On Aug. 26, a procession of bare-chested women from the Canadian chapter of theinternational organization <GoTopless.org> flagrantly paraded down the streets of Toronto.
Some participants donned furry angel wings and halos while their male counterparts wore redbikini tops. The procession handed out pamphlets to bystanders explaining that women should not feel ashamed to be topless in public.
Last year the city’s parks department wasn’t as accommondating. In June of 2011, the city of Toronto had refused to issue a permit to GoTopless for their topless event at the Ashbrigdes Bay Park because the presence of bare-breasted women at the planned event violated Parks Bylaw 608, which is a clause calling for ‘appropriate bathing attire.’
GoTopless had written a letter of complaint to Uzma Shakir the Director, Office of Equity, and Diversity & Human Rights to report this case as gender discrimination because women’s bare chests were considered “inappropriate bathing attire” but not the men’s.
Mark Lawson, Manager of Customer Service for the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division was consulted regarding last year’s denial of permit and amended section 608 of the Municipal Code, allowing GoTopless to receive a permit for their event.
“This crucial change in the city code will no doubt appease women and help them gather the courage to exercise their topless right knowing they won’t be fined or arrested,” Sylvie Chabot, the head of GoTopless in Canada and female priest in the Raelian Movement, says.
“Now that the law is on their side, women have to realize that exposing their breasts is not an indecent act–not any more than a man showing his chest. They need to remember that men were also forced to hide their chest in public 80 years ago as their chest was also considered indecent at that time. Men too had to fight for their topless rights!”
“Despite our recent victory in Toronto, where our annual protest has just been officially welcomed after being forbidden last year, we still have much ground to cover before being granted our constitutional right to go bare-chested wherever men can,” GoTopless president Nadine Gary said on the group’s website. “Even with laws ensuring gender equality, women are still being arrested for going topless.”
“The governments of the U. S., Israel, France, the U.K., and Australia all supposedly guarantee gender equal rights. But GoTopless women have been clearly told they’re not free to go topless like men can, and that if they do, they will be fined and/or imprisoned.”
Gary adds, “Only a perverted mindset thinks that exposing a female breast is more humiliating than exposing a male breast.”
“The only degradation that will be observed in the streets on Aug. 26 is the degradation of male domination,” she says.
GoTopless.org is an international organization. Topless rallies were staged in 30 cities worldwide on Aug. 26. This is the fifth year that protests have been held by the group.
The organization is part of the Raelian Movement, a non-profit atheist organization founded by French journalist Claude Vorilhon, who believes that life on Earth was created by extraterrestrial life.