Thursday , 30 March 2017

Going Topless Is Legal In These U.S. States & Canadian Provinces

Going topless for both men and women has come a long way over the lasttoples-150x150 77 years but still has much further to go as the map of the U.S. below illustrates.

The information below is compiled by Lorimer Wilson, editor of and the FREE Market Intelligence Report newsletter (sample here). Please note that this paragraph must be included in any article reposting with a link to the article source to avoid copyright infringement.

Going topless for both men and women has come a long way over the last 80 years but still has much further to go:

  • It was not until 1936 that it became legal for men to bare their chests in the U.S. and
  • 56 years later it became legal for women to do so as well – in some states.  New York state legalized it in 1992 and so too did the province of Ontario (Canada) in 1996. (Specific details as to when such laws were enacted in other U.S. states and Canadian provinces have not been specifically identified.)

Many municipalities within the states and provinces where such toplessness is legal have ordinances, however, that prevent such a liberal dress code in public places such as parks, beaches, etc. under the guise of “disorderly conduct” or “public lewdness” related to their “nude” display. While most of these ordinances are likely illegal themselves, they continue to be enforced and will continue to be so until they are challenged in a court of law.

International Go Topless Day (August 25th) is deliberately time pegged to Women’s Equality Day (August 26th) which was designated by the U.S. Congress in 1971 to celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women’s suffrage back in 1920 (and presumably because International Women’s Day, March 8th, would yield colder weather). This past August Go Topless Day was hosted by 49 cities in the U.S. and Canada up from 30 in 2012. Other organizations promoting the right of women to go topless just like men are, in addition to, the Topfree Equal Rights Association ( and

The graphic and edited comments below are compliments of

“U.S. Topless Laws [legal in Canadian provinces of Ontario & British Columbia]

USA Topless Law Map

The green colored states are those where “top freedom” is in effect. The orange colored ones have ambiguous state laws on the matter. The red colored ones are the ones where the mere showing of the female breast in public is illegal according to state law.

Though the majority of states are top free, some cities in those states have passed (unconstitutional) ordinances that annul the state’s top free statute.

How can I find out if my city is topless? Simply google the city name and its municipal code and key in the word “nudity”. Do the same for the county where the city is located to be sure. Consult with an attorney.

Can I be arrested for going topless in a topless city? Even if a top free law is firmly in effect, the police can still arrest you under the pretense of “disorderly conduct”. Don’t be intimidated! You can sue the city back for wrongful arrest (if your only crime was to go topless). That is what Phoenix Feeley did in NYC in 2005 (you can read her story in our news section).”

According to Wikipedia:

“Clothing laws vary considerably around the world. In general, in most countries, there are no laws which prescribe what clothing is required to be worn. However, the community standards of clothing are set indirectly by way of prosecution of those who wear something that is not socially approved. Those people who wear insufficient clothing can be prosecuted in many countries under various offences termed indecent exposure, public indecency or other descriptions. Generally, these offences do not themselves define what is and what is not acceptable clothing to constitute the offence, and leave it to a judge to determine in each case.

Most clothing laws concern which parts of the body must not be exposed to view; there are exceptions. Some countries have strict clothing laws, such as in Islamic countries. Other countries are more tolerant of non-conventional attire and are relaxed about nudity. Many countries have different laws and customs for men and women, what may be allowed or perceived often varies by gender. Cross-dressing is in some areas specifically illegal, especially a man wearing women’s clothing.

Separate laws are usually in place to regulate obscenity, which includes certain depictions of people in various states of undress, and child pornography, which may include similar photographs of children.

In some countries non-sexual toplessness or nudity is not illegal. However, private or public establishments can establish a dress code which requires visitors to wear prescribed clothing.”

Note: This article is intended to be informative, not sensationalist, as the Go Topless Movement is seen by many as nothing less than that of creating further equality between the sexes. You will find information here that is not common knowledge. In doing my research I found, in fact, that not much information on the specifics of the legality of toplessness by country, states, provinces and regions is readily available. If you are aware of additional pertinent data please provide it in the Comments section below.

Related Articles:

1. Average Age of First Sexual Intercourse by Country & 49 Other Informative Views of the World

If you’re a visual learner then you know maps, charts and infographics can really help bring data and information to life. Maps can make a point resonate with readers and this collection aims to do just that. Read More »


  1. I think I’m crying. It’s that admirable.

  2. State-based comparisons, whether of car-crash death rates or radiation sickness or other phenomena, assist greatly in testing such hypotheses as advanced by Mr. Smith. For example, from other sources of data, can we correlate state laws RE “top freedom” and the reach and influence of the “religious reich”? This project goes forward if we can develop some valid measures of the “reach” and the “influence” of the “religious reich”! Should Mr. Smith and I succeed — I’m all for testing this, being an avid fan of OBSERVATIONAL STUDIES, also called EPIDEMIOLOGIC RESEARCH, most appropriate for the phenomenon of interest here (either a sight to behold or a disease rampant among the US population of women — I would test the hypothesis that the “religious reich” in Indiana, Tennessee, and Utah have much greater “reach” and “influence” than do the “religious reich” in other states, both colored orange and green. Though we have barely scratched the surface, having gone only skin deep to date, we may well reveal the Truth of this matter sooner than later.

  3. The laws pertaining to nudity and sexuality are all forced upon us by the religious reich. That’s because any totalitarian organization, social, religious or political knows they must first control your sex life. After you permit them to tell you when, how, and with whom to have sex, controlling the rest is easy.

    Not permitting nudity is nothing more than an extension of that control.

    Most of the problems of the world have been caused by religion. Think of the crusades, the inquisition, the dark ages, the witch burnings, the restrictions on learning, free speech, instilling guilt and shame into children, and the wars fought in the name of religion.

    More recently, think of family planning clinic bombings, oppression of gays and non-believers, murders of doctors and homosexuals, imposition of religious beliefs by force of law, and illegal use of public funds to promote particular religions.

    Mankind will never truly be free until the black yoke of religion is lifted by the clear light of truth and rational thinking.

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