Guest Blog by: Héctor Martinez
The birth of a naturist community. The beginning of a social re-evolution.
I would like to start this article by sharing my personal experience; what brought me to naturism, and to creating Naturaleza y Nudismo Guadalajara (Nature and Nudism Guadalajara).
In Guadalajara, since 2010, there has been an annual World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) event. The purpose of WNBR is to fight for the recognition and respect of legal rights for the cyclist. The participants cycle through the city without clothes, and the nakedness is a way to show just how vulnerable we are against a vehicle. I found out about this protest in the newspaper one day. It caught my attention, so I decided to go see what it was about. While at the event I ran into an ex-colleague. He told me about his experience and how he enjoyed the ride every year.
I decided I had to live the experience that I considered (at the time) as something crazy. The following year I asked a friend (now girlfriend) to help me by painting my face because I feared being judged as insane or an exhibitionist. The experience was marvelous. At first, it was a little difficult to undress because there were a lot of people around. Curiously it took me longer to actually undress than it did to feel comfortable, naked and free!
The sensation was so pleasant that during the ride I completely forgot I was naked riding around the city. It wasn’t until the protest ended and everyone started dressing that it hit me… I was still naked. I had to sadly return to my clothes.
For several months the idea of only being able to enjoy this natural experience once a year kept floating around in my head. This caused inner conflict. The wait seemed eternal, so I decided I needed to find something naturist going on in Guadalajara. I was able to get in contact with the Mexican Nudist Federation (Federación Nudista de México A.C – official name in Spanish). They put me in contact with Marcelo who organizes clothing-optional Mesoamerican steam baths called temazcal. During my search, I felt like I was doing something clandestine but my enthusiasm never gave up. The idea of being naked and free kept me going.
Marcelo turned out to be a very interesting and hospitable person and the temazcal was exactly what I was looking for. A year of going to the temazcals passed by and we were able to meet a lot of people with whom we shared the same affinity, being able to socialize in a healthy and free environment, clothes-free. One day during one of our many chats, it occurred to us that we could enjoy other types of activities free of clothes. So we discussed it and agreed to organize an “au natural” meal at the home of one of the temazcal members.
The meal was a success, and this was the birth of our informal naturist community. Over the next several months, all sorts of different naturist events took place. Then one day I proposed to form an official naturist community so we could spread the word and invite others to get to know and enjoy this wonderful experience as much as we do. Everyone loved the idea but to find those willing to take on this responsibility wasn’t a simple task. For many, nudism was just a momentary escape from their daily reality — merely a hobby and not a responsibility.
Consequently, eight months went by without activities. I started to feel impatient and I wanted to do something about it, but the daily occupations of the rest of the members made it hard for them to participate full time. This is when I decided to dedicate my time to creating the first naturist organization in Guadalajara.
Nature and Nudism Guadalajara (NNG) was officially born on September 4th, 2016, with the intention of promoting naturism and creating an environment where this could be practiced according to our principles and values. None of us pioneers had any idea of how a naturist organization was supposed to work. I took advantage of my English skills and decided to send out messages to different international leaders with experience in promoting naturism.
One of the first to reply was my now close friend, Stéphane Deschênes, owner of Bare Oaks Naturist Family Resort. Before meeting him, I had the opportunity to hear his podcast called The Naturist Living Show, through which he helped me learn a lot about naturism and how a community would function. Stéphane has been a great supporter throughout the process. With his ten years of experience as the owner of Bare Oaks, his advice helped us become better organized. Thanks to him we had a base over which we could inspire our set of principles, philosophy, and naturist values.
I was also able to contact Juan Marcos Castañeda, president and founder of the Mexican Naturist Federation. We invited Juan to get to know our project in Guadalajara during the first edition of our naked dinner “Cena Nud,” at a downtown restaurant. The next day we had an interview for an online radio program in which we talked about naturism in Mexico.
Guadalajara is a unique venture because the community we promote, in comparison with other naturist organizations, is very young — we have members of all ages but most of the population, newcomers, and we the promoters, are very young. We are also an institution-like group, with internal processes, quality standards during our events, set of principles, name, logo, communication strategies, etc. We have many formalities that give us our identity, direction and help generate confidence among people who are getting to know us.
A problem that we noticed is that most of the information on naturism is in English and very little in Spanish. So to make this information more accessible for Spanish speakers we have started to generate content such as videos through YouTube and have launched our very own podcast called Desnudólogos (Nudologist).
We would like to position NNG as a model in Latin America. We’ll demonstrate that Mexico is fertile ground for a movement that aims to educate and help people better understand social issues around nudity, like body shame and negative body image. We believe that the more people understand these issues, the easier we can be rid of them and work towards a better world for all.
About the author: At 25 years of age, Héctor Martinez has a BA in Politics and Governmental Studies at the University of Guadalajara; he’s an English teacher; promoter of naturism in Guadalajara, Mexico; and in 2016 founded the first organized naturist group in the city: Naturaleza y Nudismo Guadalajara (NNG) ‘Nature and Nudism Guadalajara.’ Héctor has participated in many interviews for online radio programs, organized public conferences and given lectures on naturism. Héctor and NNG are currently working on a Spanish language naturism podcast called “Desnudólogos”. His ambition is to turn naturism into a social movement that aims to break from the preconceptions and taboos associated with the human body and nudity.
FG_AUTHORS: Guest Blog