GoTopless Pride Parade in New York City to mark 8th Annual GoTopless Day on Aug. 23
NEW YORK, July 27 – On August 23, the women's rights organization GoTopless will hold Go Topless Pride Parades and other events in New York, Los Angeles and over 60 other cities worldwide for the 8th annual GoTopless Day, according to a statement released today by GoTopless.
“Our goal is for equal gender topless rights to be enforced worldwide, freeing women's nipples,” said GoTopless Spokesperson Rachel Jessee, the actress, model and performer who leads GoTopless in NYC. "In New York, police will block off streets from Columbus Circle to Bryant Park to let our GoTopless Pride Parade pass.”
She said New York is the ideal location since it's already legal for women to go topless there.
“Since 1992, New York has been one of the world’s few cities to legally recognize women’s topless rights,” Jessee said, adding that the past year has helped to further that right elsewhere. “The movie ‘Free The Nipple’ was released, and actresses and performers like Scout Willis, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Iggy Azalea have been baring their nipples publicly in support,” she explained.
GoTopless is inviting both men and women to “stand up with topless pride” on Aug. 23 to honor the 95th anniversary of Women's Equality Day and to support the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
“Spiritual leader, Maitreya Rael, who inspired the creation of GoTopless and founded the Raelian Movement, says there must be absolute equality between men and women to ensure the preservation of society,” Jessee stated. “Centuries of gender inequality and exclusive male rule created major planetary imbalances that could prove fatal to society. It’s time for change!”
She said enforcement of equal topless rights is a crucial aspect of gender equality.
“Dr. Marcus Wenner explains how banning the female bare chest harms brains of women and girls,” Jessee said. “It’s liberating and empowering for women to free their bodies from repression. Freeing nipples and bodies frees minds as well, restoring self-image and self-esteem. Therefore, our topless pride parades will overflow with bare breasts, joy and fun. We’ll have breast-decorated floats and carnival costumes, plus topless acrobats, jugglers and other performers. In New York, we’ll have a milk truck for breastfeeding moms, and we’ll conclude at Bryant Park with more performances and a speech about the ERA and GoTopless.”
Venice Beach , CA GoTopless Pride Parade to mark 8th Annual GoTopless Day on Aug. 23
LOS ANGELES, July 27 – On August 23, the women’s rights organization GoTopless will hold Go Topless Pride Parades and other events in Los Angeles, New York and over 60 other cities worldwide for the 8th annual GoTopless Day, according to a statement released today by GoTopless.
“We’re working toward freeing women’s nipples and obtaining equal gender topless rights that are enforced worldwide,” said GoTopless Spokesperson Lara Terstenjak, who leads the organization’s L.A. branch.
She said the Los Angeles Pride Parade, produced by L.A.-based Cosmic Carnival, will feature topless acrobats, stilt walkers and performers. It will begin at Navy St./Boardwalk and conclude on Windward Circle with speeches about topless equality and the ERA. A pre-rally party extravaganza, also produced by PhenoVibe’s Cosmic Carnival, will precede the parade on Fri., Aug 21, in West Los Angeles. That event will include a showing of the movie “Free the Nipple.”
In April, Venice Neighborhood Council Community Officer Melissa Diner sponsored a resolution that would allow women equal topless rights on Venice Beach. It was adopted by a 12-2 vote, but still requires county and city approval before it can go into effect. That could take time.
“The Venice Neighborhood Council’s approval is a hopeful step forward after our 8 years of activism on Venice Beach,” Terstenjak said. Now it’s time for the city and county to follow up by making equal gender topless rights a priority!”
Meanwhile, she added, GoTopless is inviting both men and women to “stand up with topless pride” on Aug 23 to honor the 95th anniversary of Women’s Equality Day and to support the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.
“Around the world, gender inequality over the centuries, including exclusively male leadership, caused imbalances that could destroy society,” Terstenjak said. “Spiritual leader Maitreya Rael says society can be preserved only when there’s absolute equality between men and women.”
Enforcement of equal topless rights is a crucial aspect of gender equality, she explained.
“Scientific evidence shows that banning female toplessness damages brain pathways in women and girls,” Terstenjak said. “We’re inviting women to free their bodies from repression and recover their self-esteem. Freeing the nipples frees minds!”
Father calls the police on woman swimming topless in river in order to "protect" his children
Emmie Tyson is a Washington State topless activist in her twenties. She shares this story about her life-long activism starting when she was 7. Recently, on July 9, a father called the police on her for swimming topless in a river because he wanted to protect his children playing on the river bank.
I identify as gender-fluid, but embrace my female body. My physical body doesn’t define my gender.
All my life I have felt somewhat disappointed by what I could and could not do as a woman. When I was a kid I dreamed of being a Boy Scout. All my friends were Boy Scouts and I wanted to join them on their adventures. Unfortunately, I could not join them. I was confused. Why couldn’t I join my friends? Why was I being excluded because of something I was born with and could not change? Eventually I accepted it and moved on.
One day, my father took me to the YMCA pool. I was about 7 years old and I loved swimming. The pool wasn’t in our town, so I didn’t get to go too often. When I got into the changing room I realized I forgot my swimsuit top back at the house. There was no time to drive back and grab it because open swim was coming to a close. My dad and I politely asked the lifeguard if I could wear some of my street clothes into the pool. He explained how only swimwear was allowed. We then asked if I could just go shirtless. I had no breasts, and if my hair was shorter I could have been easily mistaken for a little boy. He objected and said that it would not be appropriate. I went home without going swimming that day.
I asked my mom and dad numerous times why I couldn’t go swimming without a top when the boys could. Nothing they said made any sense, and it still doesn’t.
Last year I started getting interested in being involved in the topless rights movement. Being gender-fluid; some days I just don’t feel like a woman, but I embrace my body. I am treated with more respect and equality on my more masculine days. Being topless doesn’t feel wrong at all. It feels natural. All the boys were doing it, why can’t I? I can’t change the body I was born with, besides, women are beautiful.
Then, on July 9, 2015 in Snohomish WA, at 9:45 pm, I almost got charged with a crime for going topless. It was dusk when my friends and I decided to go swimming. Out of respect I asked the people around me if they minded me going topless, and nobody minded except one man. He said that he didn’t want his children "exposed to it". I walked down the river until I was out of sight of his children. I took my shirt off once I was fully submerged in the water. I had my back facing the side of the river he was on the whole time. I made sure not to let his children see, and they paid no attention to me. Once it was dark and they were leaving, I swam closer to their side of the river. About five minutes later there was a police officer on shore shining a light in my face. He asked me to come to shore and put a shirt on. He explained to me that the man contacted the police. The man claimed he “saw everything” and wanted to protect his children. The whole evening I was at least 100 yards away, underwater, with my back turned towards them, and it was almost completely dark out.
Although I had witnesses, the man almost pressed charges on me. I just wanted to feel like an equal. I wasn’t attacking his family, I was just enjoying the same rights that men have. It felt terrible knowing that I could be arrested for something on my body that I did not choose to have. I could be arrested for having something that 51% of our population has. Men have nipples, and some even have breasts! Men don’t ever have to worry about being put in jail for showing their chest off. They don’t have to worry about being constantly sexualized by the media.
If we only see topless females in porn, then of course female breasts will be sexualized. I would feel less dysphonic in my own body if I had the same treatment as men. I’ll take the good and the bad.
I just want to be equal.
Emmie is organizing a GoTopless Day event in Snohomish on Aug 23rd.