in Press Releases
Topless rights case just one short step from U.S. Supreme Court
CHICAGO, Nov. 22 – On Nov. 1, a three-judge panel at the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments for equal topless rights in Tagami v. City of Chicago,bringing the legal battle launched by the women’s organization GoTopless just one step away from the U.S. Supreme Court.
“On August 24, 2013, police ticketed GoTopless activist Sonoko Tagami for indecent exposure for appearing bare-chested at an annual GoTopless Day rally at North Lake Beach in Chicago,” said GoTopless President Nadine Gary. “None of the shirtless men present were ticketed for the same behavior, so Tagami sued the city of Chicago for discrimination.”
Attorney Kenneth Flaxman has been defending Tagami’s equal topless rights since the beginning of her legal battle three years ago.
“He’s basing his arguments on the first and fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution,” Gary said. “After he argued the case before the Court of Appeals last week, he reported that one judge seemed to favor equal topless rights while another expressed the view that a woman's body contains more erogenous areas than a man’s, implying that the law shouldn’t ignore established social sensibilities concerning the covering of female breasts.”
The third judge, the only male on the panel, remained silent on the issue, according to Gary. Adding that the panel will render its opinion sometime in the next twelve months, she quoted Flaxman as saying, “If the court upholds the current restriction on topless rights, we will seek further review before the Court of Appeals. And if that is unsuccessful, we will seek further review by the United States Supreme Court.”
“The GoTopless cultural revolution initiated by spiritual leader Rael in 2007 will celebrate its tenth anniversary on Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26, 2017,” Gary said.
In the name of your constitutional rights, wear a Burkini -Topless ! (uncensored)
FREEDOM ! EQUALITY!
In response to the recent media storm caused by the banning of the Burkini on French beaches, the international organization GoTopless.org is launching a campaign "Wear a burkini - Topless ". However amongst all this noise, the French leaders and state institutions are keeping remarkable quiet on the subject of personal freedom and gender equality of the right to be topless.
"Equal rights for everyone, regardless of origin, condition, appearance, belief, sex or gender, includes the right to be topless, just as much as the right to wear a burkini "said Maryline Canin, GoTopless coordinator in France. "The freedom of dress is a fundamental right which must be respected, regardless of any political and religious considerations," she continues.
The campaign "Wear a burkini - Topless" was inspired by an idea from Rael, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement who had already initiated the GoTopless Movement in 2007 and whose support for gender equality is uncompromising. He recently stated: "Muslims are
being criticized because they force their women to wear a burqa, a niqab, or a burkini. Yet that is exactly the same sexist thinking forcing Western women to hide their breasts in public." He added that "the hypocritical politicians are claiming to do all they can to support equal rights for women, but so far no one has dared advocate for equal rights to be topless" (see Rael’s full speech.).
Regarding the French government, Maryline Canin says that GoTopless activists have been confronting each successive minister of women’s rights for several years on this issue without any response to date, and yet now the Prime Minister himself has just declared that Marianne’s bare breast is France’s symbol of freedom, that is to say one of its fundamental constitutional principles.
"In France, under the fuzzy pretext of decency and public order, we have been persuaded to relinquish our personal freedom at the expense of an authoritarian and discriminatory logic" says Maryline Canin.
While the mayors of Cannes, Le Touquet and other cities are banning the Burkini, in Paris on the other hand, equivalent authorities are trying to prevent women from going topless on beaches. Men on the other hand, can walk about topless without any problems. That is why we decided to bring this to the public’s attention through an open letter to Mr. Valls, the prime minister of France in the hope of resolving this discrimination (link to letter).
“The price of freedom today for every "French Marianne", that is to say any women choosing to be topless just like men, is a 15,000 euro fine and a year in prison for sexual exhibitionism" explains Maryline Canin. "Correct dress-code expected of women: not too covered and not too bare. That is the limit of “freedom and equality” rationed out by the archaic and sexist texts applied in France, all under the domination of monotheistic thinking" she concluded.
Wear a Burkini-Topless!
Open Letter to Manuel Valls, Prime Minister of France (uncensored)
In a recent public statement, you used the representation of bare breasted Marianne as the symbol of women’s freedom.
As a representative of the international organisation GoTopless, I would like to thank you for highlighting this vital link to the empowerment of women.
GoTopless, an independent non-profit organization based in the United States, was founded in 2007 following the suggestion of spiritual leader Raël, with the goal of promoting gender equality, based on a simple premise: "where men have the right to be topless, women should also have the same right."*
Following the many unanswered letters sent to successive ministers of woman’s rights in your governmental team, I would like to elucidate in more depth the question of freedom and equality, and draw your attention to the present situation in France:
The female breast is incorrectly considered to be a sexual organ. Thus, the cost of freedom for every "French Marianne", that is to say any women choosing to be topless just like men, is a 15,000 euro fine and a year in prison for sexual exhibitionism ( Art. 222-32 of the criminal code). That is the price of freedom in France today!
Under a government purporting equality, how come men’s breasts escape this distinction? In what way are they different from women’s breasts?
Don’t forget that a century ago, when a woman showed a bit of leg above the ankles, she was arrested for indecent exposure. Today, only men can strip off their tops in certain public places such as swimming pools. Why should women be forced to wear a top, while men have a choice? This is blatant double standards ...
Where is the equality?
Allowing women these same rights as men would be a huge step forwards in removing archaic gender bias. The "topless" campaign seeking topless equality between men and women might at first sight appear trivial, but in fact it goes to the heart of the matter as it raises awareness about how politics and religion impact on our freedom.
By imposing a top on women, western societies, including France, are no different from those forcing women to wear a veil or a burka and the only way to end this control over women’s bodies is to once and for all end this inequality in the right to be topless. Whatever the situation or circumstance, to be covered or topless, that is the right of free choice of the individual themself.
It would be great credit to you if you were the one to give “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” the full meaning, with the legal implementation of the right for everyone to be topless. For our organization, freeing our breasts, freeing our body, is to free our minds. Not just for women. Men would also be released from their obsession of women breasts if breasts were not considered a shameful part of the body that should be hidden. Whatever is repressed will maintain obsession
For you who wishes to maintain and develop peace between people, we offer you have a crucial element to change society.
I remain at your disposal for any interview should you wish for a more in-depth explanation of our vision, so as to finally end this blatant discrimination.
Please receive, Mr. Prime Minister, my highest consideration.
GoTopless Representative France
(*) =Topless events organized on the occasion of the International GoTopless Day bring together thousands of people each year, on the Sunday closest to August 26, historical date marked by the Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights affirming equal rights - principle with constitutional status - as the principle of equality between men and omen in all fields, which appears in the preamble of the 1946 Constitution.