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.”
GoTopless congratulates Bare With Us organizers and joins their event Aug 1 in Waterloo, ON
TORONTO, Aug. 1 – According to a statement released today, the women’s rights organization GoTopless (gotopless.org) is congratulating organizers of the group Bare With Us for echoing GoTopless’s activism. Both organizations stand for equal gender topless rights and encourage other women to exercise those rights.
Members of the Toronto GoTopless branch will also join a Bare With Us protest being held in Waterloo, Ontario, today. Their message is very simple:
"As long as men are allowed to be topless in public, women should have the same constitutional right, or else men should also have to wear something to hide their chests.” These are the words of spiritual leader Maitreya Rael, founder of GoTopless.org.
“We would like to remind everyone that it’s legal for women to go topless in Ontario and that doing so hasn’t been considered indecent there since 1991, thanks to Gwen Jacob, a young activist who made history,” said Diane Brisebois, leader of the Toronto GoTopless branch and spokesperson for GoTopless. “So how is it possible that in Ontario, even today, many police officers are so ill-informed about this law that applies within their province? Women who are merely exercising their legal rights and enjoying the nice weather are getting arrested and being humiliated. Why?"
Brisebois said the need to protest has become more and more obvious recently.
“In the past several months, women and girls going topless have experienced many discriminatory situations throughout Canada,” she explained. “We must remind the police and the public that going topless is completely legal everywhere in Ontario and that the continuing harassment will not be tolerated.”
She added that GoTopless members have an additional reason for participating in protests.
“We’re celebrating our 8th GoTopless anniversary this year by demonstrating in several U.S. and Canadian cities as well as in other cities around the world,” Brisebois concluded.
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.