Topless protestors march in Toronto
Published Sunday, August 28, 2011 5:35PM EDT
Topless protestors marched on the edge of a Toronto park Sunday afternoon after the city denied them permission last month to bare their message of equality.
The noon demonstration, which took place at the edge of Ashbridges Bay Park on Woodbine Avenue, was originally axed by the Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Department on July 21.
A spokesperson for GoTopless, the American non-profit organization organizing the event, said in a press release published on Thursday that the city's decision denies women the same rights as men to go topless in public.
"This permit refusal represents gender discrimination, in which men are treated differently than women," Diane Brisebois said.
Brisebois said city officials would have preferred if the Canadian chapter of the organization had proposed to hold their event on Hanlan's Point Beach, a nudist beach on Toronto Island, however, she said that would have defeated the group's purpose.
"The authorities maintain that top free women are nude, but that's exactly what we want to change. There is not more nudity in revealing one's breast than in revealing one's arm and this is what Gotopless Canada is trying to address."
Brisebois added that the city probably does not understand the current law surrounding going topless.
"They are probably unaware that the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in 1996, that the act of going topless is not in itself a sexual or indecent act for either gender," she said, referring to the exoneration of Guelph resident Gwen Jacobs who was arrested in 1991 for taking off her shirt in public.
An online petition was started after the group was denied permission to hold their demonstration. As of Sunday, 174 people have signed the petition.