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One interesting and nuanced take on this issue was articulated just recently in an article in the NAC/NEF Pages of History newsletter, called, “A Reason.”

https://naturisteducation.org/wp-content/uploads/library/newsletters/2024_02.pdf

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

I chose “good to be proactive”, however, as a community we need to understand that this can be an expensive approach. This means that we need infrastructure in place to monitor proposals and keep important legislators close. I believe our national organizations work toward this, but don’t know if they have the resources to do much more than react. We do need to fund the effort - this may be where there is a generational fork in the road. Based on some of the articles I have read, the “younger” folks amongst us generally do not like to “belong” and that seems to be the way things are currently funded. Don’t know how true that statement is, but I really do think the foundation of maintaining the rights and privileges of naturist living does come down to funding the process. Ah, the beauty of existing in a capitalist world 😊

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

When I volunteered for Garden State Equality in 2009, we would canvass and gather signatures/contact info from constituents via petition cards. Those cards would be put into a CRM and the leaders of our organization would use those giant bundles of cards, all from constituents, to show how much support/opposition there is for certain legislation.

If what Naked Wanderings and others say about most people’s attitudes towards nudity is correct (that most people don’t feel strongly one way or the other and that most of the opposition comes from a small but loud minority), then we actually have an opportunity to raise awareness and show that most people would probably agree that Wisconsin’s bills are an overreach.

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

Illinois and Wisconsin share a unique relationship, with many Illinois residents frequently visiting Wisconsin during the warm months. While living out of state may seem like a negative thing, the truth is that we contribute to the Wisconsin economy by spending our money there. Some of us even become residents during the warmer months. My husband and I are considering moving to Wisconsin in the near future, but the recent possibility of naturists losing their right to recreate in designated areas or in locations where no others are present has caused concern. If this were to happen, it would be a major deterrent for us to make the move. We believe that many others share our sentiment and that it might result in some Wisconsin residents leaving the state as well. Therefore, it's unfair to label non-residents as a burden, as it discourages future residents and Wisconsin sales taxpayers. Let's celebrate diversity and welcome everyone to Wisconsin with open arms. Illinois and Wisconsin have a special bond, with many Illinois residents visiting Wisconsin frequently during the warm months. Living out of state is not a negative thing, as we contribute to the Wisconsin economy by spending our money there. In fact, many of us even take up residents there during the warmer months. Some of us, like my husband and I, are seriously considering moving to Wisconsin in the near future. However, if naturists lose their right to recreate in designated areas or in locations where no others are present, it would be a huge deterrent for us to make the move. We believe that we are not the only ones who feel this way and that some Wisconsin residents may also leave the state for the same reason. Therefore, labeling non-residents as a bad thing is not fair, as it discourages future residents and Wisconsin sales taxpayers. Let us embrace diversity and welcome everyone to Wisconsin with open arms.

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

Being proactive means actions based on the situation, the situation many times dictates the course of action.

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

I find myself unsure because I don't totally understand. I feel it is important to be proactive, but do out of state signatures matter or count?

I am relatively new to naturism and absolutely enjoy the freedom of being naked especially in nature. I also feel like I am still in the closet and unable to openly say I am a nudist to anyone.

How have groups like the gay or lesbian community gave what little more freedom they have.

It didn't come from sitting back and not being proactive.

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

I try not to cause harm to others by how I live. I want to hear it if my nakedness is causing distress to my neighbors. If we have an uprising against nudity by the majority of Wisconsin people then I will listen to the majority and be discreet. But I don’t see this. What I see and hear from being proactive and getting the message out there is….. “I had no idea”.

Democracy…. Making sure everyone knows ! We need to stop legislating in the dark!

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

I think we should take every opportunity to hike nude, sunbathe nude, swim nude, and - as best we might - act as if nudity were perfectly acceptable. I have a friend who has wandered through San Francisco nude hundreds of times. I have ran Bay to Breakers nude almost every year since 1997. We can do it if we conquer our own fears.

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

Activism does not create danger; instead, it reveals it. Not only that, activism liberates those who have been surviving in harmful circumstances.

To be fair, I do think about things such as signing petitions for causes outside of my geography. I consider if I know enough about the local laws and the circumstances surrounding the petition. I do my own research. I hold my own independent opinion. And then, based on all the information available to me, I make a decision whether or not to sign.

The dangerous part about silence is how it enables the oppressor. It enables them to paint pictures of people who sign petitions that are false. It enables them to convince people that there is only a binary. It enables them to persuade others to reinforce a standard over a bogeyman.

Freedom of the press isn't just freedom for newsrooms. It's the freedom of every voice to be heard, it is "a fundamental personal right". If we prohibit that freedom ourselves, we are already back to square one. There is a difference between discretion and repression. And then, think about all the people being oppressed who cannot hide. The cultures, genders, races, abilities...think about them and then maybe consider again if being silent is something you will be proud of when you are older.

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

I didn’t hear a peep from the legacy organization I’m a member of so anyone who criticizes PN for activating or those of us from out of state for sticking up for our way of being is not seeing the neon writing on the wall. Some of us have been squawking about the coming incursion on our rights for several years. So if anyone is whining that you tried to do something, they’re helping pave the path toward the degradation of our ability to exist.

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Feb 1·edited Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

I feel like American nudism has been fighting from day one. And as naturism and pornography evolved, this fight has grown with the public majority confusing the two. I agree with M.M., we should always use the power of our voice to make change and use our privileges to fight for those less privileged, no matter who is a resident and who is not. But in my opinion, from a larger picture, this is becoming a two-steps-forward, three-steps-backward approach. Yes, petitions and protests have helped shape this beautifully diverse country- but so has education, movements, socioeconomic trends, and philanthropy.

So no, to answer your title, I do not believe we are doing enough. But not in terms of just our democratic voice, but in ways of positively setting the example and showing society HOW this is normal, HOW this is healthy, HOW this can be non-sexual and beneficial to our children. It'll take time, but I think we should really revamp how we approach our place in American society and try to step away from only the consumerism side so that our arguments can become even stronger.

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

My opinion is that change.org is an ineffective device used to make people feel good about something without having to invest themselves.

Letters, email, and personal calls to the legislatures offices make the difference. They have to account for time on the call and have mail and email to review. Taking your time and expense to communicate does make some difference.

For those of us out of the state the comments can precede with you being from your location and are interested in the activities discussed as you would like to participate when you visit the state.

So, yes, make your concerns known as a person/family who would make decision on future visits to that state.

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

There's an expression that fits this situation. "There's nothing new to learn from a second kick of the mule." With only 3 exceptions that I know of in the past 40 years, I've wondered for decades why our national and international naturist/nudist organizations are always playing defense when it come to threats to naturist freedoms. Having lobbied on behalf of naturists and the free beach movement for 35 years in the Florida legislature, county commissions and before representatives in Congress in Washington DC, as well as working on campaigns throughout Florida of both Democrats and Republican legislators who proved to be "friends of naturists", I can honestly say that we're doing this lobbying "thing" ass backwards. Petitions have its place in a much larger strategic plan to secure our freedom. It starts with EDUCATION. First: Start by educating us — the dues-paying, card-carrying naturist/nudist community. This can be done by conducting Zoom caucuses-style training sessions so groups of people in a conference room can participate together throughout the country. We ALL must personally take the time to meet with our local, state and federal lawmakers. Second: Develop strategic allies from communities in the hospitality/tourism business, civil rights, PR/Marketing, and experts in key fields of discipline to boost our influence and credibility. Third: If it's true that there's strength in numbers, then grow our numbers/membership by going to where the skinny-dippers go by working with the free beach organizations that are the stewards of our few remaining clothing-optional beaches. Fourth: Privately owned nudist clubs and resorts should re-establish and fund TANR (Trade Association for Nude Recreation) to hire professional government affairs representatives and marketing firm. Fifth: Let women of all ages be the face of naturism. We love and need our intelligent male partners in this effort, however, if we ever want to be taken seriously by lawmakers and the "prudists" (I like that term), women must be the ones who say that they feel safe in a clothes-free environment whether at a designated c/o beach or at a private resort AND that its been good for them and their children. Women give naturism the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Laws are to protect our health, safety, welfare and Constitutional Rights and freedoms. Make those who want to take away this natural right and state of being that it is harmful. They can't.

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Feb 1Liked by Evan Nicks

Be more proactive. In American history, no social or minority group ever made any headway in gaining their rights by being passive or "flying under the radar." Almost all of them had to fight an uphill battle against the forces of the status quo, who don't anything to change in a society that is always changing. There were setbacks and casualties along the way. Still these groups and in pretty much every case they did secure their rights. Naturist are a minority group, no matter which way you look at it. Our way of life conflicts with the status quo, so we must be willing to endure and fight against what they throw at us. We are a minority by choice, in the same sense that a person of faith might be in a minority by choice. But I see countless examples from American history and today of these people fighting for their rights and winning. That could be us too.

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Nudism has been doing its damnedest to "fly under the radar" for most of its existence. That is why we're in such a bad situation today. How can you possibly expect new new people to embrace nudism if you are anxious to hide it? Nudism is shrinking in this country and flying under the radar does nothing to slow the trend.

I do not know if the trend is reversible. We lack the political acumen of gays. We lack the unity of purpose of the civil rights movement. We lack the fundamental sense of injustice that fueled both. Nudism has grown old and failed to bring in adequate new blood. We may simply need for American culture to evolve to catch up with Europe.

How about being active - but also being understanding of the regional culture? WNBRs have gone off without a hitch in many US cities without protests and without attempts to make them illegal. Chicago has WNBRs too.

Before you try to push the envelope, you need to acknowledge and then understand the envelope. Also, know that if you tear the envelope, you're screwed. Different states have different envelopes.

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Petitions are effective, maybe not in persuading specific individuals to do what the petition asks, but as evidence of naturism's existence as a social trend. The trend is the real thing we need to stoke.

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