Women to Go Topless at Venice Beach this Sunday

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At the 2008 Go Topless protest (more photos here) | Photo by Tom Andrews/LAist

It's all in the name of equal rights. Why should it be okay (legally) for men to walk in public shirtless while it's not for women? Here in Los Angeles it's illegal. "There could be some consequence for that," an LAPD spokesperson, calling it indecent exposure, told LAist.

Organizers of a protest at Venice Beach this weekend don't see it that way. "The 14th amendment guarantees equal protection under law and properly interpreted it guarantees women the right to be top-free where men are allowed to be topfree," they say. "Unfortunately, some jurisdictions do not recognize that right, and there is a less stringent test in the courts (called intermediate scrutiny) for gender based differential treatment than for e.g., racial classifications (which are analyzed under what's called strict scrutiny)."

In the state of New York, it is legal to go topless, thanks to a 1992 state court decision. So in 2005, a woman decided to put that to a test in New York City and was arrested. She cited the law to the arresting officers, but she was still taken into custody for 12 hours. She sued and got $29,000 out of it.

This weekend's protest will happen on Sunday and will start at Ocean Front Walk and Navy Street at 2 p.m. August was chosen because of Women Equality Day on Aug. 26. The day commemorates the passage of women’s right to vote on Aug. 26, 1920.

For the record: An earlier version of this post said the event took place on Saturday.