Going topless for both men and women has come a long way over the last 83 years but still has much further to go as the map of the U.S. below illustrates.
The information below was compiled by Lorimer Wilson, editor of munKNEE.com
Going topless for both men and women has come a long way over the last 83 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 GoTopless.org, the Topfree Equal Rights Association (TERA.ca) and ToplessEquality.com.
The graphic and edited comments below are compliments of GoTopless.org
“U.S. Topless Laws [legal in Canadian provinces of Ontario & British Columbia]
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.
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.
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