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On June 30, 2002, seven men were arrested for “being nude in a public place” following Toronto’s Pride Day parade. Sufficiently warned that arrests were imminent, these Totally Naked Toronto Men Enjoying Nudity marched anyway, donning nothing but their shoes and sunscreen.

Humbly formed in February of 1997, Totally Naked Toronto Men Enjoying Nudity (TNT!MEN) is a recreational nude activist organization striving to create a “nude friendly Toronto.” The group was instrumental in the restoration of Hanlan’s Point Beach’s clothing optional status as a well as creating a legal nude event in a public bar.

Since its founding, TNT!MEN has swelled to over 300 members. While a large percentage of members are gay or bisexual, participation is not prevented based on sexual orientation. The only requirements are the presence of a Y chromosome, and a desire to hang out with other naked men. Oh. There’s also a small fee. For a mere twenty dollars, one can enjoy all of the benefits of public nudity. For example:

  • People are nicer when naked. They are friendlier, less aggressive, more agreeable and open. They really do have less to hide.
  • It's a little silly. Bowling nude, for instance. Shared silliness helps to break the ice, and so people enjoy themselves more. They have a lot of fun at our events.
  • It helps overcome shame. Many people are terrified of being seen naked by others. Overcoming that shame and fear boosts your self-confidence and opens you up to more of the joys of life. It's a concrete way to tell yourself and the world that you will not be limited by your fears.
  • It's fun looking at naked people. Obviously.
  • It feels great! You feel everything so much more intensely. It's a delightful sensual experience. Try it -- you'll like it!
  • Nudism teaches you to be accepting. Seeing the flaws and imperfections in other people helps us to accept our own.1

And you can see all of this for yourself at around a dozen nude events each month. There are dances and bar parties. Skinny dipping and bowling. Recently the group even went and played naked laser tag (although they still had to wear the vests and helmets.) And each year, TNT!MEN marches naked through the streets of Toronto at the Pride Day Parade.

The club has marched, without incident, on Pride Day since its formation. This past June, however, local police had been ordered to arrest those marching nude. Four plainclothes officers followed the group along the parade route armed with video cameras. At the end of the parade, more than twenty armed officers clad in bullet proof vests awaited the offenders, promptly arrested and issued Notices of Appearance from the courts but did not formally charge the perpetrators.

Two and a half months later, the Crown’s Attorney’s office decided against charging the nudists citing that “because the seven men wore at least footware, a conviction would have been legally impossible without showing ‘a reasonable apprehension of an identifiable, substantial risk of harm to on-lookers or society.’” 2 The Crown, in effect, could not prove that seeing a naked man is harmful to the community’s standards of tolerance. After all, no one forced offended parties to continue to look at the nude marchers.

Needless to say, the Crown’s decision was yet another major victory for TNT!MEN and the nudist movement. And with the ever growing membership, and worldwide publicity this victory garnered for the group, you can bet that TNT!MEN will continue to march well into the future.

1 http://gypsy.rose.utoronto.ca/people/david_dir/tnt/index.html
2 http://gypsy.rose.utoronto.ca/people/david_dir/tnt/news/f33.html

All information came from the TNT!MEN website: http://gypsy.rose.utoronto.ca/people/david_dir/tnt/index.html, as well as a very nice letter from the site’s webmaster. E-mail: spike@etclab.mie.utoronto.ca

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