(Originally submitted by Brian, the same Brian behind these amazing Topless Equality Community vlogs!)
Good News, Everyone! The US Government (in Colorado) has officially decreed that it’s legal for women to go topless in public!
According to this article by The Denver Post, U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson of Fort Collins, CO has “granted an injunction Wednesday halting a Fort Collins ordinance that prohibited women from showing their breasts in public, saying it discriminated against women and perpetuated stereotypes that sexualized female breasts.”
Rarely does a figure of legislative importance make such a clear ruling in favor of equal topless laws, often misusing arguments against “public indecency” or “causing a public disturbance” to perpetrate blatantly bigotted legislation that directly punishes one group of people for actions that should be permissible by all. Of course, Colorado has been making waves for years by being at the forefront of taking action towards many progressive ideals, such as legalizing (and taxing) recreational marijuana use way back in 2012, as well as becoming the third US state to officially allow same-sex marriage (in the form of civil unions) in 2013. Specifically regarding this double-standard in how men and women are treated by public topless laws, Judge Jackson had this to say:
“I find that the ordinance discriminates against women based on the generalized notion that, regardless of a woman’s intent, the exposure of her breasts in public (or even in her private home if viewable by the public) is necessarily a sexualized act,” Jackson wrote. “Thus, it perpetuates a stereotype engrained in our society that female breasts are primarily objects of sexual desire whereas male breasts are not.”
Thank you for saying plainly what so many of us have been fighting for, sir!
Of course, this ordinance is only relevant to Fort Collins, CO, and not the country as a whole. It’s also hardly the first area to officially declare that women have just as much right to go topless in public as men. The difficulty now comes in how to ensure that local law enforcement carries out this legislation as intended, instead of following their own biases and finding other duplicitous ways of harassing/fining/arresting women who are brave enough to exercise their topless equality rights, not to mention backward-thinking lawmakers who are actively trying to pass laws that are even more restrictive of women’s topless rights. And there is of course plenty of social stigma and danger to work past beyond even the legal concerns of women who go topless in public, such as this young woman who went without a shirt in a New Zealand music festival and was subsequently groped by strangers found out first-hand.
Still, any sort of ruling in the favor of equality can and must be taken as a sign that Western culture (and more specifically in this case, US law) is slowly but steadily progressing towards the right side of history. Here’s hoping that Fort Collins women are emboldened enough by this ruling to enact their public topless rights, and that such acts further inspire women, trans, nonbinary and everyone to fight for the same rights across the country! Keep freeing that nipple, folks!