NEW YORK, Aug. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The women's organization GoTopless will launch its first Nipple Pride Parade in New York City on Aug. 23, the 8th annual GoTopless Day, in honor of Women's Equality Day.
"For 23 years, New York has been a beacon of topless equality," said Rachel Jessee, New York's GoTopless leader. (In 1992, the state's supreme court ruled for a woman's group, the Topless Seven, establishing topless equality statewide.)
"But few women exercise their topless rights in New York even now," Jessee said. "Shame and guilt are deeply ingrained, and they find it hard to break free. The purpose of the Nipple Pride Parade is to empower them to overcome those feelings. Decades ago, bare-chested men were arrested for indecent exposure, and many were self-conscious about going topless after it became legal. But men overcame their reluctance and women can too!"
GoTopless denounces the idea that women's breasts should be hidden because they are sexualized.
"What a primitive concept, full of Judeo-Christian guilt," said Maitreya Rael, spiritual leader of the Raelian Movement, who launched GoTopless in 2007. "I look at women's breasts in a 'sexualized' way and never fight that natural, beautiful reaction! I'm very happy if women look at my nipples or ass - and they do – in a 'sexualized' way. We're all sexual and that's beautiful! Enjoy it!" He emphasized that although it's natural for the sight of breasts to generate sexual excitement, "it doesn't give men permission to sexually assault or rape women." "And it doesn't give them the right to order us to cover up either," added Jessee.
Women wishing to go topless often worry about police harassment, wrongful arrest or even being confined to a mental institution.
"That's occurred several times in New York over the last 10 years," she said. "The Nipple Pride Parade is the perfect venue to educate the NYPD about existing topless laws. Their duty is to protect top-free women elsewhere in public, just as they will during this parade."
She invites everyone to participate on Sunday:
"It's liberating and empowering to free the body from repression. Freeing nipples frees minds, restoring self-image and self-esteem. Our parades overflow with joy and fun. We'll have breast-decorated floats and carnival costumes, topless acrobats and other performers. Sunday's parade will begin at 12PM noon and end at Bryant Park with more performances and a speech about the ERA and GoTopless."