It is a Crazy Naked World out There

August 09 2015

Nudity is beautity, I am a nudist and it isn't a sex thing. Growing up with an abusive father and a dying mother my refuge was being naked in my bedroom. I could hide there, be naked and no one bothered me. I never knew there was a term for enjoying being naked. In 2006 an ad for Naked Bowling appeared in my email box in response to an ad I had responded a few years prior. I was nervous, but still went, in my neon purple wig. It was a Halloween, naked costume bowling. Naked bowling is to this day my favorite event. Being naked in a group, everyone is equal. Doctors, lawyers, fast food workers and the unemployed. There is a lot more honest conversation and most importantly eye contact and personal connections. Respect is the key. Nudists are the most respectful group.

Fast forward 9 years, 100+ events (bowling, tea tasting, dinners, potlucks, discussion groups, camping, casino night plus more) and I have served for the last 3 years as Secretary/Treasurer for Chicago's longest running group Chicago Area Naturist Sons. 25 years and no signs of ending. The group had rough patches, but people who cared stepped up, took over and made some tough choices that weren't always the most popular. We adjust to survive. In the early days the group survived fears of police raids by being a mailing list only via private invite and interviews to make sure members weren't police. As the dawning of the internet came, it left its days of Fold, Stuff and Lick parties to send out the mailing to an email list. Now in the age of social media we are moving away from an email list of close to 400 members to a new way to schedule meet ups. Adjusting and adapting is how any group will survive long term.

The other lifestyle choice I will share with you is about religion. I was raised, baptized and confirmed Catholic at St. Johns Catholic Church Goshen, IN. During my high school years I was highly involved at church. It was my chosen family. I taught catechism to 2nd and 7th graders. I was co-President of our youth group and I was up for a scholarship for Catholic Youth of the Year. One of my “friends” told my youth minister he had a concern that I was gay. I was pulled into a meeting with our youth pastor and was forced to go to confession, right then and there to confess any homosexual sin I may have committed, whether I had already confessed it or thought it was a sin to begin with. In college I was in Christian Campus Fellowship at Vincennes University. I was part of the worship team and outreach team. When I applied to be a resident of the house, I was told the board didn't feel it was a good idea to have an openly gay resident. Totally disregarding that I was Christian. I'm no longer part of any organized religion and due to these experiences question the existence of god.

If you are gay/bi/trans/queer/transitioning know that right now might not be the easiest. You will make it through this. If you need help or someone to talk to do not hesitate to reach out. I am here and there are great resources out there for you.

If you have questions or want to share a story with me please email me. I'd love to hear from you and plan to respond to anyone who responds.

tl;dr: he gets naked, isn't religious and wants to hear from you.

Justin Hardesty
[email protected]
Andersonville, Chicago, IL

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