Back in 2012, Stephanie Co, the co-founder and then coordinator of the World Naked Bike Ride St. Louis, asked me to put together a workshop on body image to help promote the ride. In retrospect, it’s a little embarrassing that the idea hadn’t occurred to me before that, but I jumped at the chance.
I did the first Bare As You Dare: Radical Body Acceptance workshop at the old Shameless Grounds in the Koken Art Factory. It was clothing optional within the limits of applicable laws, so a lot of brave people sat together in their underwear, among friends and strangers alike, and talked about their body image issues. It was pretty incredible.
I did the second Bare As You Dare at the new Shameless Grounds in Benton Park, not long after they opened their doors in 2013, and then decided to take the show on the road.
This year, I’ve held BAYD workshops in Providence, Rhode Island for the New England Leather Alliance, in Vancouver, Canada for Westcoast Bound, and I’m very happy, proud (and more than a bit surprised) to say that this Friday, I’ll be naked on the campus of Dartmouth University, conducting a BAYD workshop for IvyQ, an association of LGBT ivy league students. One bonus of holding this event in non-food and drink establishments is that participants can, and sometimes do, go completely nude.
When I was in school, there was no booth on career day for Clothing Optional Workshop Leader, and yet somehow, in the back of my mind, I was pretty sure I’d end up doing something like this.