Monday, April 30, 2012

On Being Gay...

There's been so much coverage in the media lately on being same gender loving and the negative impact that it has on the lives of many of our queer youth. To listen to the political rantings of the recent crop of GOP presidential hopefuls, it is perceived as a "fate worse than death." Fortunately, the most fanatic homophobes have all but been eliminated from that race; but, one bigot does remain in the running. Hopefully, someone will be able to school him before the election in November. However, I'm not holding my breath waiting for that miracle to happen. I'm not at all fooled by his appointing a gay man as a spokesperson on foreign policy: it's a paid position and we all know that some will say anything if there's money involved. I'm offering a  few quotes here today to reinforce the idea that it's perfectly okay to be gay. Not everyone who's heterosexual is automatically homophobic.

Charles Barkley: Former NBA; Most Valuable Player, current NBA/NCAA Basketball commentator:

"You know, people try to make it about black and white. Dr. King talked about equality for every man, every woman. We have a thing going on now- people discriminating against homosexuality in this country. I love the homosexual people. God bless the gay."

The Game: Hip Hop artist/Rapper, actor

"Do you. It's a free country...Game don't have a problem with gay people. Game has problem with people who are pretending NOT to be gay."

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekend Treats

It's been some time since I offered some weekend treats.

Enjoy the final weekend of the month of April, 2012!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Post Card From The Beach 2

Dear Readers,

Good news for all of you: my week in Florida is now more than half over and the state hasn't sunk into either the Atlantic Ocean nor the Gulf of Mexico just yet. I guess that means I'm not the natural disaster some have accused me of being! LOL! The weather's been great, the food satisfactory and the men aplenty!

The past couple of days have been here in Pasco County at a private resort and have made some interesting acquaintances. Some of them are gay, most aren't. No matter, the important fact is to enjoy the scenery: naked. This particular geographic area has more than a dozen clothing optional/nudist private facilities. A cornucopia compared to my native Virginia, which has only one.

Later this morning, we depart for the final destination: a resort in the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay area.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From My Naked Family Tree...

There are some parallels within both the naturist/nudist world and the queer world. One of these is our family circle environment. Often, many grow up alone and isolated in their respective families, immediate and extended. There's no other member of the inner circle that shares our life experience and worldview.  This reality leads some of us, as we enter adulthood and become independent, to create a tight network of special close friends that are in a similar situation. We have an intimate emotional bond with these individuals; in essence, they emerge as our surrogate family. In some instances, we are actually closer to them than we are to our real-life families. In a few cases, our adopted families supplant our natural ones.

My own naked family is somewhat different in that it includes both members of my biological family, both immediate and extended, as well as my adopted family of same gender loving naturists/nudists. In this aspect, I am extremely blessed and fortunate. As I've shared with all of you here previously (Growing Up Nudists posted on September 15, 2010, and Touched By A Naked Angel posted on January 20, 2012), my identical twin brother (Twin) and I grew up removing our clothing just as fast as our parents were trying to dress us. Twin, to this day, remains my naked brother, both figuratively and literally. As twins, we're naturally close. The fact we're both Deaf, gay and nudists strengthens that bond.

Our oldest brother is also queer. His coming out to our family while in his late teens paved the way for Twin and I when we understood our sexuality. By the time we came out, within our broader family, being gay wasn't an issue (at least, not to our face). Our oldest sibling isn't a practicing naturist. He has attended numerous social nude events with Twin and myself. Initially, he'd remain inside his boxers; later, he'd be totally naked. We're both hoping to make both he and his spouse (they live in Boston) full converts sometime soon. One positive sign of progress: they now admit to sleeping nude.  

Within my extended family, there is another member of my generation who is an active social nudist. A first cousin on my father's side of the family is very committed to nudity and actually authors his own nudist blog. He's nine years younger than Twin and I; not only is he a naturist, he, too, is both Deaf and same gender loving. Cuz (that's how Twin and I address him) lives in Virginia and both he and his partner are frequently with us at naturist functions. When we have family celebrations for the holidays (Christmas, Easter, etc.) or events (baptisms, funerals, weddings) we all share a hotel suite in order to be naked while not engaged with our family tribe. This is one of the many benefits of having nudists within one's natural family.

It's interesting how Twin and I learned of Cuz's nudity. Since his mid-teens, we already knew that he's gay. Twin was spending the weekend with me and we were attending a Saturday social nudist activity here within the Washington, DC metropolitan region. At this time, Cuz was a college freshman at my alma mater, located in downtown Washington. We were both completely surprised upon seeing Cuz at this same gathering, completely naked. To be honest, we were too shocked to even move. Cuz approached the both of us and asked if we were happy to see him. Twin was unable to respond and all that I could think of to respond was: "Yes, glad to see you and when did you get so hairy?"

My stupid remark broke the ice and the three of us shared a laugh. Cuz then offered that he'd always been interested in social nudity but had been unable to act on this until he'd moved out of his parent's house and into the university dorm. He already knew that we were nudist and he hoped that he's see me at this activity, since it was for gay nudes. He's been a part of my naked family ever since.

It's not important the actual make-up of our queer naturist/nudist families. They can be biological or surrogate and/or a combination of both. What does matter is that they afford us the ability to maintain a positive and supportive social unit that is mutually beneficial for us all. What's crucial is the emotional and mental comfort and consolation that we offer and provide to each other; something that our birth families, for whatever reason, are unable to give us.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Post Card From The Beach

Dear Readers,

Greetings to all from a tour of various beaches along the Florida coasts. We arrived at the airport this past Saturday for a week of  sun, surf and beach-hopping and resort-hopping madness. In fact, I have to keep reminding myself that with all this hopping, Easter has passed.

Our first beach was Haulover and I'm certain that you'll all be happy to know that it's still there and full of sights similar to the one posted here. Surprisingly, it isn't as crowded as I'd expected. Believe it or not, there's actually enough space between folks as we stake out our space on the sand.

The posts for both yesterday and tomorrow were scheduled for publication in advance. I plan to send another post card post on Thursday. I'm searching my files for a weekend treat entry for Friday.

We depart later this morning for the second leg of our tour.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Nude Novice Notes: Summer Survival Kit


This past winter was unseasonably mild for most of us. The added benefit of that meteorological phenomenon is an even milder Spring with the thermometer hitting Summer temperatures earlier than usual. Time to start planning now for a sunny period of outdoor action with all your social naturist/nudist brothers. It's better to plan ahead and be prepared so as not to be left behind once the parties begin!

The Summer season offers numerous opportunities for a variety of outside experiences for everyone; social nudists are no exception. Of course, there are the usual aquatic events: beaches, lakes, pools and the all-time American time-honored tradition: skinny-dipping (usually done at night). Add to this list a bevy of activities that are enjoyed in the open air without the restriction of clothes and the fun is just beginning. Athletic games, especially basketball, softball and volleyball are immensely popular, regardless of level of skill or prowess. Hiking and nature walks, generally including a picnic lunch or as part of a camping trip, appeal to many. Then, there are the traditional barbecues in the backyard or out in the park that not only satisfy our desire to be naked but our appetites as well. The possibilities are endless.

All the more important to stock up now on the seasonal essentials necessary to make the upcoming months fun and safe. Organizing the supplies and keeping them in one place makes it easier to be ready to roll in a moments notice, particularly since some of those chances for fun in the sun are spontaneous. Having everything together and in one place eliminates the possibility of forgetting an item and needing to find a replacement.

I prefer using the fanny pack for storing my have-to-have items. Some people refer to them as butt-bags. Whatever name you go by, these handy storage packs are a convenient size and light-weight. They strap around the waist or can be draped from the shoulder when seated. Most either zip or snap shut; usually, there are a few separate compartments which enable you to separate items. They are available in a variety of colors, sizes and are made using diverse materials. I have two, one leather and one of a sturdy canvas material. Depending on personal preference, these can be worn on the side, angled over the buttocks or frontal. It's up to the discretion of the individual. My favorite position for wearing my fanny pack is demonstrated in the photo to the left.

First on my list of necessities is a pair of sunglasses. Eyes are just as vulnerable to UV rays as is any other part of the body. As mine are prescription, I always have a spare pair in a case beside where I store my fanny packs. The second item on my list is sunscreen. I always keep several tubes of travel size (3.5 to 4 ounces) handy and one tube in each of my packs. This enables me to be sure it's where I need it to be when I want it.

Next on the list is lip balm. As in the case with eyes, lips crack, dry out, blister; they need to stay moist and protected. A personal size container of hand sanitizer is a must-have. Outside, soap and water isn't always available. A tube of first-aid antiseptic ointment and several sterile bandage strips for those unavoidable accidents that just happen no matter how much planning and prevention is made.

Rounding off the list of essentials are any medications you may require, especially for those due to any allergies. I always keep a couple of latex condoms and water-based lubricant in mine for those opportune moments that sometimes occur when one is outside and nature comes calling.

These suggestions shouldn't fill up a standard sized fanny pack. There will still be room for a compact digital camera or PDA and any other sundry items you may need.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Author's Note: This is a modified and updated repost from 4/19/11.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Earth Day Weekend

Celebrate Earth Day, everyday!

"The demand that we always wear clothing while in society causes at least four kinds of alienation: it alienates us from ourselves, from others, from nature and from the Divine."
~ Mark Storey ~

No matter where we live: inner city, urban, suburban or rural; do something today to preserve and to protect our environment, our home.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bill Cosby: Guns To Blame, Not Race

Noted comedian, commentator and community activist Bill Cosby blames "that gun" for the untimely death of Trayvon Martin this past February, not racism or self-defense. "I'm a person who believes that that gun, all around this United States. When a person has a gun sometimes their mind clicks that this thing is, it will win arguments and straighten people out, and then in the wrong hands and the wrong mind, it's death," he added on a CNN interview that was broadcast this past Sunday, April 15, 2012.

Cosby further explained his remarks with he wasn't referring to having a gun for self-defense inside a private residence; instead, he addressed the issue of volunteer neighborhood watch participants "that when you tell me that you're going to protect the neighborhood that I live in, I don't want you to have a gun. I want you to be able to see something, report it and get out of the way. I don't want you to get hurt and I don't want to hurt anyone."

Mr. Cosby then offered that determining if racism is involved in an incident doesn't solve anything. If a person is scared to death and feels imminent physical harm, whether or not he's a racist or not matters little if he's carrying a weapon at the time.

The award-winning and beloved entertainer is, himself, in a position to speak to this topic. His own son, Ennis, then age 27 years, was killed by gun violence in 1997. His son's killer was sentenced to life in prison without parole for shooting the younger Cosby in a holdup as he (Ennis) was fixing a flat tire near a freeway offramp.

On the gun issue, I agree with Mr. Cosby. Regardless of what the Bill of Rights in our Constitution protect, guns have become a serious and devastating plague raging out-of-control in this country. Slightly more than 40% of the total population have access to a gun, illegally or legally, at any given time. Gun-owners argue that guns don't kill people, people kill people. That may be true in their eyes; however, it takes a person to pull the trigger and with almost half the nation having a weapon at their fingertips, the recipe spells disaster.

Anyone has a basic right to bear arms. I don't like it, but I respect their prerogative. But gun ownership, like a driver's license, is also a privilege. We need strict background checks (standard for all as it's a constitutional guarantee), a national uniform waiting period before a person takes possession of the firearm and a central gun ownership clearinghouse and registry that has enforcement authority.

And we need a tax on the weapon(s). Any source of revenue will be strictly monitored by the taxing jurisdiction. Doubt me? Just look at the IRS or any state or municipal revenue agency. If it involves the collection of monies, federal, state and local governments will oversee the administration, trust.

Had George Zimmerman, the alleged killer of Trayvon, not had a gun (his was a licensed weapon), this whole senseless waste would never had happened. Trayvon would have his life and George would have his freedom. Up to this point, I'm on the same page with Mr. Cosby, one-hundred percent.

Unfortunately, Trayvon's shooting was allowed to spiral well beyond a gun issue. What's unique about the Trayvon Martin tragedy is that the perception of racism is indeed present and seemingly officially sanctioned, at least at the local government level. When Zimmerman called police to report a suspicious individual, he was instructed not to approach nor confront the suspect. Apparently, the fact that Martin was an African-American teen wearing a hoodie sweatshirt was seen by both the alleged perpetrator and municipal public safety personnel as sufficient evidence of his guilt.

Mr. Zimmerman totally ignored the warning and proceeded to take matters on his own. That, alone, should have, at the very least, warranted a formal charge or citation from law enforcement. Unauthorized discharge of a firearm in a residential area, no matter the Florida stand-your-ground clause, justifies at the minimum a summons.

An armed adult, acting on his own and against instructions that he not engage, shot and killed an unarmed minor in possession of a soft drink and candy (which had been purchased, not stolen). Regardless of the perceived threat to the shooter, police should have considered the very real threat felt by the victim in being confronted by an armed stranger with no official standing. Florida's stand-your-ground law applies both ways in this case. It wasn't designed to be a one-way street to excuse an otherwise inexcusable shooting.  

Multiple 9-1-1 emergency calls to police to report this disturbing incident should have alerted law enforcement that a thorough investigation was necessary. The obvious fact that a number of citizens were upset by what was happening in their neighborhood again, are indicative that the initial altercation and subsequent killing need more than merely a speedy and generic paperwork trail.

Every state has an assault with a deadly weapon charge as a part of its criminal code. At the very least, police should have issued this offense as a preliminary action pending further evidence and investigation. A young human life was ended as a result of this situation. Allow the wheels of justice a chance to turn towards truth as to what really occurred.

I concur with Mr. Cosby's assessment that guns are a major problem facing our society. Sadly, that fact became secondary as the clouds of injustice and racism were permitted to obscure truth with the untimely death of Mr. Trayvon Martin.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nudecentric Briefs: GNI Getaways



Gay Naturists International (GNI), one of the premier gay naturist/nudist organizations worldwide for men, announces several new excursions for those seeking a break in the daily routine. If you've been remiss in planning some much-needed nakation time for the upcoming summer season, these may be an option or perhaps a resource for a new adventure on some later date. In either case, these excursions are co-sponsored by GNI with various local and/or regional queer male groups. If you're interested and require additional information on one or all events listed below, check the GNI website at: . The sites for the respective local sponsoring organizations are listed under the individual appropriate activity. Please note that what is published here is all the information that I have to date on these nakations.

GNI Naked Getaway: Palm Springs, CA
Friday through Sunday, June 1-3, 2012

GNI partners with the GNI-affiliated club, Los Angeles Nude Guys (LANG) on a weekend in the lush, desert oasis of Palm Springs, CA to help celebrate the club's 25th anniversary. You can get a room at Warm Sands Villas for the entire weekend, or join your naked buddies there with a weekend day pass. Either option includes cocktail parties on Friday and Saturday and a buffet dinner on Saturday. 

Celebrate Toronto Pride With GNI and TNT!MEN
Friday through Sunday, June 29-July 1, 2012

Join with the GNI-affiliated club, Totally Naked Toronto! Men Enjoying Nudity (TNT!MEN) at its annual Pride festivities, including its famous monthly naked dance on Saturday night. If you're feeling brave, march nearly naked (shoes are required) on Sunday afternoon in the Pride Parade, one of North America's largest. Note: TNT!MEN events are not part of the official Pride Toronto schedule.

GNI Naked Getaway: Key West, FL
Wednesday through Sunday, July 18-22, 2012

GNI returns to Key West, FL as a co-sponsor of the semi-annual Bone Island Bare It All Weekend. Enjoy naked parties at inns and nightclubs in walkable, historic Old Town, as well as opportunities to shop, sail or dine naked. An event pass will be available to save on individual cover charges. Gay guesthouses fill up well in advance, so early reservations are recommended. Check out: for information as it becomes available and to book. The currently displayed schedule from December, 2011, provides an idea of what to expect, but it will be updated as the July event approaches. The next such event after July will take place November 29-December 2, 2012.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dancing Gay And Nude For Pay

The reality is: there are men who make a decent living from being naked, dancing and entertaining gay men, whether or not they're queer themselves. Nude for pay. These gentlemen may or may not be naturists/nudists. They perhaps are starving collegians who appear without clothes to pay their way through university. Then again, they could be working a second job to simply help make ends meet. In today's economy, it's feasible and more than likely true. Possibly they are stay-at-home dads who keep the kids during the day while their spouse is at work and then go off to earn a living after normal business hours. Or, they just might be exhibitionists who see this as an ideal employment. Last, but not least, maybe they really and truly are same gender loving naturists/nudists who actually like to dance or a skilled dancer who enjoys performing nude.

Whatever the reason for their dancing nude or as-close-to-nude as possible, these men are trying to make an honest living. What's more, they're legitimately employed, paying their bills and not breaking any laws. Yet, despite their hard work and their contributions to our national economy, more often than not, they're still looked down upon by most of the population, sometimes us queer folks but more often than not, heterosexuals of both genders. Not all, but a sizable number of both persuasions.

I mean, c'mon, think about it for a moment. For one, the work isn't at all that glamorous. In fact, all those nocturnal hours after a long day of whatever have got to become tiring after awhile. Night on top of night of performing practically the same routines have got to take a serious toll, physically and emotionally. That's not even to mention the overall monotony. Then, there's the drain and strain on a mans' social life. Consider this, the dancer is working while the rest of the world, gay and straight, is usually partying and playing. That's bound to challenge any hope of building a relationship. On the flip side, most dancers are off and free while the rest of us are toiling away in our respective careers. Not conducive to dating or simply hanging out with acquaintances and friends.

Then, for a minute, recall the actual work environment. Practically all dancers are employed in establishments that attract and cater to the drinking (alcohol) crowd. In many cases, the clientele generally arrive at these bars after an evening of imbibing elsewhere and some of these probably partook of other substances while or in-between consuming their liquid refreshments.  At first glance, these conditions might make the job initially appear, shall we say, exciting and interesting. However, most of us will admit that repeatedly, night after night, this too will get old and tiresome, fast. There are only so many ways to handle so many men under the influence of their substance of choice.

Accompanying all the attention bar patrons give to the entertainers is the unwanted physical connection. Some men slip a performer a one-dollar tip and think it gives them unlimited license at the complete buffet. Outside of the usual contact professional sports, no other employment involves as much physical interaction, save perhaps sex workers (exchanging sex for money). Groping, stroking, pinching and squeezing might seem sensual to the outsider; but, night after night is not a pleasure to the person laboring to earn a living. Especially when the man offering these advances more than likely won't remember his behavior (nor recognize the man he's fondling) the next morning.

Remember, in most localities, touching between a dancer and patron is illegal and in some cases grounds for arrest with the possibility of incarceration and/or exorbitant fines. When this happens, we all know precisely who law enforcement or alcohol licensing personnel are going to believe. This results in the very real fact that a dancer will be fired should management witness just one instance of any contact between a performer and the public. Even an innocent touch when giving a one-dollar gratuity can lead to immediate dismissal and loss of income.

The workplace site issues aside, there are other points to ponder. The constant need to exercise or workout just to keep a pleasing public image. For most dancers, this means a few hours daily, no matter how exhausted or worse, sick. Skipping even one session can cause an entertainer to lose their edge or cause a misstep in a routine. Nothing can end a career faster than becoming sloppy and off kilter.

In addition to the requirement of training and keeping in shape is the endless need to rehearse. After all is said and done, practice does equate perfect. Miss only one beat and the entire dance can literally unravel, fall apart. Then, there is the creative aspect. A conscientious dancer must choreograph and develop new routines using different and complex moves in order to remain ahead of the game. A stale and predictable performance can just as easily become the proverbial swan song on the bar or stage. Gyrations and thrusts can carry an audience just so far. It takes both an innovative mind and an agile, yet, compliant body to keep men entertained. None of this comes easy or overnight.

All this, please trust me, there are also many other issues at stake here, for a job that doesn't pay all that well. A paycheck, at best, usually reflects only hours worked and the wage scarcely matches the prerequisite skills and dedication. Wage increases are virtually unheard of in this profession. Employee benefits, such as health/medical insurance, paid leave or retirement, for the most part are nonexistent. All things considered, when men refer to a thankless job, gay nude dancing immediately comes to mind.

Why do men do this? The reasons are as diverse as the number of men dancing naked. They may be serious, committed trained dancers, dedicated naturists/nudists, amateur dancers or performers with skills. They may be exhibitionists. They may even be between jobs or just the curious trying it out for fun. Regardless of the motivation, these men are involved in an honest job in an effort to pay their way in this world.

So, why all the hatred, judgement and scorn? Jealousy? Envy? Gymnophobia? Homophobia? Insecurity? Self-loathing? Who knows for certain. Just as there are as many reasons for dancing naked as there are performers, there's probably as many for ridicule as there are detractors. One point to ponder here: the most vocal bigoted opponent of gay nude dancers is the one who is eventually caught with his pants down in a compromising situation with one. Shakespeare summed it up best when he wrote: Methinks he doth protest too much. Food for thought, my brothers.

By the way, look for me the next time you visit your local dance establishment. I go onstage shortly after midnight, Tuesday through Saturdays!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter Peeps

Now that both Eastern and Western Easter celebrations are over, the holiday "sugar high" has manifested itself. I admit it: I am a sugar addict. I love the commercially produced traditional seasonal treats, especially the Peeps candies and chocolate-covered coconut creme eggs. For as long as I can remember, those two have always been my all-time favorite sweets. Of course, afflicted with an insatiable sweet tooth, I rarely refuse any type of candy, Easter or otherwise. But, faced with a choice of Easter delicacies, I'll choose those two over all the others, anytime!

Truthfully, Peeps candies have no nutritional value whatsoever. They're essentially nothing more than marshmellow and sugar, lots of sugar, and artificial coloring. There's no way they'll satisfy any hunger pains. More than likely, consumed in excess, the only satisfaction they'll deliver is a stomach-ache and tooth-decay. But, they are just too damned good!

Traditionally, Peeps were manufactured as bright yellow or shocking pink baby chicken-shaped treats. These originals remain my preference even today. They evoke memories of childhood when after the festivities of the extended family Easter celebration, we's be tucked into bed by our parents with a small basket of Peeps and a few other holiday candies with the strict admonition: "None until after breakfast tomorrow." I'd dream of Peeps as these sweet little chicks danced in my head. Now that was literally "sleep in heavenly peace" (Oops! Sorry, wrong holiday). As a child, nothing was more comforting than having my own little supply of Peeps resting beside my bed on my nightstand.

Easter Monday would always dawn bright, regardless of the outside weather. I'd bound out of bed eager to consume my breakfast. I knew, at that early age, that once this chore was finished, I'd be free to begin my feast of Peeps before having my dessert of chocolate-covered coconut creme eggs. Two days of extravagant feasting, back-to-back. As an innocent child (okay, the innocence part just maybe a stretch), who could ask for anything more? Life is DEAFinitely good!

Nowadays, Peeps come in a variety of colors. They're also shaped like tiny bunnies and eggs. No matter the color or image, they're still all marshmellow and pure sugar. There's no way to improve on what's already perfect, right? It's so nice to know that some things in this life never change. Peeps are and will always be what they are: delicious and good. Nothing more and nothing less.

As a child, I never thought about expenses. My parents always managed to host our extended family for our Easter celebration and still afford to provide us eight children with an Easter Monday special treat of an American-style basket with candy. It wasn't until much later that I realized that Greek Easter usually follows the American one by a week. Therefore, they could load up on the candy at a half-priced discount or better. Every five or six years, both holidays fall on the same date. During that lean year, we had an unusually rigid Lent.   

As an adult, I now appreciate the many uses of Peeps. As the lead photograph for this post demonstrates, some of these are quite sensual. Still, nothing can replace the simple sweetness and soft texture of this Easter delicacy. Even today, my parents continue to supply me with my own supply of Easter Monday essentials. In abundance, by tradition, are those special delights: Peeps. Yes, my friends: Easter is absolutely always happy! Life is DEAFinitely good!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!
Authors Note: The first photo features model and friend, Mardi Reid. Visit his blog:  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter: Greek Style!

For more than 125 million Eastern Orthodox Christians, Sunday, April 15, 2012, is the Feast of the Resurrection: Easter. It is the holiest day of the year on our liturgical calendar. Regardless of the nature of our individual religious observance, this holiday is a basis of both our culture as well as our faith. Our churches, as Orthodox Christians, are organized along ethnic or national traditions. As a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, I know this all too well from my own personal experience and upbringing. There's no way escaping its significance within our community, our heritage and our national psyche. As Greeks, whether native, expatriate or through origin, Easter is our celebration of life and our celebration of hope.

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, our houses of worship are adorned with sacred images, referred to as icons, instead of statues. These icons depict the elements essential to our faith, as does the Resurrection Icon shown to the right here. Easter is, first and foremost a religious celebration and the feast begins with services in all the churches that begin at midnight, the advent of the Holy Day. Afterwards, families and friends return home to break the customary strict Lenten fast with a breakfast of foods denied during the penitential season: meat. eggs and dairy products. This is the origin of the Easter egg. Greek custom is that all eggs are dyed red: the egg itself representative of rebirth through the belief in the Resurrection and the color red a reminder of the blood shed during the crucifixion. For Greeks, young and old alike, there is the Easter game played with the holiday eggs when exchanging the Easter Greeting with loved ones and acquaintances. Personally, I enjoy the game more than I do the festive breakfast. This is probably due to the eternal inner child within.

The religious obligation fulfilled, the feast day itself takes on a life of its own. For some, this is the traditional Easter meal that usually includes multitudes, with dancing, card games and of course, egg hunts. Others celebrate through street fairs, Easter festivals and other styles of celebrations. For many in Greece the day concludes with fireworks. In my family, the day entails a large mid-afternoon feast of traditional Greek holiday delicacies for the extended family and guests that ends with everyone joining in folk dances accompanied by live musicians (uncles and cousins).

Like what's happening in virtually every aspect of our modern lives, our ever-shrinking world often blurs ancient with contemporary as our cultures adapt to changing times. Greeks aren't immune to this phenomenon as the above graphic illustrates. Inscribed on the shield of the classic Greek warrior is "Easter" written in modern Greek. Commercially produced greeting cards are becoming increasingly popular as a means of conveying seasonal sentiments to those we love but are unable to physically reunite with for the holiday. The sacred combines with the secular as a means of allowing people to personalize their modern Easter celebrations.   

Of course, humor and satire always manage to find a way of incorporating themselves into our holiday observances and Easter is no exception. For whatever reason, I don't seem to be able to recall egg decorating being quite this much fun and interesting while growing up. The above picture clearly demonstrates the creativity of the human species; proving once again that necessity is the mother of all inventions. I wonder if the Easter Bunny is hiring new assistants?

Greek Pride is Easter Pride!

Kalo Pascha: Happy Easter!
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Photoessay: April Progress...

April has always been, and continues to be, one of my favorite months of the year. First and foremost, it is the initial full-month of the Spring season. It marks the gradual change from the drudgery of winter into the glory of longer days, warmer temperatures and renewal of the splendors of nature. Daily, we witness the return of a comfortable, moderate climate that invites us to once again experience the joys of life. Slowly we are able to shed those burdensome layers of clothes that frigid winds force us to wear.  

As we progress through the month of April, we are beginning our celebration of both our bodies and our nudity. We welcome the chance to free ourselves from the artificial and cumbersome restriction that clothing forces us to endure as we anticipate the complete liberation of our physical selves that only comes when we return to our total nakedness.

The month of April is our collective reward for enduring the harshness of the winter-time and enables us all to experience for another year the brotherhood that unites us as we share with each other the beauty of our social nudity.

April marks the end of our concealment and confinement underneath an artificial and deceptive veil that encumbers our bodies and our spirits. April brings to us the gift of emancipation from all that shackles our souls.

Finally, free again to be me, naturally! Thank you, April!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!    

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Retrospective: Mike Wallace And The Homos

Looking back, a very few of us live a life that is free from at least a minimal amount of regrets. All of us have a number of the proverbial "skeletons" within the closets of our individual lives. This is a part of human nature. Celebrity status exempts none of us from this reality. We are all susceptible to this folly at one point or another. None of us have a crystal ball with which to accurately and successfully view the future. Fortune cookies and tarot cards are unable to provide us with foresight.

This past weekend, noted news correspondent, media journalist and longtime CBS 60 Minutes anchor Mike Wallace (1918-2012) died at the age of 93 years. Wallace's career spanned the early age of television to and including its middle age and beyond. He was a respected reporter and widely admired both on the CBS network and across the television viewing audience. In his later years he suffered from dementia and was unable to interact with others.

His death has sparked a number of commentaries and editorials in the queer media regarding a particular broadcast special he hosted for his network in 1967.  This documentary was entitled The Homosexuals and was both controversial and groundbreaking when it aired nationwide. Filmed before the Stonewall Riots and just as the same gender loving community was beginning to gain some national attention and visibility, it brought our culture and our lives into the homes of millions of Americans from coast to coast, many who were unaware of our very existence.

At the time The Homosexuals was shown, both homosexuality and sodomy were criminal and illegal  almost everywhere in the United States and most of the world. In the eyes of the medical establishment, it was universally considered an aberration, a disease, a disorder. The overwhelming majority of our community were deeply closeted and as a result, invisible to society. GLBT people could be fired from jobs, disowned and ostracized simply for being suspected of "living the life." Legal protections and basic human rights weren't even a proverbial pipe dream. They just didn't exist. As far as as the mainstream society was concerned, we were not an appropriate topic for decent conversation or consideration.  Such was the era in which this broadcast was viewed.

Mike Wallace (pictured above in later years) hosted this television feature. Of course, The Homosexuals reflected the popular version of what it was like to be gay in 1967. The piece did include several homosexual men anonymously; but, by and large, it was a slanted and subjective televised documentary that, in retrospect, reinforced misconceptions, misinformation, myths and stereotypes. It could hardly do otherwise as the available authorities and professionals at that age were of the ilk of Drs. Irving Beiber and Charles Socarides. These so-called "experts," esteemed and respected at the time, spouted their ignorance as accepted medical knowledge. These opinions espoused by these two and others have since been debunked and disproved. Unfortunately, the falsehoods they presented as science linger even today.

Hence, the recent post-mortem criticisms of Mr. Wallace. Critics argue that his appearance in The Homosexuals as host and commentator harmed our community. True, we still suffer the legacy of the uninformed scientific opinions expressed on the show. That, however, will be with us all for quite a long time. If it wasn't on this piece, there were enough theories by the above-named and others, both published and broadcast, to fuel our detractors for generations to come. This attempt at factual presentation by CBS isn't the sole source of lies used by our haters.

Additionally, many blame Wallace for his remarks during the program that disparaged being gay. Yes, his words were indeed insensitive but we need to remember that his comments were made at a time when such views were generally accepted as truth. His participation as the anchor and reporter were a part of his job; his delivery was based on evidence backed by the experts featured in the segment. If tomorrow we all woke up to be informed by scientists that the moon is indeed made of cheese, can any of us be blamed for believing otherwise? Hardly.

I didn't see the original airing of The Homosexuals, I was born just months before. I have read the transcripts and have experienced some of the discrimination as a result of the myths perpetuated by those who use it as a tool of marginalization. However, I can scarcely hold Mike Wallace accountable for what was then widely accepted as an informative journalistic broadcast given the limited knowledge on the subject.

In fairness, later in his career, the late Mr. Wallace did host segments and reports that were favorable to the GLBT community and demonstrated compassion towards persons living with AIDS. I think this exemplifies both his integrity as a journalist and his lack of animosity and bigotry against our culture. Before he began to manifest dementia, he did publicly share his regret over the confusion and controversy surrounding The Homosexuals.

Instead of accusing Mike Wallace of indifference and irresponsibility, if we have to place blame somewhere, there are two points to recall: one, CBS network is solely responsible for the content of its' broadcasts. They, not the reporters, determine what information is disseminated. Secondly, the network does edit the content. We don't know what portions of the film ended up on the floor and wastebaskets of the editors. If anyone is really at fault for the unenlightened offerings stated in The Homosexuals, I feel we should make sure that our fingers are pointed in the right direction.

Rest in peace, Mike Wallace.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!   

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The GOP Secret...

We all have secrets: those little pieces of information that we'd prefer that others not know. This is entirely human and completely natural. It's usually both harmless and healthy; up to a certain point. That particular point being as long as no one suffers adversely. Now, in my humble opinion, if that secret does indeed create or generate hate and harm, then the "secret" crosses the line of decency and becomes a tool of deceit and obstruction. Usually, at that point, the secret then becomes detrimental to the party deliberately withholding the information and when that happens, it evolves from secret into an intentional lie.

With that thought, I ask you to consider this for the moment: If all the gay people suddenly disappeared or evaporated overnight, what the hell would the GOP have left to bitch and bemoan about? Who else would they demean, demonize, marginalize and malign? Think about it. All that seems to come out of their mouths is "gays this" or "gays that." What on earth would they use to fill the empty silence that follows when we, the GLBT population, are no longer available for their abuse and scorn?

The constant GOP practice of vocal and repetitive gay-bashing (in my humble opinion, that's precisely what it is) is harmful to our national health. It propagates hatred, myths and falsehood. It also singles out a specific population of Americans for disrespect and subhuman status. It is demeaning. It is divisive and pits Americans against Americans. No good comes from that process and it is detrimental to our health as a nation. A lesson this country should have learned from the Civil War is that a house divided cannot survive. It's a national disgrace that within 150 years later, we are repeating that same mistake.

What segment of the general population would they target next? Oh yes, the GOP needs a scapegoat to blame all that's wrong with our country. The simple fact is that they're unable to take any responsibility for their policies that have brought this nation to where it is today. Notice how after eight years of George the Second and his disastrous foreign wars it's suddenly now all "Obama's wars?" Never mind the fact that it was an initial GOP-induced economic stimulus package, it's all now President Obama's stimulus fiasco. The list goes on and on. So, if there are no longer GLBT peoples to cast all the blame upon, then who's next?

That seems to be the BIG GOP secret.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!   

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter!



For most of the world, this weekend is the date of the Easter Holiday.

For Christians of the Eastern Orthodox traditions, this is Palm Sunday and Easter is observed next weekend.

To all of you celebrating the Easter Feast this weekend, have a safe and joyous holiday!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Indulge Yourself

There's so much stress that we encounter in our daily lives. For many of us, the simple commute to and from our workplace is anything but simple; no matter the transportation method we use. The sad aspect is, that's just the beginning. The fast-pace of life today means that the job is more than just a nine-to-five endeavor. It involves time on the jobsite and usually much more, such as the commute to and from work.

Then there are the household tasks associated with employment. These include chores such as laundry (or delivery and pickup of dry cleaning), shopping and preparation of meals to take to work and vehicle maintenance. If getting to and fro for the job involves the use of mass transportation, there are several efforts involved with that process. In this hectic world in which we live, jobs today definitely require more time than time spent on the jobsite.

Given this situation, there is nothing wrong about taking the time out of our busy schedules for some much needed "indulgence time." Chill time. Me time. Times for each of us to reserve for ourselves in order to keep ourselves refreshed and renewed in face of the hectic environment most of us face everyday. We all need a break from the proverbial rat-race in order the keep or perspective.

I'm not referring just to the weekends. In this age, for many, the weekends are already too full with social commitments, recreation activities and household errands or projects. What I'm about here is a block of time that we designate exclusively for ourselves. As for myself, I keep one night during the work-week as my own. This is the one time during the entire week that I put the world on hold and do whatever I want to relax. It can be as simple as just reading, watching television or a DVD or a hobby project. Any solo activity that doesn't induce stress or create frustration. It's my time and I do whatever appeals to me at the moment.    

I find that I'm calmer and focused now that I have a few hours for me. I have patience when I'm confronted with those pesky challenges and problems that always accompany everyday life. I'm better equipped to keep my temper in check and maintain a positive attitude. I'm confident that I'm in control and handle what life has in store for me.

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Royal View

Trust me, looking out of a window and having a view such as this one everyday is not something I'd expect many of us to have reason to complain. Rather, I think the vast majority of us would undoubtedly welcome the opportunity for this experience. A home with a full vista onto a naturist/nudist beach. Life is good, right? Who could ask for anything more than this? Evidently, not everyone is satisfied with this visual of earthly paradise.

Naturists/nudists advocates are attempting to have a beach in Wales, specifically, a portion of Newborough Beach, Anglesey, designated as an official clothing-free site. The beach is located near the residence of Prince William and Princess Katherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Prince William is second in line to succeed the British Throne. Their Royal Highnesses are living there while the Duke is serving as a helicopter pilot with the RAF Valley.

In all fairness, the objection to the nudist-friendly determination for the section of Newborough Beach has not been raised by either the prince or princess. Instead, the issue is being expressed by local politicians on their behalf. It seems the locals are afraid the royals may be forced to avert their eyes if confronted with public nudity.

Local councillor Peter Rogers is lobbying against the recognition of the area as a naturist site. He has remarked: "It would be better either for them to be banned or, if they are going to be there anyway, for there to be proper regulation."

According to British Naturism, a UK naturist/nudist organization, the official nudist status would benefit the local economy. Under the Sexual Offences Act of 2003, it is not illegal to be naked in public in England and Wales. A spokesperson for British Naturism has stated: "We support this call although we don't need official designation. Naturism isn't against the law; you can't legislate about what someone wears."

At this time, the Royal couple and their Household have remained neutral and silent concerning the controversy. There is some history of sunbathing nude within the Royal House of Windsor. King Edward VIII, prior to his abdication in 1936, sunbathed and swam nude in the Adriatic Sea while on a cruise there with his mistress, Wallis Warfield Simpson. Then in the 1990s, Sarah Ferguson, the former wife of Prince Edward and former Duchess of York, was photographed while sunbathing topless on the yacht of a Texas oil billionaire. This Kodak moment happened after the Prince and Ms. Ferguson had divorced.

Rule Britannia!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April: Transition Time

I love the month of April! It is my favorite month of the calendar year, even though it isn't among the hottest or with high humidity. On the plus side, it is the first full month of Spring. It's the time where we seriously begin the transition from the doldrums of winter towards the beauty and splendor of warmer and sunnier days. Physically, we start to emerge from our protective cocoon inside our dwellings and once again enjoy the freedom of living outside without the restriction of clothes.

It's true that April is usually a period of frequent and sometimes heavy precipitation. This condition may dampen the spirits of some; and, understandably so. As an optimist, I prefer to view it from the positive side: at the very least, I can look outside my windows, marvel at the unfurling of nature and dream of the upcoming outdoor adventures. Better a landscape of blossoming growth than one that's barren and possibly snow-covered.  

For me, at least, April seems to usher in a period of attitude adjustment. Most people appear to adopt a lighter bounce to their gait as we all transition from the drudgery of winter into the colorful Spring season. Almost everyone is bedecked in a smile and even their laughter becomes somewhat heartier and a little merrier. It's as though happiness overnight morphed into a contagious disease and we find ourselves in the midst of an epidemic. All around, there is a spirit of renewed optimism keeping pace with the new foliage exploding as far as the eye can see.

With each passing day, the realities of having to defrost our cars, scrape heavy frost off our windshields and shovel snow become a fading memory. Whether or not we subscribe to the naturist or nudist life is unimportant as we delight in shedding those extra layers of winter gear while the thermometer begins to rise. Mother Nature kicks in and offers her warmth at just the right moment.

Of course, for myself and all my nudist brothers, Springtime brings another special reason to be joyous. We are able to open our doors and windows with the warming temperatures. At last, once again, we are able to step outside and allow the sunshine to bathe our bodies as we join in the frolic outside among the beauty of our natural world!

Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!