GoTopless denounces Toronto’s discrimination of Ontario provincial law protecting women’s topless rights
Last year, the Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department has refused to issue the local chapter of GoTopless a permit for their rally on the grounds that the topless women participating in the event would violate the “proper attire”, code that it is still in effect this year.
Sylvie Chabot a Raelian woman priest, head of GoTopless in Canada reacted by saying: “The rule is in pure contradiction with the provincial ruling of 1996 that officially granted women the right to go topless in the province of Ontario.” (ref: Gwen Jacob was acquitted on December 9, 1996 by the Ontario Court of Appeal, http://www.gotopless.org/files/2012-07/Queen_vs_Jacob.pdf )
“If ‘proper attire’ means that women have to hide their chest in Toronto’s public parks and beaches, then men must be forced to do the same on the basis of gender equality!” Chabot added, referring to the very constitutional argument Maitreya Rael, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement, made as he founded GoTopless in 2007.
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Gotopless organization denounces the Western 'breast hijab' imposed on women at the Olympics and in daily life.’
“Meanwhile, the international community is up in arms over some female athletes wearing a hijab that’s not required of their male counterparts,” said Nadine Gary, president of GoTopless, in a statement released by the organization this morning.
She was referring to the Olympic committee’s decision to allow Saudi, Brunei and Qatar sportswomen to compete with covered heads.
“We mustn’t forget that a woman’s right to go topless is just as important as permitting her to go out without a head covering,” Gary said. “During the U.S. versus Spain water polo game, one of the players grabbed the bathing suit of her opponent, briefly exposing her breast. Now, nobody thinks twice about seeing a male nipple, but that split second of female nipple exposure made headlines. In fact, there was considerable discussion about how to prevent such ‘wardrobe malfunction’ in the future!”
Gary pointed out that male swimmers and divers can expose their naked chests while females athletes cannot.
“Still, the Western world had the nerve to cry foul about gender inequality when some of the women were forced by their home nations to wear a hijab at the games,” Gary said. “We need to acknowledge that the West also imposes a form of hijab on women when they are legally forced to cover their chests in public, and that it is a harshly punished criminal act for women to go bare-breasted, whether in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, or South America! This form of gender discrimination also stems from a male-dominated religion, just a different one. A law banning female toplessness is clearly unconstitutional unless toplessness is also banned for men. Gender equality at the Olympic Games as well as in everyday life means ‘all or none’ and nothing in between!”
Gary said GoTopless was founded by Maitreya Rael, spiritual leader of the International Raelian Movement (rael.org), an “atheistic religion” that denounces all human rights violations worldwide.
“Traditional religions are the main source of human rights abuse,” Gary said. “And that’s especially true for women’s rights violations around the world.”
She added that GoTopless is organizing GoTopless Day rallies throughout the world on August 26 to protest against gender topless inequality.
“Taking part in these rallies is an ideal way to honor Women Equality Day, which is also celebrated on August 26,” Gary said.
Femen's topless crusade against traditional religions for women's rights
The target of Femen's protests is usually towards traditional religions which are still the central reason for women's oppression around the world. GoTopless knows that first hand as women so often feel ashamed of their nude body because of their upbringing.
When asked about their provocative methods, the Femen women answer: "This is the only way to be heard in this country. If we staged simple protests with banners, then our claims would not have been noticed."
Their latest creative and theatrical style protest took place on Aug 03, when members of Femen appeared topless at the entrance of the Olympic Stadium, screaming: "we killed a generation" . One of the protesters looked straight at a camera filming her and said, "I fight for women around the world. They are not free. We are not free." The British police immediately intervened and struggled to cover the women's chest and to carry the feisty protesters away.
The protest was staged against the IOC because Femen claims officials collaborate with Islamic regimes, which suppress women's rights and cause conflict for women the world over. Femen wants the IOC to bar countries with strict Islamic regimes from participating at the Olympics.
Though GoTopless agrees with Femen that Islamic regimes are repressive and must be punished for their human rights abuse, we differ from Femen in the way to handle the request for the wearing of the hijab by some women at the Olympics. For GoTopless, at the Olympics, it is a matter of gender equal rights. Both genders should be allowed to cover their head since women are permitted (in certain sports) and both genders should be allowed to go bare chested since men are permitted.
It must also be noted that both GoTopless and Femen are non-violent activist groups but GoTopless refrains from using any violent language in its protests.
Videos of 3 of Femen's famous protests: