Nantucket votes to allow topless women on town beaches

A view of Madaket Beach on April 25, 2020 in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

A view of Madaket Beach on April 25, 2020 in Nantucket, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Residents of Nantucket, Mass., approved a measure allowing women to go topless at all town beaches.

The Gender Equality on Beaches bylaw amendment passed following debate at the annual town meeting Tuesday.

In part, the amendment reads, “In order to promote equality for all persons, any person shall be allowed to be topless on any public or private beach within the Town of Nantucket.”

Resident Dorothy Stover is a seventh-generation Nantucketer behind the effort. She said she was originally inspired to act several years ago after reading a comic strip.

“I saw this comic strip that had a male and a woman that had the same exact body and they were both topless,” Stover said. “The man said to the woman, ‘Look at you, you’re so indecent, how dare you?’ And she replied back, ‘Look at me? look at you!’ They had the same body, yet only one is allowed to be topless.”

While Stover said she personally knows people against the measure, the overwhelming reaction she had to its proposal was positive.

She said securing the freedom for both genders helps normalize bodies of all shapes and sizes, and fosters an environment of acceptance.

Under current state law, only men can go topless in public.

Though the amendment was greenlit by residents, it still needs approval from the state’s attorney general.

This story was originally published by WBUR, a partner of the New England News Collaborative.