Reader Question: Transgender Nudists & Nudist Resorts
We got this email recently from one of our readers asking about how or if transgender people are accepted at nudist resorts:
“I am a 65 year old transgender MTF [male to female] woman who is also a nudist and a member of AANR.
I’m just starting to work with a few young people who are either MTF or FTM [female to male] transgender individuals who are also interested in social nudism. Two were members when much younger and before beginning their transition and are now thinking of rejoining. Some of the others are just individuals who wish to join others in social nudism. All of them are not sure how they would be accepted at nudist resorts and by other young non-trangender individuals.
Please offer any advice for these youth and perhaps any testimonials.
I understand their curiosity about acceptance at a resort because I have first-hand experienced both acceptance and rejection at various resorts.”
Here is our response:
We don’t know of any current clubs or resorts that bar entry to transgender people. And if there are any that do, we’d like to know about it! We at YNA strongly believe that NO nudist place should be discriminating against transgender or gender non-conforming people. While we can’t speak on behalf of other nudist organizations, we feel that all should be welcoming. If you or someone you know has had an issue at a resort, please let us know. If the resort is affiliated with other nudist organizations, we ask that you inform them as well.
As we have said many times before, our philosophy of naturism is about accepting people as they are regardless of what they look like or their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, age, tattoos, piercings, etc.
So back to the question at hand…Aside from being welcomed by management, there is also the question of whether the club’s other visitors or members will be friendly and accepting as well. The level of hospitality, towards any person, can really vary from club to club. But one of the rules of every nudist club should be to treat everyone with respect. If someone behaves in a disrespectful or inappropriate way towards any person, trans or otherwise, it should be reported and properly (and swiftly) dealt with by the resort’s management.
If the management turns a blind eye to behavioral issues in regards to trans people, it is just as much of a discrimination issue, and the community at large should know about it.
Of course, public naked places, such as nude beaches, cannot be policed in the same way. Anyone can show up, including those who don’t understand or don’t care about nudist etiquette or human decency. The only instances we’ve heard of trans people having a negative nudist experience have been at nude beaches / public recreation areas.
We also would like to point out that while most nudists may have no issue accepting people who are transgender, gender queer, etc. they may not really understand gender or what it actually means to be transgender. For anyone reading this who’s wondering, what DOES transgender mean?: Transgender means that your sex (genitals) don’t match your gender identity. As our full guide on gender explains, gender and sex are not the same thing. Sex (male, female, intersex, etc) is based on your sexual anatomy and / or genes, while gender is in the mind.
For example, if you see someone who looks like a woman but has a penis, they might be a transgender (MTF) woman. Some transgender people take hormones so that their physical body will better match their gender identity. Some get surgery for their breasts or genitals but many do not. Please note that it is generally rude to comment on or ask questions about a stranger’s genitals. If you’re not sure what their preferred pronoun is (he, she, etc) or how they identify, just ask. Basically, always treat a trans person with the same respect as you would anyone else.
Advice from Transgender Nudists
We have met just a few transgender nudists at resorts, clubs or nudie events over the years. While they are welcome, and we hope to see more in the future, they currently don’t have any significant presence at nudist places, and we can only speculate as to why.
We did reach out to our online community and trans people we know for advice, testimonials or comments about being a trans nudist at clubs / resorts. Here is what one trans woman friend shared with us:
“Last year was my first in social nudism since transition. At first I had anxiety issues going to a local beach. I felt like everyone was staring, and in some ways I was right. While some were rude, i.e. staring too long or saying something in one isolated case, they were a minority and I quickly found some allies with a few local people. It also helps knowing that they stand up for me even if things might be said when I am not around.
This year was a non-issue. While I still find quiet areas on the beach; (I am anxious around people by default) I have not had any issues this year. It seems I helped at least one person by simply being there. Late this season I was approached by a now friend who stopped and thanked me. She said that my ability to get past my bodily issues and be comfortable without clothes has helped her feel more comfortable about shedding her own clothes when she visits.
With the question of nudist resorts — so far I have not had an issue. I usually call ahead and disclose prior to visiting. I do this simply because, for now, it’s kind of obvious when I lose my clothing that I am trans. That and I would rather not make the trip to a resort only to be turned away at the gate. Resorts tend to be better as they can control clientele and kick out perverts or those being rude.”
And another trans woman said:
“I live in Maine. I recently joined a nudist club. As a transgender (m-f) also pre-op, I was made welcome. My first nude event was a nude swim people attended, 1/3 women. No problems fitting in with the other nudists, [or] swimming without a suit.”
Bottom line? Nudist resorts and private nudist events are probably the best places for a transgender person to try naturism, especially in the beginning. If you want to be sure that you’re welcome there, call their office ahead of time. (Some resorts require new visitors to call ahead anyway.) We can say with certainty that trans people are welcome at northeastern U.S. resorts like Juniper Woods, Solair Family Nudist Resort, Goodland Country Club, and the list goes on.
Though there is increasing acceptance and understanding of transgender people in society at large, there is still much work to be done for equality. In most states, there is no law that protects LGBT people from being fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes because of who they are. Not to mention the amount of hate, violence and bullying that transgender youth (and adults) experience all the time.
As naturists we can help create a more equal and just society by ensuring our own communities are open and accepting of LGBT people. And we can spread awareness and start discussions about the discrimination and other major social issues they face.
Are you a transgender nudist or trans person who has tried social nudism? Please share your experiences with us in the comments! Or feel free to email us through our website.