TOPLESS LAWS: Note for a lecture, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United"
The green colored states are those where top freedom is in effect.
The orange colored ones have amibiguous 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.
In the USA, 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.
In Canada, the law on public decency is found in Sections 173 and 174 of the Criminal Code. However, what constitutes an indecent act is not defined, and is open to interpretation by the courts. Topfreedom is allowed in Ontario, Sasketchawen and British Columbia following specific court cases on the matter but the case for topless equality has not been heard by the Canadian Supreme Court yet.
The following cities are officially topless "tested":
Key West, FL at Fantasy Fest
New Orleans, LA, at Mardi Gras
New York City
Santa Fe, NM
South Miami Beach, FL (on the beach)
It is also legal to be topless in public in the following countries:
(more countries to be added soon)
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.
Can I be arrested for going topless in a topless city?
Even if a top free law is firmly in effect, the police can still arrest you under the pretense of "disorderly conduct". Don't be intimidated! You can sue the city back for wrongful arrest (if your only crime was to go topless). That is what Phoenix Feeley did in NYC in 2005 (you can read her story in our news section)
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."