For many years, my husband and I have manned an information booth for Tiger Mountain Family Nudist Park at the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival. The park is a long time member of the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. I have had many conversations with the ex mayor, who was very supportive of our participation in the fair. However, this year, we had two separate incidents that pointed out that nudism still has a long way to go for acceptance.
The first was when Brian Twiggs, the Festival DIrector, approached our booth and insisted that one of our volunteers put his sweatpants on. He was wearing a swimsuit. The comment was “This is a family friendly event.” Apparently, there had been an unspecified number of complaints. They refused to tell us the number. We objected, pointing out that it was a swim suit, bought at a local sporting goods store. However, the volunteer immediately put on his sweatpants. After a further discussion, Mr. Twiggs relented, and also reimbursed the club for the entry fee. However, Mr. Twiggs first response was that a swim suit was not family friendly and that we were not family friendly.
The second incident occurred when I was visiting another booth, signing up as a volunteer. I overheard one of the women running the booth talking with a woman from another booth (she was able to leave her booth because one of our volunteers was giving her a break). They were saying how happy they were to not be near our booth. They didn’t want to be associated with us because we were about sex. When questioned, the one woman said they knew we weren’t really about sex, but they didn’t want the public to think they might be associated, by just being down the street. The other woman, who had accepted our volunteer spelling her, wouldn’t even talk to me. These were two groups that have had to struggle for their own acceptance, and who should have been willing to accept us in the same way.
It is really easy to think that nudism is accepted, especially when you talk among your friends about it. But I fear we still have a long way to go.