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Friday, August 20, 2010

Men Wear Bras So Women Can Go Topless

David Moye Contributor
(Aug. 19) -- Gay marriage is a hot issue right now, but it's not as titillating as another battle for equality: the right for women to go topless in public.

That right is a fundamental one, according to the folks behind Go Topless, an organization dedicated to the belief that in order for America to be a truly equal society, women should be able to bare their breasts without fear of being arrested.

Go Topless has been around since 2007, and its big push is Go Topless Day, an annual event held on the Sunday closest to Aug. 26, which is Women's Equality Day, the anniversary of the day women were given the right to vote.
National Go Topless Day
Mark Ralston, AFP / Getty Images
Protesters prepare to march during National Go Topless Day" to honor Women's Equality Day at Venice Beach in Los Angeles on Aug. 23, 2009.

Women in nine U.S. cities -- Seattle, New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Denver, Honolulu, San Francisco and Austin, Texas -- will gather in public spots on Aug. 22 to put the hot-button issue front and center by wearing little more than strategically placed stickers.

In addition, male supporters of the cause will show their support by wearing bras and bikinis.

"It's a matter of fairness," Go Topless director Nadine Gary said. "We want equal topless rights for all or none."

Gary believes that the right for women to go topless should be guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. "The Supreme Court won't stop us," she added

Although other countries, such as Gary's country of origin, France, tolerate topless women, she wants it to be in the legal books so there is no wiggle room.

"Some states, like New York, are supposedly 'top-free,' but in 2005 Phoenix Feeley was arrested for going topless," Gary said. "She later won $29,000 for wrongful arrest."
Note: Women in this video are wearing nipple covers that look like actual nipples.

Gary admits that it's one thing for the laws to be changed to reflect a woman's right to choose to go topless, but it will be harder to get women to actually do it.

"There is a puritanism here that will have an effect," she said. "But it's the same as it was 40 years ago in France. The problem will be lifted when women see other women doing it."

Gary is aware that America has a lot of "body-conscious" women who may not want to go topless, but the point, she says, isn't to make all women bare their breasts, but to make the option legal.

Meanwhile, Gary is getting support from, not surprisingly, men.

"Guys are great," she said. "They understand this issue, and we get lots of cooperation from males."

One of those is Larry Abdulla, a Chicago-based dentist who, at 63, is putting his support on the line by wearing a red bikini at the Chicago rally.

"This is much more than wanting women to go topless," he insisted to AOL News. "It's about equal rights. Why is it OK for men to be topless but not women?

"It's terrible. A woman breastfeeding her baby in public gets hassled just because people are afraid of how some guys might react. Other guys get excited by seeing legs or belly buttons. Do you ban those too? A transsexual who may have beautiful breasts can get away with going topless if he still has a penis."
Go Topless Day
Mark Ralston, AFP / Getty Images
A male protester wears a bikini top as he prepares to march during National Go Topless Day to honor Women's Equality Day at Venice Beach in Los Angeles on Aug. 23, 2009. The annual protest is held in several U.S. cities to promote the idea that women have the same constitutional right to be bare-chested in public places as men.

Although Go Topless is focused on the laws in the U.S., its roots are, well, extraterrestrial in origin.

Both Gary and Abdulla are members of the Raelian religion, which believes that humans were created by advanced scientists known as the Elohim. The group is best known for its close ties to Clonaid, a human cloning company that claimed in 2002 to have created the first cloned human baby.

They say their beliefs in ETs are inspiring them to fight to make the right to bare breasts as fundamental as the right to bear arms.

"All life on Earth is created by advanced scientists," Abdulla said. "We have no reason to be shy about our bodies. They are works of art."

Of course, art is in the eye of the beholder, and Gary admits that some guys who attend a Go Topless rally initially act like boobs.

"Some of them take pictures at first, but then they get used to seeing women's bodies and return to normal within an hour," she said.