FORT COLLINS, Colo.– A federal court ruling over a ban on women going topless in public has effectively made it legal for women to go topless in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma, according to TV news station KUTV2.
This issue came to be when plaintiffs Brit Hoagland and Samantha Six, who are part of the #FreeTheNipple movement on social media, sued the city of Fort Collins, Colorado, arguing they have the right to take their shirts off in public, just as men do. The #FreeTheNipple movement is an organized effort to move towards gender equality.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over the six states listed above, nullified the topless ban in Fort Collins, effectively making it legal in the six state previously listed for women to go topless in public. Fort Collins is not appealing this case, so the next step to appeal would be at the Supreme Court level, according to KUTV.
According to KUTV, Hoagland said, “everybody should be able to be comfortable on a hot day and if that means taking their shirt of so be it. No matter how you look, you should have the same freedom at the person next to you. And it’s also about equality. Addressing small parts of inequality can make a big difference in how people are treated on a day to day basis, and I thought free the nipple was just one small step closer to how it should be.”
This issue remains far from settled on a national level. In 2017, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which rules over Chicago and parts of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana, upheld Chicago’s topless ban on women, according to KUTV.
Attorney Andy McNulty, who is representing Hoagland and Six, stated that topless bans point out a blaring example of gender inequality.
“The idea that women’s bodies are purely sexual is something that, it was perpetrated by this law. By getting rid of this law, we are saying women are more than just a sexual object and their bodies are more than just a sexual object. They’re human beings just like men,” McNulty said, according to KUTV.