Can society become more accepting of people with disabilities through naturism?

When my brother, Brian, was alive, he was living with a handicap. He had muscular dystrophy of the Duchenne type (“Dystrophia Musculorum Progressiva, typus Duchenne”). This kind of handicap is bad news – really bad.
My family and I got the news about the handicap back in 1979 (might be earlier, I was only five years old or so). We were told that my brother would likely not survive past the age of 18. Fortunately, my brother lived longer than that. He died in 2001 at 28 years old.

Muscular dystrophy is a horrible condition: it weakens the muscles and it gets worse over time. If you have the Duchenne variation, it will only get worse and worse. Between the ages of 10-12, you will probably need help with walking, and will soon need a wheelchair. Normally an electric wheelchair is provided a little later. In their 20s, many will need respiratory help and might need a respirator to help them breathe. My brother had a respirator on his wheelchair for many years.

I loved spending time with Brian, who was also the greatest best friend I could have wished for. Brian was a bright person: his brain worked really well. Together, we experienced a lot of joy, and of course, also sadness.

Stares and denigration

I have been on the sideline for most of my brother’s life,and I have experienced and noticed a lot of things. It is not easy to be disabled, many people stare at you when you’re in a wheelchair. Many people don’t think you can have a well-functioning brain when you are disabled and in a wheelchair. Therefore, they talk to you as if you are five years old. It doesn’t get better when you have a respirator on the back of your wheelchair with a tube going from the back side of the wheelchair to your throat. There is a tracheotomy in the throat where the tube goes to make it possible to breathe with the respirator.
For many people, it can be hard to understand what all this does to a human being. For example, the denigration, and in many cases, bullying. Many people who do not have physical issues have a problem with their body image. Imagine how hard it must be when you, at the same time, have a lot of people staring at you and asking “stupid questions” like they were talking to a small child.

Being naked

When my brother lived, I wasn’t a nudist. I would rather say I loved being naked, but that was alone in my apartment or on a deserted spot on the beach. Now, I have realised that I love being naked. I like going to nude beaches and on naturist vacations. Naturism has taught me that nakedness can create acceptance of your own body and nudity makes others accept different bodies at the same time. We are all different and we are all equal at the same time. Nobody looks the same and that is what makes us equal.

I can’t remember seeing any naked disabled people on a naturist beach or a naturist resort so far. It is a bit sad, because what would happen if more disabled people visited naturist places? I think people would start to understand disabled men and women much more. Additionally, those with disabilities would start to experience what it feels like to be more accepted in naturist societies, where diversity is much more accepted when compared to other places.

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