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.”
GoTopless to launch New York’s first Nipple Pride Parade on Sunday
NYC, Aug. 20 – The women’s organization GoTopless will launch its first Nipple Pride Parade in New York City on Aug. 23, the 8th annual GoTopless Day, in honor of Women’s Equality Day.
“For 23 years, New York has been a beacon of topless equality,” said Rachel Jessee, New York’s GoTopless leader. (In 1992, the state’s supreme court ruled for a woman’s group, the Topless Seven, establishing topless equality statewide.)
“But few women exercise their topless rights in New York even now,” Jessee said. “Shame and guilt are deeply ingrained, and they find it hard to break free. The purpose of the Nipple Pride Parade is to empower them to overcome those feelings. Decades ago, bare-chested men were arrested for indecent exposure, and many were self-conscious about going topless after it became legal. But men overcame their reluctance and women can too!”
Gotopless denounces the idea that women's breasts should be hidden because they are sexualized.
“What a primitive concept, full of Judeo-Christian guilt,” said Maitreya Rael, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement, who launched GoTopless in 2007. “I look at women’s breasts in a ‘sexualized’ way and never fight that natural, beautiful reaction! I’m very happy if women look at my nipples or ass - and they do – in a ‘sexualized’ way. We’re all sexual and that’s beautiful! Enjoy it! ”He emphasized that although it’s natural for the sight of breasts to generate sexual excitement, “it doesn’t give men permission to sexually assault or rape women." It doesn't give them the right to order us to cover up either." added Jessee
Women wishing to go topless often worry about police harassment, wrongful arrest or even being confined to a mental institution.
“That’s occurred several times in New York over the last 10 years,” she said. “The Nipple Pride Parade is the perfect venue to educate the NYPD about existing topless laws. Their duty is to protect top-free women elsewhere in public, just as they will during this parade.”
She invites everyone to participate on Sunday:
“It’s liberating and empowering to free the body from repression. Freeing nipples frees minds, restoring self-image and self-esteem. Our parades overflow with joy and fun. We’ll have breast-decorated floats and carnival costumes, topless acrobats and other performers.Sunday’s parade will begin at 12:30 PM and end at Bryant Park with more performances and a speech about the ERA and GoTopless.”
Go Topless Day, August 23, Marks 8th Year of Organization’s Efforts to Achieve Equal Gender Topless Rights
LAS VEGAS - August 17 – On August 23, timed to honor Women's Equality Day, the women's rights organization GoTopless will hold Topless Pride Parades in 60 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Montreal, Vancouver, Rome and Seoul, according to a statement released today by GoTopless.
The locations weren’t chosen at random.
“Most of these cities use indecency laws to criminalize women's bare chests in public while those same laws haven’t applied to men for 80 years!” said GoTopless Spokesperson Nadine Gary.
“While it’s theoretically legal for women to go topless in parts of the United States and Canada, many refrain from exercising that right for fear of police intimidation. Some have even been arrested for disturbing the peace."
Gary said several such cases have occurred in New York City over the past few years.
“Women who went topless there have been wrongfully arrested and taken to mental institutions,” she said. “They were later found innocent in court, but they paid a terrible price for doing something they had every right to do without harassment.”
Gary said GoTopless is currently challenging the city of Chicago in court for violating gender equality on GoTopless Day 2014.
“What’s daunting is the backlash from communities that pass unconstitutional ordinances against their own existing topless laws with complete impunity,” she said. “For example, in New Hampshire, State Senator Nancy Stiles is promising to eliminate established topless rights for women in her jurisdiction by 2016.
Gary said Maitreya Rael, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement, pointed out that women’s topless rights are a matter of gender equality under the U.S. Constitution when he inspired the creation of GoTopless in 2007. “If Ms. Stiles wants to end female topless rights, she has to end men’s topless rights too or be in violation of the constitution,” Gary said.
Her organization’s goal is to establish equal gender topless rights by August 26, 2020, the 100th anniversary of Women's Equality Day.
“Women shouldn’t be persecuted for doing something men have done for decades without any problems,” Gary said. "On August 23, we’ll stand topless with pride, free from sin, guilt, shame and gender inequality. After centuries of repression, women need to be empowered and treated as equals, as the constitution specifies.”