Appearances may be deceiving

It’s not the appearance of someone which dictates their character, or their motivations, it’s what they actually do that is the issue. The relevance of this discussion for the WNBR is that it’s not the clothing, or the differently clothed or coloured state of another that is the problem: it’s the demonstrative but entirely peaceful behavior that is at stake here. std-101_5004a-bcIt’s important to separate the outward appearance of someone, how they look at any given time, from ones opinion of their inner motivation.

Having the freedom to clothe your own body in the way you see fit, and not from the dictates of prudish, guilty and shameful thoughts, is a step towards personal freedom for everybody. We actually can use our own bodies and minds in the way we each choose, but we need to believe in this as individuals, and to know this as an inalienable civil right. This is what Vincent Bethell’s Freedom to be Yourself campaign , started in 1998 in London, was concerned with, and after spending five months in solitary confinement awaiting his court appearance for being a ‘public nuisance’, he insisted on attending court naked.

This was a jury trial, and he was judged by a panel of his peers, who unanimously found him not guilty of the charge. While the presiding Judge George Bathurst-Norman warned him darkly: “I would not go away too much with that idea”, he also appended the crucial: “It is simply not a public nuisance in these circumstances.” Notwithstanding the judge’s hesitating support for the defense, essentially this was a great victory for the cause for freedom of choice where individualism, and public nakedness, is concerned.

As Terri Sue Webb wrote, and as Vincent Bethell and many others also state: “To be offended by the visual appearance of another person is prejudice, akin to racism.”

Extract from the World Naked Bike Ride book, available on Amazon and all good book retailers.