Since he started organising nudist events on social networks 10 years ago, he has met a lot of new friends and is pleased to have found others who share an outlook that differs from that of the general public. “It feels like you’ve found the right thing in life,” says Zeno, “I am very happy that I have discovered that part of me.”
Although Zeno is not ashamed of his hobby, he still cannot be totally open about it. He uses two different accounts on social networks. The account he uses for his nudist persona uses a fake name and is not for family members and colleagues. Sometimes, Zeno feels more comfortable with strangers.
“Of course I want to have one identity only. I want the two Facebook accounts to be one. I really wish to. But I am used to what I have now,” Zeno says. “After all, [prohibiting nudity] is the law. What we do can be regarded as illegal.”
While some find it hard to openly defend their beliefs in public, there are others who cherish fighting for them.
Simon Cheung Pet-wu, in his late 40s, is the founder of local nudist society Body Art Association (BAA).The group was founded in 1995 and organised its first live body art show in 1999. Since then, it has been in the public spotlight for nudity campaigns and controversial body painting events. Cheung says the human body, “is an art form created by God.”
He was cautious about organising activities at first but eventually media coverage helped the group to establish a reputation. People began to understand their activities were not lewd. Cheung insists on taking measures to ensure the events stay that way.
Usually, the events attract more registrations from men but he always keeps the ratio of men to women at each event at 3:1. He says that if there are too few women, they will get too much attention and may feel stressed. There is always a private zone for women to get dressed and undressed.
BAA’s members come from all walks of life. There are millionaires and members of the grassroots. What satisfies Cheung the most is that when it comes to nudism, there is no difference in social status. “We are all equal, wearing the cloth given by God. It goes back to the starting point of nature,” Cheung says.
He regards clothing as necessary for warmth and some other basic functions but thinks it should not be a label. Cheung believes being a naturalist makes him attach less importance to fame and fortune.
Compared to the flora and fauna, he feels capitalist society seems almost brutal. “When we need to get back to reality, we refuse to get dressed. It is an inner struggle,” says Cheung, “the garment is too heavy to bear.”