The first thing people ask me when they find out I’m a nudist is, “When did you become a nudist?”
The easiest way I can explain it is that being a member of the International Raelian Movement helped me get more comfortable with my body and therefore nudity in general. Raelians believe that the body is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. We’re all different, unique and beautiful and should feel comfortable in our own skin.
Many are not familiar with or have misconceptions about the Raelian Movement in general, so I’ll just briefly explain what it’s all about. The Raelian Movement is considered an atheist philosophy. We don’t believe in a “God” that’s up in the clouds, and it’s a religion in the sense that we have an organized collection of beliefs, i.e.
- There is no God and that all life on this planet was created by advanced scientists from another planet called the Elohim (mentioned in the bible and were mistaken for ‘gods’).
- We were created to love, be happy and take care of each other.
- We need to build a neutral embassy to welcome back the Elohim so that they can share their advanced technology with humanity and help us fix this planet.
The movement was founded by Claude Vorilhon, a French journalist and race car driver in 1973 after he had a series of UFO encounters which he wrote about in a book called Intelligent Design: Message from the Designers. He has other books as well which can all be downloaded for free at http://www.rael.org. He was instructed to change his name to Rael, which means “last prophet;” hence, “Raelianism.”
There is a common misconception that we are a “UFO cult.” This may be because a lot of pictures of Rael show him with a replica of the UFO he encountered, and a lot of members don’t cut their hair and have been called “hippies.” The term ‘cult’ has negative connotations, and we don’t fit the definition of one because any Raelian is free to leave the movement at any time without pressure. We also don’t worship the leader, nor do we worship UFO’s, Rael or even the Elohim. Rael even warns us not to get too attached to him and stresses that what’s important is the message, not the messenger.
My first encounter with social nudity was actually at a Raelian self-improvement seminar in Mexico, or “Happiness Academy” as they’re dubbed. Some people were topless or completely nude during certain workshops and even though I was too shy to join in, I secretly envied their carefree attitude towards nudity. I got as far as going around in my bra for one workshop and that was exciting for me.
But I really started embracing it when I was asked to be the representative for the International Go Topless rally in Pittsburgh, PA, which is a yearly protest Raelians organize all over the world to bring awareness of women’s topless rights (www.gotopless.org) . These protests are done on or around August 26th which is Women’s Equality Day. The simple premise is that if men can be topless in public without getting arrested, women should enjoy the same constitutional right.
gotopless rally washington dc raelian movement yna
2012 GoTopless Rally in D.C. Photo: http://www.gotopless.org
I had already planned on being present at the rally in NYC, where it’s actually legal for women to be completely topless, but hadn’t decided whether I’d take off my top. Thus I needed to get comfortable being topless ASAP! I started slowly by walking topless around my house, with the shades drawn of course. The only one judging me was my dog and I don’t think he cared.
I then moved on to cleaning in the buff and walking around nude in the house. I found it so enjoyable and realized I didn’t have to put the air conditioner on all the time. I also began to sleep nude. That took some getting used to, but was completely worth it. I’m sure you know the benefits of being nude in general but sleeping in the buff tops the list of one of the healthiest things you can do for your body.
By the time the Pittsburgh GoTopless rally came along, I thought I was prepared for public semi-nudity (as I’d only be topless, not completely nude). While most of the reactions were positive (from men), nothing could prepare me for the rude reactions and gestures of some people. One woman spat on us and another covered her little girl’s eyes as they walked by. In Pittsburgh it’s illegal for women to show their nipples so I wasn’t 100% exposed. But I realized a few hours into the rally that even though it was 95+ degrees outside, I was cool as a cucumber! This is great, I thought! Why don’t more women embrace being topless? Why don’t they take off those confining bras and let the boobs breathe? That rally was a success and I’m sure we planted the seed in some women’s minds about embracing topfreedom.
From that point on, I realized that I loved being nude and didn’t care what people thought. I can’t help the way I look and didn’t ask to be born this way so I can’t let it stop me from experiencing the freedom and health benefits that nudity brings. I’m looking forward to checking out the nude beaches in my new home state which means no tan lines and best of all: skinny dipping!
More about Raelianism: Raelians campaign for human rights through a few different social justice projects, and Go Topless is just one of them. Others are Clitoraid, which is a charity that offers free surgery for victims of female genital mutilation, Aramis which embraces all forms of sexual orientations, Paradism which is a society without money, greed, and government thru the advancement of science & technology, 1 Minute for Peace which is meditating one minute as often as possible for world peace as human minds have the capacity to affect world events. And finally, the Back to Kama project seeks to bring Kama, which is the original name for Africa before it was colonized, to its formal glory by encouraging investments and projects there.