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Judeo-Christian guilt makes Fort Collins' city council unfit to uphold constitution in topless rights decision

Photo courtesy of Jason Laboy

On Tuesday Oct 21, 15, in Fort Collins, CO, a six-member city council made the decision to strike down women's constitutional right to go topless in their town because they were unable to see beyond their guilt ridden Judeo-Christian upbringing and therefore violated the Colorado and US Constitutions. 

Contrary to the council's findings, women's right to go topless in public is strictly a matter of gender equality and has nothing to do with "decency" and "modesty" as they led the public to believe.  Topless rights may have been linked to decency prior to the 1930's but when men were unilaterally given the right to go topless in public in 1936, the matter suddenly became a constitutional issue violating gender equality.

Instead of focusing on resolving a gender discrimination matter, the city council preferred to echo the opinions of the members of its community equally tainted with Judeo-Christian guilt.   For example, resident Rachel Dozier came to the council meeting to testify that she would reconsider staying in Fort Collins to raise a family if topless equality passed because she holds the sight of breasts to be harmful to children.

Councilman Ray Martinez made a similarly constitutionally unfit remark when he said: " we will not allow Fort Collins to turn into a strip club". Note a comparably baseless 1935 comment from the Atlantic City Fathers who warned men challenging topless decency laws 80 years ago,  "we will not have gorillas on our beaches!".

What's most deplorable and reprehensible is the conclusion of Mayor Wade Troxell when he said that the council's ruling overwhelmingly reflected the sentiment of their community.  Should the city council have turned to a majority of guilt-ridden constituents for constitutional advice on gender equality especially when the body of a woman is at stake? 

If Fort Collins is so uncomfortable with women's topless rights, they still need to abide by the constitution.  Their only equal rights alternative is to equally ban men's topless rights.

Even Kristin Stephens, the only woman on the city council, failed to see the gender discrimination at stake and advised topless rights activists to stop wasting their energy on such worthless cause and instead to take on more worthy ones like fight for more women representation in the political arena.

Ms Stephens and other women's magazines like Marie-Claire UK who made a similar statement after GoTopless Day on Women's Equality Day two months ago need to understand that women's empowerment comes from every aspects of gender equality. It is not limited to the issues that their narrow, politically correct minds find “suitable” for a woman.   And to be clear, such noble issues range from equal pay to equal topless rights and everything in between.  

Instead of shaming women for their body and sexuality century after century let us empower them in every aspect of their lives and let them thrive in the political arena with complete pride and dignity.  A fully empowered feminine, caring voice is in dire need in the decision-making of this planet.

Yes, a women's bosom can be sexy, and so what? Our Western societies have no laws against men or women being sexy in public. Fort Collins sees countless women with sexy shorts and no one gathers at the city council meeting to testify in horror!  

Treating a woman's torso differently than a man's is exactly how we perpetrate the objectification of women. That is why both the Colorado and US constitution advocate gender equality without restrictions.  Our forefathers knew that an unfair society is an unfit society.

It is GoTopless' dearest wish that Fort Collins topless activist Brittiany Hoagland challenges the city council's unconstitutional decision and teaches Kristin Stephen a lesson in women's equality rights in the 21st century. 

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GoTopless asks Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau to stand for the right of women to be topless in public!

Montreal, August 22 – For the 8th consecutive year, the international organization GoTopless is claiming equality for women to be topless anywhere that is permitted for men, and will be out in the streets of Canadian cities – and elsewhere – Sunday August 23rd.

Sylvie Chabot, Raelian Guide and the Gotopless representative for Canada explained: "While some gains in many places in Canada now allow women to exercise this right, few citizens are educated and sometimes even representatives of the law." She added: "Just remember one event that occurred a few weeks ago in Kitchener, Ontario where Tameera, Alysha and Nadia Mohamed sisters were bothered by a police officer of this city for biking shirtless while it is legal in Ontario since 1991." A great mobilization, to which Gotopless participated, had also been organized in Waterloo on August 1st to denounce this deplorable situation.

Gotopless emphasizes that in addition to Ontario, this right is has been legally recognized in Saskatchewan since 1997 and in British Columbia since 2000. It is time that the other provinces follow suit. Gotopless also reminds that the Raelian women, part of the GoTopless group, filed a formal request in August 2014 for support at the offices of Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulclair, requiring that women benefit from the same rights as men. The organization mentioned that these requests remained unanswered.

Sylvie Chabot concluded: "We hope that these two potential Prime Minister of Canada will dare o rule on this women fundamental right in this pre-election period! In the name of freedom and constitutional rights, men and women of different beliefs, sexual orientations and associations will mobilize as long as women are harassed, humiliated or banned from sunbathing topless where men are allowed to, nor to be disturbed when breastfeeding a baby in public."

Gotopless invites all Canadians to join one or the other following actions at 1PM:

Vancouver (BC) : March and demonstration on Robson

Penticton (BC) : Demonstration and March starting at the City Hall 

Saskatoon (SK) : Demonstration, River Beach

Toronto (ON) : Topless bike ride along Lakeshore from Windemere to Coronation Park

Montreal (QC) : Celebration at the Mont-Royal tam-tams on Park Avenue, near the Georges Etienne Cartier monument

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With 8th Annual GoTopless Day Parade in Venice, Calif., Women Demand Topless Equality in Venice, Calif., on Aug. 23

VENICE BEACH - Aug 20 - On Aug. 23, for the 8th consecutive year, the women’s rights organization GoTopless will hold a GoTopless Day Pride Parade on the Venice Boardwalk to demand gender equality for going bare-chested on the beach.

“Venice respected topless equality in the 1970s,” said GoTopless Spokesperson Lara Terstenjak, a Los Angeles-based actress and performer. “But since the 1980’s, an unconstitutional city ordinance has banned women from going topless. That’s gender discrimination!”

 Her organization’s mission is to see that local policies concerning public attire, whether on the beach or elsewhere, adhere to the equal rights provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

“Maitreya Rael, the spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement who inspired the creation of GoTopless in 2007, makes it clear,” Terstenjak said. “He says, ‘As long as men are allowed to go topless in public, women should either have the same constitutional right or men should also have to wear something to hide their chests.”

The Venice Neighborhood Council adopted a Topless Equality Proposal earlier this year, but it has yet to go into effect.

“The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors squelched it by saying a housing proposal for the homeless had priority,” Terstenjak said. "But reestablishing topless gender equality requires no budget, just a reversal of unconstitutional policy.”

 She pointed out that although the city and county of Los Angeles are violating California’s existing topless statute, New York City and New York State have honored equal topless rights for 20 years. 

“It’s a striking, shameful contrast,” she declared. “California jurisdictions pass discriminatory topless laws with impunity. When women’s topless rights are violated, the only acceptable alternative to revert back to 1930’s statutes that made bare male chests indecent along with women’s.”

Men taking part in Sunday’s parade will be asked to cover their nipples, since female participants must do so to comply with the law.

“Equality means all or none!” Terstenjak explained.

The parade, produced by PhenoVibe’s 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. A pre-rally party extravaganza, also produced by 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.”


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