In a country with strong cultural and religious roots, self-expression can be tricky – over even borderline dangerous. Especially when said self-expression means being out and about naked in public.
Aditya and his friends are part of a small close-knit community of nudists in Jakarta – which has up 10 to 15 members, both men and women – as reported by BBC.
“We could face jail time if we appeared nude in public,” he explains to the news outlet. “Which is the reason why we let it all hang out in private.” From time to time, the group gets together at a holiday villa, like recently in an undisclosed location outside Jakarta.
“Within seconds, we disrobe,” he says. Then, they’d just spend a normal day together, talking about anything ranging from politics to work life.
Indonesia’s anti-pornography law can result in 12 years of jail for any sexually suggestive display or performance. This is, of course, depending on how nudity is perceived by the authorities.
Adity stresses that nudity is not the same as exhibitionism. “People here in Indonesia think that nakedness has something to do with sex,” he says. “If we strip off together, they assume it is a sex party. The truth is, there is nothing sexual about it.”
“People are so hypocritical when they think that being fully clothed is more polite than being open.”
Aditya feels that being in the nude has taught him about acceptance and appreciation of what we have. “We can be ourselves. No one body shames you no matter how fat or paunchy you are or because of your flaccid penis, breast size, or birthmarks. You are nude.”
He enjoys “doing everyday things in the buff, including cooking [his] meals.” “I take a great deal of pleasure in being naked anytime I want to. I feel happier and way more comfortable without clothes,” he adds.
That being said, Aditya laments how nudism cannot grow in Indonesia as the majority still thinks nudity is only for sexual activity.
“What I do is not pornography,” he says.
“I feel sad when they judge me and think of me as immoral, some even called us animals. I am just being myself, it’s nothing grotesque. I don’t harm anyone.”
“Most people tend to be overly expressive when they see something unusual to them. Look how aggressive they are to transgender people, they beat them.”
He claims “the only thing to change it is to increase the knowledge of nudism and spread it by using many social media or by talking to our friends. It is not an easy thing. But we can do it.”
Aditya is a photographer and currently works in a community development NGO.