Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Florida man ticketed for wearing a speedo - good thing he wasn't naked!

Don't Tase Me Bro! (rapidly becoming one of my favorite blogs) reported yesterday that a Florida man was ticketed by a Lee County deputy sheriff for wearing a speedo on Bonita Beach. The man had been coming to the beach for years without problems. Good thing he wasn't nude or he probably would have been arrested.

Every state in the union has laws against indecent exposure (quite rightly) but few of those laws make a distinction between indecent exposure and public nudity, and even where not expressly forbidden, states allow local cities and towns to make their own laws.

Massachusetts laws in their entirety read as follows:

CHAPTER 272. CRIMES AGAINST CHASTITY, MORALITY, DECENCY AND GOOD ORDER

Chapter 272: Section 16 Open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior

Section 16. A man or woman, married or unmarried, who is guilty of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in jail for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars.

Chapter 272: Section 53 Penalty for certain offenses

Section 53. Common night walkers, common street walkers, both male and female, common railers and brawlers, persons who with offensive and disorderly acts or language accost or annoy persons of the opposite sex, lewd, wanton and lascivious persons in speech or behavior, idle and disorderly persons, disturbers of the peace, keepers of noisy and disorderly houses, and persons guilty of indecent exposure may be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than six months, or by a fine of not more than two hundred dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Maybe it'll be a while before public nudity, but what about TopFreedom?

Every summer I head to the National Seashore at Cape Cod and every summer, at least once, I am struck with the unfairness of not being able to take the top of my bathing suit off.. Whatever "look the other way" attitude that may have existed in the 60's and 70's has long since faded away. Last year, in fact, rangers issued more citations for public nudity than ever before, even employing ambush tactics by leaping from behind dunes (yikes!) and at least once citing a person who had called a warning to another, topless woman that a ranger was approaching.

Three Canadian provinces-- British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario-- have explicit laws allowing women to go topfree, as do some states and municipalities. You might get away with going topfree on the California coast and in Maine, New York, Ohio and Texas, as well as Boulder, Colorado and South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida.
However, you can be arrested for disturbing the peace.

Many European countries, of course, as well as Australia, have a high tolerance for female toplessness on beachs and in parks and public swimming pools.

The Topfree Equal Rights Association is a Canadian organization promoting legal changes to allow women to go topfree without arrest.

Just about any woman who has breastfed a child knows how utterly ridiculous laws against going topfree really are. Some women have been arrested for breastfeeding in public, or kicked off airplanes, or made to leave malls and restaurants.

If you haven't thought about this issue much, think about it. What would it take for you to be comfortable with topfree women at beaches and parks? .

1 comment:

Tommy said...

I always agreed with the sentiment of my old Valley Advocate friend Al Giordano, a devout nudist who used to say, "The reason we're so uptight about nudity is because we don't see enough of it."