A Change campaign directed at Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, by Héctor Martínez, President of the Mexican Nudist Federation and prolific creator of naturist content on social media
Héctor’s YouTube channel containing hundreds of videos, 1,3 million subscribers and over 200 million views was removed today. He has initiated a Change petition asking for the support of the naturist community:
Depictions of non-minor persons of either sex either in public or in private in a non-sexual, nude state shall not be prohibited by social media sites or their providers if and when the depictions are intended by their disseminator to be of an artistic, educational, or documentary nature and/or facilitate the formation of an educated opinion on a subject whereby the unclad persons depicted must have given their permission – either expressed or implied – that their image be stored or transmitted by electronic means.” The definition of non-sexual nudity is any bare-skinned or clothes-free state that prima facie does not intend to cause or induce sexual arousal or sexual gratification.
Open letter to YouTube, after they closed my channel today, May 16th 2020.
My name is Hector Martinez. I’m a creator of naturist content and since 2016 I’ve been an active advocate of naturism on YouTube. The purpose of my channel is to educate society and in doing so promote society’s viewing the body as what it is: natural and normal. I am also the president of the non-profit Mexican Nudist Federation (http://fednudmex.org), an organization in Mexico whose goal is normalizing the human body and promoting body positivity. I think we can all agree that modern western society has trained us from an early age to see nudity as something wrong, something harmful or strictly for sexual gratification; a point of view that we believe has caused countless social and psychological problems. In my videos I document, both visually and in the narration, that nudity isn’t synonymous with lewdness, erotism or sex. That is now, and has always has been, the sole purpose of my channel. But now , in an unexpected turn of events/unexpectedly, a decision has been made by someone – or something – at YouTube to remove my channel. And with something as simple as the flipping of a virtual switch, hundreds of videos, the support of 1.3 million subscribers, and over 200 million views were wiped out. Hours, days, and weeks of video documentation of the nudist movement in Mexico and, in particular, my experiences as a Mexican naturist were instantly blocked on the platform. This isn’t just censorship of me as a simple content creator, but it is a form of institutional silencing of a grassroots movement by a platform that, up until now, had promised to be a place where millions of naturists worldwide could have a voice; this is especially important since our community has been systematically expelled from nearly all the other mainstream social media websites. It’s particularly surprising, given how over the last three years I have been able to upload over a hundred videos on your platform; videos that aligned with the accepted depiction of nudity under your community guidelines, these being “for Educational and Documentary purposes”. But it hasn’t always been easy: the algorithm you at YouTube use to identify sexually explicit videos constantly flagged my videos and doled out strikes for supposedly breaking the community guidelines; however, I appealed the decision every single time and each time a real person looked into the matter, the videos were unblocked and, consequently, the strikes struck from my record. This tells me that real people, not algorithms, can identify intent; case in point: as soon as a real person is involved, the following happens: the true intent of a video I’ve uploaded to my channel becomes obvious to the person checking the video, who then determines that the video in question is not intended for sexual gratification, and my channel and the video are restored. I ask you what’s changed? What’s different this time? Why is it that, while your policies say that in order for a channel to be eliminated it must have at least 3 strikes, you eliminated my channel which doesn’t have any? So YouTube, I have two simple questions for you: 1.) what is your stand on this as regards my channel, and 2.) why are you so inconsistent when it comes to naturism on your platform? On one hand, you acknowledge that nudity doesn’t always have to be, and f’m quoting you here, for “sexual gratification” and, accordingly, your terms and conditions make provisions for that. But on the other hand, it seems your content checkers aren’t able to tell the difference. I think all of your subscribers and content creators would benefit from some sort of consistency in this matter and would appreciate an answer. You could, of course, try to hide behind the easy one-size-fits-all idea that nudity in public is always lewd. It’s funny how, by deplatforming the one of the few voices who want to change this idea, you are, in a way, perpetuating such a mentality. As a naturist, it’s scary to see how the censorship of our ideas has become all too common on the Internet we all use and enjoy. As I said before, my videos document my life as a Mexican naturist and, possibly more importantly, the growth and promotion of naturism in Mexico. By these means I aim to educate society in general and promote the view that the body should be seen as something natural. I know from personal experience that naturism has led to people having life changing experiences; it has helped them feel more comfortable in their own skin and gain a level of self-acceptance they didn’t know possible. How is my work advocating naturism any different from any other social movement that aims to improve people’s quality of life and self-fulfilment? I know I could choose to just get upset at the injustice of it all and learn to just let it go. Or I can choose to do something about it in the hope of being able to make a change. Youtube, it’s time you take a stand on whether non-erotic social nudity is welcome on your website and for you to tell our growing global community whether we are an unwanted minority on your platform or not. #YouTubeTakeAStand End of letter.