Recently, I had a chance to interview topfreedom advocate, Moira Johnston, in Union Square on behalf of AlterNet.org. She was, as you can guess, topless during the interview. We had several interruptions during the interview from wandering crazies in the square as well as your regular folk trying to warn her to put a shirt on to avoid arrest. (She has already been falsely arrested once before and the police let her go after 1.5hr because then they realized she actually had not broken any laws.) Yes, it is actually legal for women to be topless in New York state. She is topless a lot of the time in public to fight for the right for women to have equal rights as men (note: not more, just equal). Wherever men are allowed to be topless in public or business establishments like hotel pools, spa, yoga studio, then women should be allowed to as well. Not only is she a brave women’s rights advocate on her own, she has faith in her convictions and is an amazing model for me who is terrified even thinking of it as I already get enough harassment with my shirt on.
Here is the video and the transcription below:
Me: Ready, freddie?
Me: OK. So, hi!
Me: So I already interviewed you but what is it that you want to tell men and women out there why you’re doing this?
Moira: So I’m raising awareness that it is legal for women to be topless in public and actually anywhere that a guy can go without a shirt in the state of New York. I’m here in public right now. It also includes businesses like anywhere that a guy can go without a shirt like a gym, a spa, hotel, swimming pool, yoga studio, dance studio, a woman can go topless as well. We have the same rights as men.
Me: And you haven’t got any major harassment or anything?
Moira: No, I haven’t. Though some people do tell me to put a shirt on because they think it’s not legal [for women to be topless].
Me: So I think it’s really cool that you’re so nice to everyone commenting on you all the time.
Moira: Thanks. [laughs]
Me: See, like that. Well, I guess that’s it. Is there anything else you wanted to say?
Moira: Not right now.
Me: You hope other people do this? Other women?
Moira: Well I’m doing it on my own. I’m not affiliated with any organization and I encourage each woman to remove their shirt whenever they see fit or not remove it if they don’t want to. It’s all about having a choice to exercise just like men can women can as well.
Read the full interview transcript here at AlterNet.org.