We deplore any kind of discrimination within Naturism. In our ‘Aims’ set out in our Three Year Plan (available to download from the BN website) we state “We will welcome participation in Naturism by all without discrimination” – and that means EVERYONE regardless of race, colour, creed, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or relationship status. All we ask is good behaviour. All BN-organised events are open to all, though at some it is a pre-requisite to be a BN member. It is easy to join.Whoever you are, it would be highly desirable if your BN membership card allowed access to all clubs and swims but sadly, this is not the case. Although clubs and swims are members of BN, they own and run themselves, making their own decisions, though they must demonstrate certain standards before their membership is approved.Equally, most clubs are run by the members in their spare time and it is not possible for them to be staffed 24 hours and therefore allow guests simply to turn up, pay a fee and enjoy the facilities for a few hours. And, so, whilst it may seem defensive, the vast majority of our clubs will offer memberships only and ask applicants to go through a process before they can join. A big plus is that the club is more likely to be a safer place as a result – and showing the steps that are taken certainly helps us when the media want to throw mud. So, is the single men issue a real problem or is it just imagined? It’s probably a bit of both. There are plenty of single men in membership of clubs, but many who clearly have been turned away because of being unaccompanied – and often before they have even been given the chance to visit and meet people face to face. Owing to our natural human instinct to want to make a fuss when we think we’ve been treated badly, is it possible that there are simply more stories around about membership refusals than acceptances? Perhaps it is this that has created the presumption that – under any circumstances – single men are unwelcome in Naturism? And in any case, what actually is the problem with men on their own? Granted,for whatever reason, there are more men than women in Naturism but why a ‘gender imbalance’ should cause any difficulties, we don’t know. Are all club members always present so that any imbalance is noticeable? And why should there be any issue if there are more men than women around? The sadly often heard phrase ‘predatory male’ shows as much prejudice and lack of understanding as we complain about from those outside Naturism. If ‘accepting anyone’ leads to hordes of single men, we certainly don’t see it at events like Nudefest for which anyone can buy a ticket and where the gender balance is less than 2:1, men to women, with no ‘vetting’ procedure at all. One of the problems is that we often only hear of issues arising third hand, with many of the people who are turned away from clubs for being on their own not letting us know so that we can take some action. We can’t guarantee success but we are always willing to try. An interesting consideration in these tough economictimes, when all organisations struggle to make ends meet, is the act of turning away a fee-paying member who may also help with the running of the club which seems to make no sense! It’s also often said that single people may well have more free time to devote to helping the club to thrive.
At any age, for men or women, being single can be a temporary state of affairs. It very often happens that a single member of a club introduces a friend or new partner after a while. How many young single men have been turned away from Naturist clubs in the past and who are now married with the families that the clubs crave? There is a sub category – the ‘singlemarrieds’ – people with a partner who has no interest in Naturism. We can’t see that there is anything wrong with that – many millions of couples around the world will be doing different things in their leisure time, but we know that some clubs and swims are hesitant about allowing such people to join. Why? An obvious strategy is for clubs and swims to recruit more women, not just turn away perfectly acceptable prospective members because of their gender. Our recruitment strategy (also available to download from the website) has lots of ideas for how more women might be encouraged to give Naturism a try – start a campaign today!
If you have a view on this subject, whether you are a disaffected individual,
serve on a club committee, or just a member with an opinion, we’d love to
hear from you.