TOPLESS Society: Horrible New Law!

In Minnesota, the arrest of a woman for exposing her breasts at a gas station has ignited controversy and debate among Democrats who are challenging the state’s public decency laws. Eloisa Plancarte, 27, was sentenced to 90 days in jail, arguing that the law discriminates against women by allowing men to go topless in public but not women.

This incident has prompted a Minnesota legislator to propose a bill that would allow women the same rights to be topless in public as men, aiming to update what he calls “antiquated laws.” The debate is fueled by a decades-old legal precedent set by a case involving a woman sunbathing topless in Minneapolis Park, which was upheld by a 2-1 decision in the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Judge Diane B. Bratvold, who dissented in Plancarte’s case, raised concerns about the implications of the law for transgender individuals who have not undergone breast reduction surgery, suggesting that the ruling complicates the issue of what constitutes criminal behavior based on gender identity.

The issue extends beyond Minnesota. In 2016, Heidi Lilley, Kia Sinclair, and Ginger Pierro faced legal action after removing their bikini tops at a beach in Laconia, stirring public debate. Similarly, Caroline Werner, a 37-year-old Brazilian model, risked a year in prison for walking her dog topless on a beach in Balneário Camboriú the previous year.

Judge Kevin G. Ross, who upheld Plancarte’s conviction, cited a long-standing precedent that differentiates legal treatment of topless men and women, dismissing the equal protection claim. However, concerns about gender identity and the fairness of existing laws persist. Legislators like Brion Curran (D-NY) and Senator Cervera Mura (D-CA) are calling for reforms, arguing that the police have too much discretion in enforcing these laws, which can lead to inconsistent and discriminatory practices.