Since 2011, Asheville has held Go Topless rallies, annual events meant to promote gender equality and awareness of women’s right to appear topless in Asheville (the event was affiliated, in 2011, with the controversial Raelian religious movement). An unexpected result of the rallies is a new bill from republican state representative Tim Moffitt, which will make exposure of female nipples illegal in North Carolina.
Yes, it’s completely ironic: A rally meant to support existing topless rights is the cause of new legislation to officially ban toplessness in North Carolina.
Here’s the word from GoTopless.org, an organization founded in 2007 by Rael himself, which supports the idea that “women have the same constitutional right that men have to go bare-chested in public.” The organization states that even if the bill becomes law, rallies will continue:
“Moffitt’s bill stems from the topless rallies our organization held in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2011 and 2012,” (GoTopless President Nadine) Gary explained. “But even if it passes, our rallies will continue, with the insistence that men also be jailed for nipple exposure. All we’re insisting upon is equality: either equal rights to go topless or equal punishment for violating a law that’s applied equally to both genders.”
Topless rights are one of the few areas of gender equality that haven’t been addressed at a federal level, and GoTopless is determined to see that it is.
“In a country that now accepts women as frontline soldiers and encourages gay men and women to openly serve in the military, GoTopless members are confident that Representative Moffitt is choosing a battle he can’t win,” she said. “When this case reaches the courts, they’ll have no choice but to see this as a constitutional issue based on gender equality, which is the exact point we’re making.”
Read the full blog post here (contains NSFW image of the 2011 GoTopless rally.)