There’s a lot of bare-chestedness going on! (Summer 2016)

Frick Park July 16 1
Frick Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Summer 2016. Five bare-chested women (one not pictured here) and four bare-chested men spent this hot and muggy, but very enjoyable evening chatting and snacking. Two hours, adjacent to a major road, a sidewalk and a children’s play area, in full view. Curiosity, but all positive or neutral reactions from passersby.

Without hyperbole, there has literally been too much going on in the world of topfreedom this month for me to keep up with.

Personally, I have been going bare-chested in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and parts of Maryland (though I don’t have any police in agreement in Maryland yet, I haven’t been arrested either, and I haven’t been hiding.)

In New Hampshire, which I will write on more in coming weeks, women have been enjoying the public beaches and parks bare-chested, and the activists among them have taken a couple opportunities to challenge Laconia’s refusal to abide by last winter’s court ruling that rejected municipal ordinances against female bare-chestedness.   There’s a lot to learn from New Hampshire’s last year and it is all still developing.  But in the balance, 99% of the state is topfree legal and women (including me) are doing so.

In Helena, Montana a group of women went bare-chested in a city park in early July.  They had contacted police ahead of time and the police even went so far as to publish in the newspapers and on TV news a statement asserting that the women were exercising their 1st Amendment rights, were allowed to be topless in public, and as such they would not be responding to complaints about them being topless.  Now that’s a model response.  And from what it sounds like, the outing was quiet and successful.

Forbidden Road FC 1
Forbidden Road, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Summer 2016. This is a main thoroughfare for bike commuters, joggers and walkers. I believe Fairmount Park is one of (if not the) largest inner city parks in the world. It’s big…and beautiful, and once inside, the noises of the city disappear somehow. Four hours bare-chested, many passersby, including parents and children, all neutral reactions. In fact, I don’t remember anyone really reacting to me at all. Just a bunch of normal. As it should be.

Pittsburgh’s topfreedom has grown incredibly this summer.  Our first walk was in March, Turtle and I.  Of course she and a few others had already been making bare-chested walks, but we received police agreement in March 2016.  Earlier this month I joined a group of nine, five women, four men, for a bare-chested walk, game of Frisbee toss and blanket time next to the main entrance to Frick Park, in the shade of a huge tree.  And yesterday, apparently, 12-15 bare-chested women took part in the monthly underwear ride the PGH bike community holds.  How awesome is that?

Boston held a World Naked Bike Ride this month and one of the organizers tells me there were about 30 “fully” bare-chested women (no pasties) involved and about 10 fully nude women.  The ride went well, traveled through several police jurisdictions in and around Boston, and there was no police response to complaints.

I’m still making glacially slow progress talking to legal authorities in Maryland, but progress.  I think the resort town officials are stalling to get through this beach season before really talking to me in a meaningful way.  In the meantime, I’ve been sunbathing in Ocean City and other bay beaches, gardening in the yard, and yesterday, enjoying a group outing with some friends at a local beach, which included some beautiful bare-chested hooping (but not from me haha.  I’m still learning.)

The Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society has been hard at work having fun, and recently had two large, racially-diverse group outings to Coney Island beach and Battery Park, including some bare-chested mothers who brought their young daughters along.

And also in New York, body-painting day was this month, with all the body positivity messages associated therein.

Paulette McKenzie Leaphart completed her 1000 mile bare-chested walk from Mississippi to Washington D.C. on July 9 to raise awareness for breast cancer survivors.  I’m going to give this experience the full article it deserves, but for now, suffice to say, it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  She is a force, and exudes strength and power.  I can’t wait to share the event with you.

All that and people are writing inspiring and competent articles about topfreedom almost weekly it seems.

Reading the news can make it feel like the world is full of fear and hate right now, but I have spent the month with beautiful, strong souls who refuse to surrender to that hate and fear.  That is what makes it even more inspiring that women and supportive men are still walking out the boundaries of body positivity, female expectation and forced modesty.

Thank you to all the peace-loving souls out there.

Forbidden Road FC 2
Wissahickon Creek, Wissahickon Valley Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Summer 2016. I’m in the middle of Philadelphia here. All we could hear was the water and the birds.



18 thoughts on “There’s a lot of bare-chestedness going on! (Summer 2016)

  1. Keep educating, keep advancing our cause, stay in the public and never give up ground we’ve legitimately taken. There is also much strength in numbers. . .like-minded women and men must be partners.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Are we finally winning?”

    I wouldn’t count chickens before they’re hatched, but that doesn’t prevent adding more chickens. Find more allies! The Pittsburgh scene is really taking off because I overheard two women talking about topfreedom on a bike ride last summer, then sent them to this blog. They in turn brought in others. Those in turn brought in others still.

    That’s how men can help. Talk to people. Be adult about it. Enlightenment, not dissent. Point interested people to this blog, like I did. The idea will sell itself. On Thursday night’s “undies ride”, I overheard a non-topfree woman wondering about how the others were “getting away with” being bare-chested, and replied simply that we’ve determined it’s legal and the police won’t bother us. So, maybe one more next month.

    There are a lot of women out there who wish to be able to, and just don’t know they can. Ninety-degree weather makes them a bit more likely to say something, so pay attention.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Excellent article – I think the phrase which stood out the most was amongst the caption of you on the Forbidden Road, where you said the response was “Just a bunch of normal. As it should be.” Hopefully, in a year or two, that is how it will be in many more cities and states around the US and beyond, paving the way for greater equality for the genders, ages, people of different ethnicities and abilities and generally a world where ‘people are people’ regardless of how they look, sound, or dress.

    Keep up the great work.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is beautiful and uplifting news. It’s quite encouraging to see successes and a better understanding of barechested equality, body positivity, etc all across the nation. I continue to see this movement towards equality advance and I can’t help but get really really excited!!

    I also want to thank you again for this blog. Reading articles like these is often the only place I can find news about the little successes and moves toward barechested equality, and it is so uplifting to see how far we’re coming and how far we have the potential to go. 🙂

    I pray that in a couple years, body positivity and barechested equality is so universal that this movement won’t even have to exist. 🙂 But until then, you and your barechested equality advocate colleagues across the nation will continue to have my 110% support!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And in turn, I rely on others to keep me informed, as happened this morning when my friend David emailed me some links about Go Topless days in New York City and Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. Pittsburgh continues to have women going bare-chested too. And we are making some glacially-slow progress in Maryland. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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