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Chicago judge intentionally fines GoTopless activist to allow case appeal

CHICAGO, Oct. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to a statement released today by the women's rights organization GoTopless, on October 10, Chicago Cook County Court Judge Marcia K. Johnson "purposefully found GoTopless activist Sonoko Tagami, 41, guilty of indecent exposure so Tagami can appeal the case and challenge the constitutionality of the local law."

"Judge Johnson explained that constitutionality cannot be legally challenged at the municipal court level," said GoTopless Spokesperson Nadine Gary.

GoTopless, founded in 2007, claims equal gender topless rights for men and women, reflecting the words of GoTopless founder and international spiritual leader Rael:"As long as men are allowed to go topless in public, women should either have that same constitutional right or men should be forced to wear something to hide their chests."

Gary said Johnson quickly perceived the import of Tagami's case:

"When presented with Exhibit A, two pictures of Sonoko's chest, she immediately recognized the civil rights issue involved. One picture showed Sonoko's chest with her nipples covered by opaque paint. It was taken the day police issued the citation at North Lake Shore Beach on GoTopless Day, August 24. After looking at it, the judge said she found the municipal law's reference to 'opacity' to be vague, and that if the paint Sonoko used were to cover a book or newspaper page, you wouldn't be able to see the print.

video of citation: [link]

Yet Johnson found Tagami guilty as charged.

"She explained that by finding her liable, Sonoko could take this matter up to a higher court and argue the constitutionality of the ordinance and municipal code," Gary explained. "She said she would indeed find her liable because she thought Sonoko should take it further. In fact, she said the municipal law's vague reference to opacity [regarding the covering of women's nipples in public] is a very interesting question. She said she's curious to see what will happen with this case, especially if it gets to a Superior Court after being in her courtroom."

Sonoko was given 30 days to appeal.

"We're looking for a civil rights lawyer to represent her in this gender equality case," Gary said. "We recently received our charitable 501c3 status from the IRS and we're organizing fundraising events for Sonoko's legal expenses."
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Seeking equal topless rights, GoTopless protests lifeguard’s command that a 3-year-old cover her chest at a public pool

MONTREAL, Sept 2 – Days after the 7th annual GoTopless Day raised public awareness of equal topless rights, a lifeguard at a Montreal, Canada public pool ordered a 3-year old girl to wear a top. If she didn’t comply, he said, the toddler and her mother, Veronique Shapiro, would have to leave immediately.

“I’m shocked,” said Sylvie Chabot, Raelian guide and spokesperson for GoTopless-Canada. “The lifeguard’s reprimanding order was discriminatory and reprehensible. It will affect this child for the rest of her life!"

Chabot said blatant gender discrimination about topless rights occurring at such an early age greatly impairs a girl’s psychological development.

“It’s the equivalent of imposing a burka on her,” Chabot said. “Were topless toddler boys at the pool told to cover their chests?” Of course not!”

Chabot reflected that this 3-year old had absorbed a painful lesson: that her chest must be hidden because it’s somehow shameful.

“Yet a boy’s chest, which looks absolutely identical at that age, isn’t considered shameful at all,” Chabot said. “What an outrageous double standard! The imprint of this shaming experience will have devastating consequences for the girl’s body image and feeling of self-worth.”

She added that boys’ minds were also impacted by the pool incident.

“They saw a girl forced to cover up on top and realized the directive didn’t apply to them,” she explained. “They naturally concluded that the male gender is privileged and superior to females. What’s more, topless gender discrimination fosters an obsession with the forbidden female chest that might trigger violent, unbalanced sexual behavior later in life.”

“Free your breasts, free your mind,” is GoTopless’s motto.

“Prevention of pedophilia is often mentioned as a reason for forcing girls to hide their chests,” Chabot said. “But it’s outrageous to use the behavior of a few sick people to justify topless discrimination. Remember, pedophilia also occurs against boys. It’s a crime that must be punished, but everyone is still entitled to equal gender rights.”

Chabot said GoTopless is asking former Canadian First Lady Margaret Trudeau and psychologist Catherine Pinhas Mulcair, wife of Canadian Opposition leader Tom Mulcair, for their support.
“We wrote to them, urging them to pressure the Harper government to ensure that the Canadian Constitution is upheld regarding women’s rights,” Chabot said.
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Italian Education Minister, Stephania Giannini teaches a powerful lesson in women's topless rights

VERONA, Sept 1 - "I warmly congratulate Italy's Minister of Education, Stefania Giannini for her recent public topless appearance on an Italian beach”, said Monica Morghen, Italian leader of GoTopless, a women's organization that claims women's equal right to go bare-chested in public wherever men have that right.
The minister of Education taught everyone a lesson with the candor in which she reacted to the paparazzi photographing her exposed chest. She reacted naturally as a topless man would have, unworried about the consequences her going topless in public would have on her political career as head of the Ministry of Education.

"To her, going topless was obviously a non-event, and that is exactly what GoTopless is looking to achieve not only on the beach but everywhere in Italy." Monica Morghen said.

She added: “our women's organization inspired by Rael, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement, has the goal of promoting true equality between men and women.”

“Though it is legal for women to be topless on public beaches in Italy, we are still far from seeing
topless gender equality fully applied in our country”, Morghen explained.

“In public pools and parks, or on the streets while jogging, men are allowed to show their bare chest while women would be convicted of indecent exposure for the same act. How can the female breasts be considered indecent when it is par excellence the symbol of beauty, life and nourishment in all the art museums of our nation?

The Italian mentality proves once again to be negatively influenced by catholic morals causing blunt discrimination in the Italian legislature.

In the 21st century, Italians need not be the victims of such archaic values that instil nothing but
taboos, fears and guilt among people.

Some may regard standing for topless equality as trivial but it is far from the truth. Demanding gender equality at all levels is fundamental to the dignity of all citizens. Treating everyone with absolute parity is the way to non-violence.

Additionally, when we strip off all that separates us from our environment, we are totally true and we can better perceive our oneness with everything, feeling no separation with the living beings sharing the planet. And then, we naturally develop a peaceful and non-violent attitude”, Morghen added. “For this reason, I consider the practice of going topless not only a socially revolutionary act, but also a deeply spiritual one, capable of strengthening the peace in the world.”
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