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.
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.