|When it’s too chilly to expose your willy
story by Julie Weisberg /
Nov 04 2004
With the summer sun gone and the fall leaves turning, most of Ottawa’s queers are adding a fashionable layer of clothing or two to help keep warm in the cooling Canadian air.
But not GoNuts, Ottawa’s only gay male naturists group, whose members are always trying to find clever ways to take it all off.
“We don’t look at ourselves as being naked, we’re just comfortable,” says Louis Gauvin, one of the club’s long-time members.
GoNuts, an acronym for Gay Ottawa Naked Under The Sun, is a recreational organization for gay and bisexual men who enjoy socializing in the nude.
Philipe Fraser, one of the group’s founding members, says the word “naked” was purposefully chosen to help form the group’s official title — instead of “nude” or “natural” — because it helps to convey the easy-going, social nature of the group.
“Naked is just a much more playful word,” Fraser says. “And we’re here to have fun.”
Although first formed in 1995, the original organization was forced into hiatus in 1997, after members began to drift away due to a lack of volunteers and leadership needed to keep the club moving forward.
Then, in 2001, the group reformed with a strong commitment from coordinators to keep the group active and growing.
Since its reformation, membership has steadily increased to more than two dozen active members.
One of the most important organizational tools the group has at its disposal is its Yahoo Groups website, which is not only used by members to communicate with one another, but also with other male nudists.
“It has made our lives easier and some people have even found out about us that way,” member Tony Gibbs says.
According to Paul Robertson, one of the founders of GoNuts’ second incarnation, nudism has been a growing interest in Canada since the 1940s. Robertson says after Canadian soldiers returned home from fighting in the Second World War, they brought back with them many of the more progressive ideas circulating at that time in Europe — including the concept of recreational nudism.
The premise behind the group is a feeling that clothes can often act as a barrier between people communicating openly with one another. And so, members argue, nudity incorporated into a social event can actually help facilitate a sense of ease and relaxation by removing “the mask we often wear in public” — clothing.
“It’s one thing to show up for a house party, it’s another thing to show up naked,” says veteran member Scott Tomlinson. “But that’s part of the fun, that you’re breaking a social taboo… it’s a freedom.”
With Ottawa one of the coldest national capitals in the world, however, being naked year-round is not easy.
But by getting creative, the GoNuts manage to organize a variety of naked social events throughout the year.
While the short-lived summer months are filled with pool parties, days at the beach and camping trips, Gibbs says the club continues to remain active during the winter with members hosting house parties, coffee nights and potluck dinners – as well as the occasional night out for nude bowling.
* For more information visit the GoNuts website at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/-Ottawa_gonuts or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.