It is with some dismay that we learned about the City’s cancellation of the naked swim scheduled for this week at the Southland Leisure Centre. The outrage, disgust and threats of violence reached a fever pitch on social media. The City then capitulated to those threats under cover of a security review.
“The outcome of that review has suggested that it’s not prudent for us to proceed at this point in time, out of concern related to the safety of all users,” said James McLaughlin, from Calgary Recreation Services, last Thursday.
Calgary’s LGBTQ community has experienced the same moral outrage and acts of threatened and real violence in its history. In fact, the verbiage these anti-nudist thugs are using is eerily similar.
Opponents vowed to bring baseball bats to perform acts of violence. We know that threat.
Opponents vowed to publicly shame event goers. We know that threat.
Opponents labelled nudists, “paedophiles.” We know that threat.
One person shockingly wrote on the Southland Leisure Centre’s Facebook page: “Hopefully, people like this will be invited to enter the ovens.” We sadly know that threat too. In the Holocaust, an estimated 15,000 gay men were “invited” to concentration camps to be exterminated.
Perhaps unwittingly, this author evoked more complicated German history than they intended. Early 20th century Germany saw a dramatic blossoming of naturism, the nudist cultural movement, that continued through the Weimar Republic of the 1920s, eventually gaining 100,000 members. (The Weimar state also tolerated homosexuals which the rising National Socialist (Nazi) Party claimed was decadent and immoral).
In March 1933, Hermann Göring, one of the highest ranking members of the Nazi Party passed laws limiting mixed sex nudism, as a reaction to the “immorality” of the Weimar Republic. In January 1934, Wilhelm Frick, Reichmeister for the Interior, passed edicts restricting naturism due to fears that it bred communists and homosexuals.
If we want our right to live in a society free from discrimination and bias, we must protect others whose liberties are attacked. Calgary Nude Recreation, the organization who planned the cancelled event, calls their modern day opponents, “terrorists.” They are accepting donations to challenge the City going forward: here.
We will be making a donation.