Written by Gemina
Never heard of this day? Well apparently, many of us have been missing out! National Nude Day is celebrated on the 14th of July all around the world. It’s about being comfortable and celebrating our wonderfully flawed bodies.
This is the perfect opportunity for you to expand on our knowledge and ideas about naturism in the Black community. I got the chance to interview Michelle Jackson, co-founder of BNA, Black Naturist Association. She and 5 other friends co-founded BNA. BNA came into fruition after just talking about wanting to be naked on the beach. One of the co-founders lives in Miami where there is nude beach (Haulover Naturist Beach). They went there as a group and from that experience, cultivated this Black Naturist Association that has members all over the country.
Michelle Jackson is originally from Tulsa,OK, born into a very conservative family. Her mother was more strict and conservative than her father who she describes as “more middle grown”. Michelle was raised in a single parent household as a result of her parents divorcing when she was young. However, Michelle and her father maintained a close relationship. One of Michelle's passions is her love of travel (that’s how I came to know her). “I love being able to learn about other cultures, religions, and ways of living. Traveling opened up my eyes helping me to embrace and accept the differences in the world.”
Gemina: What made you want to be a nudist/naturist?
Michelle: My first experience in a nudist setting was in Jamaica at one of the Hedonism resorts. I was there for a wedding and the resort we were staying at was their sister resort. So, myself and a few of the bridesmaids decided to go on an adventure and check it out. Let me tell you, we had a blast! It was a very liberating and free experience. After about 10 minutes of the initial shock, you realize other people weren't hung up on body images and were just there to enjoy themselves.
Gemina: What are some Myths about being a naturist community that you wish to debunk?
Michelle: First, that it’s a swingers lifestyle. This was the first thing out of my sister’s mouth when she found out I was a naturist. We are very different from swingers. We enjoy the freedom of being naked and that’s it. Now, there is a community of swingers who are also nudists but that’s not what strictly naturists are about. Second, you need a “perfect body.” I don’t have a perfect body, my boobs aren’t sitting high and I have cellulite but it is a come as you are community. There’s no shame or focus on how you look.
Gemina: What are some rules and etiquette practices?
Michelle: Please don't stare! People come in all different shapes and sizes. For example, some perverted people end up on the beach and we have encountered gaucking stares. There’s a lot of curiosity about blacks being nude. Second, do not take pics of anyone without permission. The members of our BNA are lawyers, principles, executives, etc. What we do in our private lives is not for everyone’s public consumption. Photography is prohibited on the beaches and public areas at resorts. Third, no touching!
Gemina: You are engaged. How has being a naturist affected your relationship?
Michelle: I was a naturist and started BNA before being in this relationship. My fiance realizes this is part of who I am. He is not trying to change me. He respects and accepts that part of my life. He also understands this is not a sex group. We the founders and the members of the group respect boundaries and each other.
Gemina: Your association puts on trips. Are significant others allowed to come on trips?
Michelle: Most of the members are single but one of the cofounders then fiance (now wife) came on a trip and it was fine. No issues.
Gemina: Do you feel black naturists face the same challenges as white naturists?
Michelle: Black naturists face more criticism. We get it from our culture/community as well as the older white naturists. In the Black community we are raised to cover ourselves, protect your body, and are very religious. There’s a lack of understanding there that leads to continued criticism and taboos. Even though we’ve received mostly positive feedback, black naturists are not as widely accepted. The naturist community is made up of mostly older, caucasians. I’ve gotten the sense that they feel as if we are invading their world and being older- they are still very closed minded and not very accepting of us as Black naturists.
Gemina: Where can we learn more about BNA?
Michelle: We are social media- Facebook Black Naturist Association, Instagram BlackNaturists, website is blacknaturistsassociation.com I am truebornsooner on IG if anyone wants to reach out.
Definitely check out BNA’s website and social media. They put on great trips and are available to answer any questions. There’s a lot to learn and it’s supporting a Black business. You can follow and reach out to Michelle on social media as well (IG: truebornsooner).
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Michelle and hopefully some of it was helpful to learning more about what being a naturist/nudist stands for. Now, get naked and love your body!