIV is a daily reminder that I need to turn fear and trauma into triumph. I have had a new beginning, renewed hope. A fighting chance. I have to believe, not only in myself but in whatever higher power there may be. I need to believe that somewhere out there and also within, there is a greater power…love! Doesn’t love conquer all?
I am very appreciative of Rohan, the Nubian-Ikigai for sharing his personal testimonial with all of us here on ReNude Pride on the occasion of World AIDS Day,2022. His courage and honesty is a remarkable and significant accomplishment that indeed reflects his dedication to dispelling myths and misinformation about being same gender loving (gay) as well as about living with HIV. He is a commendable guest author and I sincerely invite him to contribute whenever possible!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for tomorrow, Friday, December 2, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Seasonal Signs!”
National Coming Out Day is a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (GLBTQ+) awareness day that is observed annually on October 11. Since the inception in 1988, it encourages all GLBTQ+ to take steps on this occasion to “come out” of the closet and not to be ashamed of who and what you are. The original concept was to make the personal acknowledgement into a political statement in support of GLBTQ+ civil rights.
The emphasis of this day is on the basic form of activism which is being openly and proudly who you are and sharing this reality with family, friends and colleagues. The goal is to live your life as a confident bisexual, gay or lesbian person without any guilt or retribution. Those of us who are bare practitioners have supplemented this qualification with being an “out” naturist/nudist.
The term “in the closet” refers to the custom or habit of life before the Stonewall Inn riots of 1969, when practically all GLBTQ+ people lived “in the closet” (secretive) lives in order to keep their jobs, the love of their family and their social place in general society.
What inspired the first observation of Coming Out Day is the fact that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of bigotry, ignorance and silence. Once people realize that they have a loved one or an acquaintance who is bisexual, gay or lesbian, they are less willing to remain with homophobic or repressive inclinations. That’s reason for encouraging people to “come out of the closet” and let the world know your true identity. There is simply “no shame” in being who we are!
The October 11, date was selected because it was the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. This was the first national gathering in support of GLBTQ+ equality observed in the USA.
The early events of Coming Out Day often coincided with celebrities and/or other persons of note openly and publicly acknowledging their GLBTQ+ identity. Later, the practice of the tabloid media disclosing a person as being bisexual, gay or lesbian – often without their permission. This publicly “outing” someone was very controversial and usually accompanied by negative attacks on the disclosing media.
The involuntary coming out process was short-lived as the rapidly expanding HIV/AIDS crisis soon replaced the newsworthiness of sexual orientation exposure. For many, an AIDS diagnosis was synonymous with the the coming out announcement.
Today, the observance is another day of proudly reminding others of both what and who we essentially are. There is no longer the absolute necessity to remain “closeted” throughout much of the world.
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Friday, October 14, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Breaking Bare-iers #3!”
In the USA, the month of October, annually, is designated gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (GLBTQ+) history month. A time to focus attention on the accomplishments, achievements and actions of members of the GLBTQ+ communities and culture that have made a constructive and positive difference not only in the USA but also in the world around us.
The concept of GLBTQ+ history month is a recent phenomenon that is both conflicting and controversial. It is opposed by many as being a recruiting tool for a lifestyle that is objectionable based on moral, philosophical and religious reasonings. Centuries of oppression and oversight have resulted in a mainstream general society that continues to ignore a specific segment of the population that it supposedly serves.
The purpose of this post entry for ReNude Pride is to introduce and examine this topic, explain the reasoning for endorsing a GLBTQ+ history month observance and offer resources and references. Hopefully, an unknown aspect of GLBTQ+ history is acquired by all reading/visiting here.
In theory, at least, GLBTQ+ history is as old as the human race and has existed in parallel to society in general. Due to religious and social prejudices, this particular community was regularly oppressed and outlawed (illegal). On a regular basis, this population was ignored and intentionally forgotten. This predicament created a serious paucity of documentation of historical accomplishments and achievements regarding this culture.
The enthusiasm and excitement following the Stonewall Inn riots (SIR) on June 28, 1969, convinced some that documentation of events needed to happen. Too often, communities were denied essential elements of their heritage because the society in which they existed made no acknowledgment of any accomplishments of note. Of the emerging gay and lesbian populations, there came individuals who were dedicated to creating archives of what was now happening. Fledgling movements towards historical accumulation began among those witnessing firsthand the growing gay and lesbian freedom and honesty.
In order to have complete equality within our broader society, appreciation and understanding of others must be created. Knowledge must be instilled so future generations can acknowledge and comprehend diversity. This creates an environment of awareness and encourages cultural acceptance and tolerance for all groups.
This is crucial because it celebrates and honours self-affirmation and self-actualization. It strengthens individualism as it increases nonconformity and uniqueness. It promotes social progress through educating people regarding negative social conditions which existed in the past but have since improved. It also directs it is currently necessary to empower equality and development. History is basically the story of the evolution and progress of a community or a culture.
The USA observance was founded in 1994, by a Missouri high-school (secondary) history teacher named Rodney Wilson. His intent was to provide role models, build community and provide a civil rights statement of the efforts and accomplishments of the GLBTQ+ community and culture. In addition, he sought to establish a space where other educators could use as a resource for instructing youth concerning GLBTQ+ culture, history and community. He realized from his own, experience the serious lack of any available information on the historical accomplishments and contributions of this segment of the population.
Along with Rodney Wilson, the first coordinating committee for the 1994 GLBTQ+ History Month observance included Kevin Jennings of the Gay, Lesbian and Student Educators Network (GLSEN), Kevin Bayer of the Gerber/Hart of the Gay and Lesbian Archives in Chicago, Illinois, Paul Varnell, a journalist with the Windy Times also in Chicago, Torey Wilson, a Chicago area teacher, Johnda Boyce, a women’s studies major at Columbus University in Ohio, and Jessea Greenman of the University of California – Berkeley.
In the USA, GLBTQ+ History Month is endorsed/supported by GLAAD (Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association (NEA), GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Student and Educators Network) and other national organizations.
A GLBTQ+ website was launched in 2006 and is maintained by Equality Forum. Equality Forum is a national GLBTQ+ civil rights organization with a strong educational focus. In addition to GLBTQ+ History Month, it also produces documentary films, sponsors high impact social initiatives and hosts an annual GLBTQ+ civil rights conference.
The website created by the Equality Forum is linked GLBTQ+ History Month. This site features 31 honoured recipients for every year since 2006. Some of the 2022 selected ones are pictured above and all 31 are listed below on the date that they are featured. The website offers a page of information for each one. The site also contains information on ideas for discussion and activities concerning GLBTQ+ culture and history and serves as an excellent resource for educators and others seeking to inform the public about the significance of the GLBTQ+ community.
2022 Featured Recipients:
Hans Christian Anderson, Danish fairy tales author
Robina Asti, transgender rights plaintiff
Richard Avedon, prominent photographer
Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel, marriage equality pioneers
Sue Bird, WNBA superstar
Victor Blackwell, CNN news anchor
Matt Bomer, actor
Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank CEO
Jennifer Finney Boylan, author and transgender activist
Kate Brown, Governor of State of Oregon
Nancy Carderas, Mexican writer and activist
Kitty Cone, disability rights activist
Robert Cutler, national security advisor
Andre` de Shields, actor and singer
Lea DeLaria, actor and comedian
Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, 19th century orator
Masha Gessen, Russian-American journalist
Ron Gold, gay pioneer
Radclyffe Hall, British author
Bell Hooks, author and feminist
Jazz Jennings, transgender youth activist
Mondaire Jones, first openly gay African-American congressman
Stephen Lachs, world’s first openly gay judge
Lawrence of Arabia, British military officer
Lance Loud, first openly gay reality TV star
James Merrill, Pulitzer Prize winner poet
Rudolf Nureyev, international ballet star
J. Paul Oetken, openly gay Federal judge
Amy Schneider, Jeopardy game show champion
Amy Walter, political analyst
Alice Wu, film director
Congratulations to all those above for their contributions to our community and culture. Keep with the good work!
Bare Practitioner Encouragement:
It is vitally important for all of us to remember that we are a part of our community and culture’s history. Without our experiences and memories, there would be very little of our shared lives to recount to others coming after us. Whenever possible, let others know of your chapters in our story! Bare practitioners matter!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Monday, October 3, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Bare Icon!”
Every year during the traditional gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (GLBTQ+) pride celebrations, this question is continually posed to members of our community and culture, mainstream society, politicians and social commentators. The responses vary as to the background, political and religious leanings and social opinions and views of the persons asked.
Unfortunately, each year the replies increase in the expression of negativity. Aside from our community and cultural populations, the consensus grows as to the useless need for any GLBTQ+ pride commemoration. Many believe that equal rights have been obtained and flourish for all of us, regardless of our identity. However, recent actions and events indicate otherwise.
It is important to note that the visibility of our display of our pride frequently varies from individual to individual. Some feel the need for a prominent unfurling of our confidence by waving a flag or painting our bodies. Others are comfortable and content with merely publicly demonstrating their affection within our community by physically touching our otherwise engaging themselves and their nudity. There exists no concrete standard to be observed by all. My spouse, Aaron, and I use whatever method we find appropriate and available for the occasion.
Immediately following the SIR (Stonewall Inn riots) in June, 1969, the emerging same gender loving communities recognized the need for celebrations in honour of all the newly “liberated” people to acquire acceptance, identification and recognition of themselves as a confident and proud culture within the mainstream population. Having survived the “closet” lifestyle for the vast majority of their secreted lives, these individuals needed to embrace themselves and build their new identity.
Pride celebrations were seen as a tool to encourage this need and in June, 1970, exactly one year after the SIR uprising, “gay liberation” events were held in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles to honour the occasion and to promote a fostering of community. These first observances attracted sizeable crowds of the growing community and their supporters – as well as protestors!
The initial events were determined to be successful and by the second anniversary of SIR, other municipalities were planning and staging their own festivals and parades to mark the occasion. Stonewall riots had most definitely captured and inspired our attention and our dreams for eventual equality!
The first “gay liberation” observances soon evolved into pride festivals in order for people to celebrate their sexual freedom and identity. These witnessed the growing confidence that we felt as a community experiencing the first steps toward self-identification. We no longer accepted the archaic and derogatory label of “homosexual.” We welcomed the terms gay, lesbian and bisexual as appropriate titles of distinction and identity as constituents of the emerging culture that now entailed all of us. The decade of the 1960’s opened the doors for change and we became inspired by a new identity and hope for an improvement in our collective future. Freedom from centuries of condemnation, isolation and oppression was finally underway!
The popularity of pride events and the audiences they attracted made us aware of the fact we now numbered more than just an isolated “few.” There were now a sizable group of us and we were no longer alone. This awareness opened our eyes to the reality that we had much more in common than just our sexual situation. Others existed with similar abilities, attributes, ideals and interests. Community-building was now another development happening!
Our discovery of pride – within ourselves, in what we are and in who we are – became a solid foundation. It enabled us to become a working movement to initiate change, enhancement and growth, not only within our own society in general but throughout the world.
Despite our many differences, we acknowledge shared goals, ideals and objectives. In order to emblaze and empower our recognition and visibility, the Rainbow flag was selected to represent us. Each colour represents a common behaviour, belief and/or standard. The flag was designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker and was first used in 1978. It was rapidly adopted across the globe.
The Progress Rainbow flag was first unfurled in 2017 and was designed by Daniel Quasar. It includes the original banner plus the addition of insertions to represent the components of both racial and sexual diversities as well as representation of persons living with HIV/AIDS and those who died from the virus. The Progress flag is considered by many to truly reflect the majority of all persons within the GLBTQ+ culture. Many persons, both within our culture and from the outside, have commended Dan Quasar for incorporating the original Rainbow flag as a part of his design.
Author’s note:This flag is my personal favourite as I believe it is entails a greater representation of all of us – no matter what or who we consider ourselves.
In 1988, the GLBTQ+ culture launched National Coming Out Day on October 11, annually, in support of all people taking a “giant step” out of the closet and making themselves an example of pride. The concept is based on the personal being political – a popular idea. The emphasis is the basic form of social activism as openly acknowledging oneself to family, friends and colleagues and living life as a confident bisexual, gay or lesbian person.
The fact that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of ignorance and silence, once people know they have loved ones – family or friends – who are themselves bisexual, gay or lesbian they will be less than willing to engage in homophobic or hateful behaviours. The goal being making the world a less repressive place.
The examination of the title question here today, Is Pride Necessary?, provides mewith the simple response: yes! Not every one of us are raised to maturity in an environment that is accepting and supportive of a person’s prerogative to become the person that they indeed are. Not all of us are able to make that determination in our lives. Therefore, I feel that pride is not only necessary but essential.
If at least one person questioning her/his sexual identity is answered, then yes, pride is necessary.
If at least one suicide over sexual identity is averted, then yes, pride is necessary.
If at least one despondent and lonely person finds acceptance and friendship, then yes, pride is necessary.
If at least one ideal is met and achieved, then yes, pride is necessary.
If at least one person reaches out and helps another, then yes, pride is necessary.
If at least one dilemma or problem is solved, then yes, pride is necessary.
A community is based on determination, purpose and through person-to-person contact. A culture is built upon communities interacting and working together. A cultural dynamic often opens doors and initiates a positive development for humanity, then yes, pride is necessary.
This year, on June 13, 2022, police in the state of Idaho, in the USA, arrested 31 people who had face coverings, white supremacist insignia, shields and an “operations plan” to riot and open gunfire on an GLBTQ+ Pride event in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a city of about 50,000 people near the border with Washington state. Police identified all those arrested as members of Patriotic Front, a white supremacist group already known for extremist tactics.
The organizers of the GLBTQ+ event said it was a family-friendly community event celebrating diversity and building a stronger and unified community for all. The sponsoring group is the North Idaho Pride Alliance and the event was entitled “Pride In The Park.”
In another incident related to the same Pride In The Park, police conducted a similar action against the Panhandle Patriots, a local motorcycle club. The cyclists were organizing a “Gun d’Alene” event to disrupt and openly assault the Pride In The Park “queers.” Firearms were seized in the motorcyclists arrests.
If law enforcement need to take actions such as the above, then yes, pride is necessary.
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for Monday, August 29, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Making Memories #2!” This post is composed by my spouse, Aaron.
June 28, 1969, is a date that has become chiseled in stone for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (GLBTQ+) people worldwide due to SIR (Stonewall Inn Riots). What happened on that night first erupted and shortly exploded into a global movement for dignity, equality and respect for GLBTQ+ persons specifically and in general, everyone. The Stonewall Inn Riots were an unplanned reaction to centuries of abuse, discrimination, intimidation, oppression and violence waged against people considered as “homosexual” (man sexuals). This protest served as a flame that quickly ignited into raging fires worldwide.
The robust and spirited social settings in the 1920’s post-Great War (World War I) era often overshadowed the climate of hatred and ridicule of the then “homosexual” (same gender loving) community. For the most part, they were largely publicly ignored. However, disdain and discrimination didn’t cease or end. It was simply temporarily replaced by the emerging “good times.”
The economic crisis and worldwide depression of the 1930’s prolonged the disregard that society held for all “homosexuals” no matter their gender. Everyone was focused on survival and the source of their next meal. Few, if any, had any curiosity, interest or time to devote to social deviants.
World War II followed the global financial situation and suddenly “homosexuality” again temporarily lost notoriety. What better way to rid humanity of this disgusting condition than to send “homosexuals” off to fight and die for freedom? The need for bodies to sacrifice trumped denying “homosexuals” the right to serve their country.
After World War II, the Cold War/Iron Curtain mentality emerged and harsh judgments on all persons and things viewed as abnormal abounded. “Homosexuals” soon became as notorious as communists as enemies of the state. Government, law enforcement, the press and society were quick to label “homosexuals” as misfits, outcasts, pariahs and perverts.
“The door of the Stonewall had wrought-iron bars across this little peephole, a little wooden thing that slid open. And the man inside would look at you and, if you looked like you belonged there, he would let you in.”
Chris Babick, describing the entrance to the Stonewall Inn, 1969
The Stonewall Inn (it was never a hotel) opened as a bar catering to the “homosexual” community in 1967. Prior to that, it had been a stable (for horses), a French bakery, a tearoom and lastly, a restaurant that had burned out of business. It opened as a bar under Mafia-affiliated management and was very connected to organized crime. The establishment consisted of two main rooms, each with its own dance floor. The front room was popular with the older clientele and the back room attracted the younger ones.
At the time of the Stonewall Inn Riots (SIR), it was unlawful for “homosexuals” to gather together in public and same gender intimacy was illegal in every state in the USA except Illinois. Same gender loving persons could and were fired from their jobs without any legal recourse. They were ridiculed and attacked publicly often without any consequence. Simply being a “homosexual” was considered an antisocial and criminal act. Everyone was required, by law, to wear clothing appropriate to their birth gender. The only exception allowed was for Halloween.
The Raid and Ensuing Riot:
Friday evening, June 27, 1969, was a hot and humid start to a weekend. Most of the patrons gathered inside the Stonewall Inn were looking forward to a night of dancing, partying with friends, relaxing with cocktails and enjoying a summer’s night in New York City. They had no idea that they were about to witness a historical event that would change their lives – and the “homosexual” world – forever.
Both the dance floors at Stonewall Inn were full of dancing “homosexual” couples. It was now after midnight and June 28, 1969, was now in its infancy. Suddenly, the surging music stopped. The lights that were dimmed to enhance the atmosphere came back on in a bight glare that caught everyone by surprise. Almost at once, the realization dawned on the festive crowd: the police were raiding the bar.
The New York City Police Department was long familiar with conducting raids on gay and lesbian bars. It was a frequent occurrence and standards rarely varied in all boroughs throughout the city. Their process was fairly routine and all officers recognized “homosexuals” as a relatively compliant and passive population. For this reason, only one police transport vehicle (paddy wagon) and one marked police squad car were involved in the raid on the Stonewall Inn. Less than a dozen officers were assigned the tasks of managing and segregating the patrons, confiscating all the alcohol and arresting the Stonewall Inn employees.
“The police weren’t letting us dance. If there’s one place in the world where you can dance and feel yourself fully as a person and that’s threatened with being taken away, those are fighting words.”
Tommy Lanigen-Schmidt, Stonewall Inn patron and riot participant
The arrival of the police raiding force caused pandemonium to erupt inside the Stonewall Inn. Customers searched in vain for an escape route or for a place to hide. Law enforcement immediately began confiscating both beer and liquor as evidence against the establishment and segregating the crowd: bar employees, cross-dressers (transgender persons) and then the “regular homosexuals.” The bar employees and the cross-dressers were to be arrested for their violating the law. The “regular homosexuals,” once they showed officers their proper identifications, were to be given citations and then permitted to leave.
The year, 1969, was at the end of a decade that had witnessed massive social unrests. The African-American struggles and protests for civil rights, the birth of the feminist and women’s rights movements, the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and the equal pay marches for primarily Latino immigrant farm workers were underway during this time. The “homosexuals” who had participated in some of these public unrests were energized and many wondered when their time for equality would happen. Little did they, and the police raiding the Stonewall Inn, realize that particular moment was actually upon them.
As the police began checking the identities of those inside the Stonewall Inn, those with proper credentials were released and herded outside the bar. Only this time, instead of simply leaving the premises, they congregated on the sidewalks and at a nearby park. Once law enforcement attempted to disperse them, they grew confrontational and belligerent.
The police, completely unaccustomed to “homosexual” defiance, continued to press the order to vacate the area. The crowd, emboldened by their frustration with being treated as “deviants” and second-class citizens, began to chant and to empty trash cans and hurl the garbage at the officers.
By this time, passers-by, curious as to what was happening, joined the vocal and upset “homosexuals” to express their dissatisfaction with the raid. The crowd outside the Stonewall Inn began to grow in number, anger and frustration. Once the word of what had transpired inside the bar began to spread, even more “homosexuals” started to descend into the neighborhood and amass in the bar’s vicinity.
“There was no gay pride before Stonewall. Only gay fear and gay isolation and gay distrust and gay self-hatred.”
Edmund White, gay author
Law enforcement, confused and distracted over the reaction to the raid, soon had a very sobering moment. The gathering outside the bar had them surrounded inside the bar with little, if any, relief in sight. Those “homosexuals” who were kept inside were fast becoming as bellicose as were those gathered outside.
By now, the police trapped inside the facility understood that the situation had gotten beyond their control. They tried to call for reinforcements but were unable to reach any source for assistance. They had secured the bar but were trapped inside and the crowd outside was swelling in both fury and size. A few hundred patrons had now grown to an angry mob of several thousand and more were joining by the minute.
“You could hear screaming outside, a lot of noise from the protesters, and it was a good sound. It was a real good sound that, you know, you had a lot of people out there pulling for you.”
Raymond Castro, a Stonewall Inn customer being detained inside the bar during its siege
No one in the New York City Police Department had anticipated the “homosexuals,” always perceived as being meek and mild, to fight back. The years of abuse, oppression and ridicule had taken its toll and the frustration now became revolution, and the time for retribution was at hand. Unfortunately for the police, the pent-up anger at law enforcement was now being released and returned in kind. The officers were now prisoners inside the Stonewall Inn.
Slightly over two hours after the raid had started, the police and their detainees were trapped in the Stonewall Inn and no relief was in sight. The two-way communication devices between the raiding party and their office weren’t working inside the bar and the only commercial phone in the facility couldn’t connect with any local police stations. The passive “homosexuals” had finally achieved a “first” in their spontaneous riot: the raiders were contained, surrounded and all very nervous. By this time, the crowd outside the Greenwich Village bar now numbered several thousand with a full-fledged riot underway.
In an effort to relieve the inflammatory predicament, the trapped police decided to send the detainees and half the officers in the two police vehicles to the closest local precinct. There, the detainees would be formally charged with arrest and the officers could make arrangements for a police riot force to assemble and rescue the remaining law enforcement personnel. This relief effort finally returned to the bar and eventually dispersed the angry crowd of “homosexuals” and curious onlookers several hours later.
Despite damage to the Stonewall Inn and the loss of the license to sell alcoholic beverages, the bar opened for business (dancing) the following night. By Saturday evening, word of the incident had spread throughout the city’s closeted “homosexual” community (primarily by word-of-mouth). A larger than usual crowd gathered both inside and outside the Greenwich Village establishment. Most didn’t expect a repeat of the raid the night before and a significant number of those present mainly wanted to inspect the damage.
The police, however, had different ideas. They were strictly outside the bar in full force with a large number in riot gear. They had learned their lesson and were determined to remain in full control should the patrons become unruly again.
The “homosexuals” had been empowered by the riot the previous evening and weren’t about to be bullied into submission again. As the large police presence attempted to disperse those gathered outside the Stonewall Inn the second night, they were confronted by verbal assaults and an array of street-savvy tactics that saw law enforcement chase off onlookers, only to have them run around the city block and return again. Silent obedience to uniformed policemen was no longer a fact of life for New York’s “homosexuals.” They were tired of suffering abuse, disrespect, ridicule and treatment as second-class citizens.
The second night of the Stonewall congregation wasn’t as disruptive as the one before. No further damage was done to the bar facility. However, an awakening consciousness was raised within the municipal “homosexual” community that would change the way society viewed them and – most importantly – the way they perceived themselves.
For the first time, the often assumed passive community stood up for their rights and demonstrated that they, as a full community, had “had enough!”
Happy Stonewall Inn Riot day!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry for here is planned for Thursday, June 30, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Bottoms-Up! June, 2022”
A combination of two fun-filled words that afford us with desires and dreams and a variety of memories. In the English language, naked is joined with the word vacation and the result is: nakation! A bare practitioner’s imaginative excursion into paradise! There is no established timeline; a nakation can be one day in duration, one week or an entire month. The nakationer (nude enthusiast on vacation) makes the decisions!
The choices are unlimited and can be as complex or as simple as the amount of free time and the financial resources permit. Uncertain of what’s available? Online is accessible to offer suggestions that satisfy most needs and requirements. Acquaintances and friends can make recommendations and give advice on what to do and what to avoid. Careful thinking and common sense are also valuable tools!
“Man designs fashions. Man makes clothes. Man makes mistakes! The measure of a man isn’t based on the clothes he wears. The true measure of a man is determined bythe clothes he is not wearing. Bare is the perfection of the human body without the mistakes.” ~ Roger Poladopoulos ~
For someone who is a newcomer to the body and clothes freedom life, the prospect may seem overpowering. Do not despair! Even with a severely limited financial status, a basic nakation can involve little more than selecting a relatively secluded location, packing food and water (or other beverage) and getting outside to spend a free afternoon in nature. Being natural in nature doesn’t necessarily require time consuming planning and preparation. Reading material (to occupy your time mentally) and ample sunscreen are strongly encouraged for everyone (no matter their ethnicity or race)!
A convenient clothing optional resort involves both money and reservations – especially during the late Spring, Summer and early Autumn times of the year. When making inquiries at the facility, always ask for any policies or restrictions specific to that particular resort. Some destinations actually prohibit same gender loving relationships from even being on the property. It is always a good idea to ask about the clothing optional status of the on-site dining room/restaurant. There are numerous clothing optional establishments that cater especially to the bare practitioner community. At these locations, a person’s sexual identity is rarely a concern or issue.
“Bare practitioners are natural inspirations!” ~ Roger Poladopoulos ~ January 6, 2022
A recent trend that is increasing in popularity are clothing/textile restrictive resorts. These places severely limit the areas and times that clothing may be worn. Some of the more stringent facilities mandate that clothing must be removed in the parking area before entry into the actual property. Be advised to question the specifics regarding these regulations. There is no need to be textile if it isn’t necessary!
As discussed in last Monday’s April Appeal: Social Nudity (click link for connection), there is an ever-growing number of locations and resorts promoting (advertising, marketing) themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (GLBTQ+) accepting, friendly and welcoming. This attention is partly the result of discrimination endured by bare practitioners in the past and partly the result of an increasing number of bare practitioners specifically seeking such accommodations. The end result is a “win-win” situation for both the same gender loving (SGL) vacationers and the commercial establishments.
When visiting a GLBTQ+ friendly facility we don’t need to be as concerned and discreet about our status. However, as each property has different management and procedures, it is highly advised that guests inquire regarding protocols and meal-time dressing codes. Awareness and knowledge are allies in comfort and relaxation!
Regardless of the best intentions and precautions of destination management, facilities that publicly announce their GLBTQ+ acceptance sometimes attract the undesirable. There are some who stereotype our community as particularly vulnerable and weak. These individuals may not be guests on the property but they possibly monitor the entrance and exit of the establishment. It is recommended to take note of the surroundings and constantly practice vigilance.
Whether on nakation alone, as a couple or with companions, there are two essentials necessary: condoms and sunscreen. Keep in mind the cost of these items are usually higher at the destination rather than a local shop or store near where you reside. Condoms reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A reminder to all that condoms are strongly urged for everyone involved in PrEP.
Sunscreen generally has a shelf life of at least two years. Check the container for the expiration date before departure! Sunburn on the first day of nakation can ruin the remainder of your “play-time.” Better to be safe than sorry!
Sunglasses? A good idea is to always carry an extra pair with you. Better to see than suffer from too much sunlight!
“Often, in jest or in ridicule, the textile ask of bare practitioners, ‘How’s it hanging?’ Perhaps we should respond with an inquiry of our own: ‘How does it feel, to always hide and conceal?'” ~ Roger Peterson-Poladopoulos ~ April 18, 2022
Perfect weather conditions for a nakation cannot be guaranteed. A suggestion is to carry along a few tools to reduce boredom risks in the event storms appear. A deck of playing cards isn’t bulky and easily fits inside an empty shoe. Another idea is a small (3 x 5 inch or 7.62 x 12.7 cm) memo notebook and a couple of pencils or pens. These can be used for a game of charades, etc. These items aren’t cumbersome nor expensive and offer unpleasant weather options.
A Gentle Reminder Notation:
As I have mentioned throughout this post entry, experiencing a nakation isn’t solely based on the destination and/or the location. The freedom, the joy and the relaxation are major aspects of the nakation opportunity. Equally important and satisfying is the enrichment of our clothes free lives. A successful nakation is the comfort enjoyed from nakedness as determined by the nakationer!
A nakation can be pleasurable and relaxing alone at home. It doesn’t have to involve extensive travel or endless nightmares. Whatever suits the individual is best!
Take care and stay bare!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Friday, April 22, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Holy Easter/Martyr’s Day!”
In the introductory photograph (above), our actual bare practitioner brother, adult film-star Phoenix Fellington, aptly represents the theme of this particular post here on ReNude Pride but also, along with his fellow same gender loving (SGL) adult actors, the importance and necessity that social nudity provides our bare practitioner culture. Phoenix introduces two roles in the above illustration. First, he is the only African American featured – an automatic minority. Secondly, he is likewise the only subject completely and totally naked – another automatic minority.
Mr. Fellington and his co-performing colleagues graphically depict bare practitioner reality and truth. Every one of us, every day of our lives, constitute a “double minority.” Independent of our individual race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, education, or ability, we’re all SGL. Our first minority status. Our second minority status is our naturist/nudist proclivity. Please bear in mind that our minority status may vary and reverse itself depending on each individual. Number one can become number two and vice-versa.
Thus, this one picture shows our peculiar bare practitioner perspective. Two extra “burdens” simply because of who we are. Our representational responsibilities in addition to our respective individual considerations. This image conveys the significance of social nudity to us all as bare practitioners.
Thank you, Phoenix Fellington and your fellow SGL film performers for your awareness education of our dilemma. Please inform your associates they can now strip off the clothing items they’re wearing and get comfortable!
“Being a bare practitioner in no way adequately defines us yet it is indeed a fun way to accurately describe us!” ~ Roger Peterson-Poladopoulos
“The extent or level of our bare involvement is frequently immaterial. The overwhelming majority of naturists/nudists engage in social nudity whether they recognize the action as such or not. We are human and we are a social being. The simple acknowledgement of another’s nakedness constitutes social nudity.” ~Roger Poladopoulos ~ April 11, 2022
Fortunately, social nudity has only two simple qualifications. First, of course, is very basic: our nakedness. The second is almost as simple as the first: it includes at least two nude individuals interacting with one another. That’s it! Basic. Plain. Simple.
There’s no restriction on the type of interaction that happens. We can read together, play cards, perform tasks for pleasure, play tennis, go jogging, skinny-dip, lay in the sun, paint or engage in board games or sew. We can walk or skydive. We can even just sit and converse with one another. As long as we’re bare, casual, relaxed and together (social). Quantity is unimportant and familiarity isn’t a prerequisite.
Social nudity allows us to introduce ourselves and to become acquainted. We can transition from acquaintances into friends. We can evolve and grow from friendship into a relationship and beyond.
There are no stringent guidelines and the possibilities are endless!
“Social nudity is the exotic exuberance of an excellent fashion extravaganza: our nakedness!” ~ Roger Peterson-Poladopoulos April 11, 2022
Bare practitioners are a friendly, happy, helpful and quite often marginalized group of people. Hence, our “double minority” status. General society, primarily textile (clothes wearing) and judgmental, regard us with both disdain and disgust. Far too often, we are misjudged as nothing more than perverted individuals because of our preference for the clothes free lifestyle – our being naked together is determined as positive proof that sexual pleasure is the only reason that we are collectively nude. All that we supposedly desire is unlimited sexual license!
The above scenario is a common myth transmitted among the fashion-obsessed majority to ensure their continued dominance in society. True, there are some naturist/nudist people who enjoy clothes freedom mainly for sexual engagement but the overwhelming number of us bare practitioners simply prefer being without the burden of garment wearing. Our bodies are us and we relish being free and natural!
We, as humans, are generally a very congenial, social species. We like being around interacting with others we perceive as being similar to ourselves: bare or clothed. As a bare practitioner, I am comfortable and relaxed while in the company of other bare practitioners. As a Deaf man, I am completely at ease in the presence of others who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). This is based on human nature and is a fact shared by all of us, regardless of our clothes choice (naked or textile).
Naturists or nudists are humans, first, who readily accept and identify themselves as a comity (group) of like-minded individuals who appreciate their uniqueness in the broader world. As humans, we are we are content and willing to interact and socialize with those who share our inclination. It is easier to establish compatibility and trust with persons who are most like ourselves. Once again, human nature prevails.
The only essential or basic requirement for social nudity to transpire is that body and clothes freedom must be shared. Therefore, the minimum number of people involved must be two. After all, company determines interaction. Yet flexibility reigns supreme and there is no limitation on the maximum number involved. The quantity of the crowd is endless and is solely restricted by the amount of space available. The often repeated folk adage: “the more the merrier” is entirely applicable in the case of social nudity. Naked together is the guideline!
To be perfectly honest, mandatory and/or obligatory nakedness is not an essential standard in order for social nudity to occur. As long as the textile people present accept, appreciate, respect and understand that the freedom from clothing prevails then the social nudity affixation is both earned and justified.
The optimal belief and premise that covering our bodies or hiding beneath clothes is totally unnecessary!
As bare practitioners, most of us are employed in a workplace that embraces, and requires, the wearing of clothing – if not a uniform! We accept this reality. However, away from our job we are on our own in fulfilling our lives and circumstances. Body and clothes freedom – our choice, our life, our time – is one aspect we need not compromise. Social nudity (voluntary association with our “own kind”) is both a need and a relief from the stress of everyday living in a distinctly different reality from the acceptable “normalcy” of the vast majority. Our own special haven (heaven) in an otherwise chaotic and fashion-focused world!
In addition to our endorsement of social nudity, as bare practitioners there is another major reason for our encouragement and support of clothes freedom. Not only are we judged by our nakedness by the textile world, within our own naturist/nudist community we are also deemed unacceptable and unwanted by fellow clothes free people due to our same gender loving – bisexual or gay – status. This homophobia isn’t as prevalent or pronounced as it was perhaps twenty years ago, but it still exists and remains within our natural collective. This is one aspect of why we use the term “bare practitioner” instead of “bisexual naturist” or “gay nudist.” For many, the words bisexual and/or gay imply sexuality over attraction.
There is a growing number of body and clothes freedom establishments and resorts that are now promoting (advertising) themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (GLBTQ+) accepting, friendly and welcoming. This marketing strategy is underway in order to create more tolerant environments for their guests as well as to ensure the quality of business and it appears to be operable.
There are a few misconceptions regarding the heading: social nudity. A large number of people, no matter there clothing choice, think only in terms of a “party-like” atmosphere exclusively. Actually, social nudity encompasses much more than that. Discussion groups, reading and/or book clubs, athletics, dramatic clubs, hiking groups, garden clubs, etc., all qualify as pertinent to social nudity.
There are a countless number of SGL naturist/nudist participants who limit their engagement to social nudity activities only. When alone, they aren’t concerned whether they are bare or clothed. They are just as comfortable wearing garments as they are without. It appears as though they only indulge with nudity when they are with others who have no strong bonds or feelings with nakedness unless it is in a total party environment.
My spouse, Aaron, and I sometimes chuckle among ourselves over this seemingly oblivious indifference towards body and clothes freedom. Our humour over the matter possibly derives from our obsession with the state of our nakedness and their apparent lack of concern. Another clear example of the variances of human nature. What may be of paramount importance to one is relatively insignificant to another.
The bottom line being yet another folk adage: “to each one, his/her own!”
A Point To Ponder:
The above image begs a question that very few seem to have an answer. Social nudity is widely considered to be a situation where everyone is nude and interacting. However, what if the case is different. If one of the persons is bare and the other is partially or totally textile. Does social nudity still apply? The naked individual is being social through his interaction with the other, who happens to be clothed. It isn’t a completely nude situation, but is the label applicable in a mixed situation? A final thought to ponder today!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Friday, April 15, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Our Paths Crossed…!”
It was exactly 50 years ago today, on June 28, 1969, that the Stonewall Inn riots occurred in New York City, USA. This spontaneous uprising happened as a result of police harassment of the local gay, lesbian. bisexual, transgender and queer (GLBTQ) patrons at the Stonewall Inn and fortunately, the world has changed quite a bit since then. Here in the USA, such behavior by law enforcement today would initiate not only condemnation and civil lawsuits but other legal ramifications as well. I need to insert here that 50 years ago, the GLBTQ community was known by an entirely different label: homosexual. That label wasn’t always complimentary.
Today, here in the USA, is National HIV Testing Day. On this date, the public is encouraged to take advantage of the numerous opportunities, nationwide, to take a few moments and to be tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Many health departments, local pharmacies and other health-care institutions are offering free HIV tests to any and all. Many people are volunteering (myself included) to work so that our organizations can offer testing to as many as possible with a minimum wait for results!