GLBTQ+ Bare History Month: Breaking Bare-iers! Part 3!
To view the previous two postings referred to with this being number three, please click onto the titles listed below:
In everyday vernacular “barrier” is often interpreted as a blockage, an impediment and/or a challenge that must be overcome. In today’s title, bare-ier, is intended to imply that we are breaking (destroying, eliminating, eradicating, removing) the perceived challenge to being bare (clothes free, naked, nude). ReNude Pride is truly one “safe space” for body and clothes freedom!
In the early days of photography, especially here in the USA, the segregation (legal separation) of the population by racial identity was not only widely practiced but in many states (especially in the south) was mandated (required) by law. This was based on the philosophy that prevailed throughout the southern states of “separate but equal.” In reality, the separation was strictly enforced and the equality was nonexistent.
Photographs from the early days to the latter third of the 20th Century rarely depicted interracial individuals in contact and congeniality with one another. The laws and traditions of the American society were observed and strictly followed. Few photographers and/or models had the courage to ignore the constraints and restrictions imposed by the mainstream population. The capture of these few people all together was extremely rare, and especially if they were completely clothes free and visibly engaged as legitimate equals!
However, after the end of World War II, the executive order of then-President Harry Truman, decreed the end of enforced segregation of the entire U.S.A. military, naval and air forces. Times were changing and a few photographers and their subjects came forward to celebrate this bold progressive measure. A significant number of those brave souls were from our “closeted” (secretive) community of same gender loving men.
The post-war world delivered everyone into a changing life situation. Allies during the war became enemies. Enemies during the war became comrades and the regimented structure of society began to lose some of the class-consciousness that held different people apart. Gradually, familiarity replaced judgment in personal interactions. The military abandoning the racial segregation – long considered a stalwart among the majority – opened the eyes of some with foresight into a glimmer of new possibilities.
The ideal of “it is our tradition” began to weaken as the notion of “let’s see what else we can do” grew in importance. Custom and habit no longer kept individuals tied to a repressive and restricted environment.
As the walls that divided different classes (socio-economic groups) of people began to slowly disperse, the eradication of separation between persons of differing ethnic, cultural and racial backgrounds began to decline also. This change didn’t occur suddenly – it was an eventual shifting of bias, distrust and prejudices as the general society embarked on the slow, incremental process of enlightenment and evolution in a changing world order.
The late 1940’s soon became the 1950’s and economic, political and social change lost the incredibility and novelty it once generated. Colonial states moved towards independence and traditional authority concepts began to recede into obscurity. The long accepted practice of unquestioned following to the “status quo” declined.
While these opinion and outlook shifts happened in the broader society, subtle opportunities appeared in the same gender loving world as well. Still largely illegal and isolated, small groups of “homosexual” (bisexual, gay and lesbian) persons carefully and cautiously emerged into the larger urban areas – still discreet and secretive but no longer totally isolated.
The 1960’s introduced public protests and general boycotts into the social change movement. African-Americans, women, immigrant farm workers and other minorities usually overlooked by the powered-few (white males) started their own campaigns for social acceptance and equality. The momentum for change gained strength and attention. In 1961, the state of Illinois repealed the illegality of the “homosexuals” – the first political jurisdiction in the country to outlaw the banishment and shame normally and universally thrown against the “social deviants.”
The seeds of change and progress were planted. By the end of the decade, on June 28, 1969, the lion started to roar and the march for equality and freedom for all same gender loving peoples launched itself!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
The next post entry here is planned for Monday, October 17, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Autumn Arrival!”