The Real Nude Beach Body Positive Photography Project: Interview with Kwan
Meet Kwan, the 6th participant of my series, The Real Nude Beach Photography Project, which took place at Gunnison Beach in 2017. Kwan is originally from Hong Kong and first started getting used to the idea of social nudity through an unusual experience in the Navy. His first nude beach visit was at Black’s Beach, but now he frequents Gunnison as an east coast resident. Learn more about Kwan in our interview below!
Age: In his 60’s
Lives in Flushing, NY
What do you do for a living? And / or what are your favorite hobbies?
Retired. I practice and teach tai chi.
How often do you visit Gunnison Beach?
4 – 5 times a year, in the summer.
Why do you visit the nude beach?
To feel free without clothes, to let my skin feel in touch with the elements.
What made you decide to visit the beach for the first time? How would you describe your first experience?
I came a place where the land is surrounded by the ocean — Hong Kong. Hence I would visit wherever there is a beach, and I have visited beaches since my early childhood.
Did you ever get to a nude beach in Hong Kong? Where was your first nude beach experience?
No, I didn’t get to visit a nude beach in HK, there wasn’t one. I was taken by a coworker of mine to Black’s Beach in California when I was in the Navy in San Diego. It wasn’t too much of a surprise for me because we were almost naked in a traditional naval ritual when we crossed the equator, except that there were no women.
What ritual was that?
Only those crossing the equator for the first time were subject to the treatment. You were stripped down to get hosed down after being submerged in leftover meal for the past 3 days. It was pretty much a standard tradition at the time for the Navy.
What do you like about Gunnison?
Friendly people who don’t judge, and a large area to pick your spot.
Do you identify as a nudist or naturist? Why or why not?
I am more of a naturist than I am a nudist, I tend to enjoy more with outdoor activities.
Has visiting the nude beach changed the way you perceive and interact with others?
I find it easier to interact because there is nothing to keep us from manifesting our true selves. It doesn’t change the way I perceive others because we are still who we are without clothes.
Has visiting the nude beach changed the way you feel about your body?
My body is mine, I enjoy myself at the nude beach and I’m not there to show off my body.
Has visiting the nude beach had an impact on your life in any significant way?
Yes, it helps me relax and unload stress from my daily chores.
Does the nude beach ever feel like a sexual environment to you at all? If so, why?
No, I have never treated nude beach as a sexual environment.
Do your friends / family know you go to Gunnison? Who do you visit the beach with, if anyone?
Yes, I let them know. Most of my friends remain reticent about my going to Gunnison. A few did raise issues about me being nude. One or two of my religious Christian friends even suggested that it is immoral, especially when there is a presence of families.
Why do you think nudity is so controversial in America?
It’s just like everything else, the law, religion, moral standards imposed by those who do not agree with what others like to do. It’s due to social norms and different viewpoints as nudity is often treated as sexual and wearing clothes as civil.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking about visiting Gunnison but is afraid to take the plunge?
Take your time and talk to other nudists you know to ease your way into it.