The Go Topless procession attracted a crowd of gawkers, media, police and counter-demonstrators
Photo by Maria Martin

In keeping with what has become an annual Venice Beach tradition, uninhibited advocates for gender parity staged a Go Topless Day procession along the boardwalk on Aug. 26 — which also happened to be Women’s Equality Day, which celebrates the hard-fought 1920 constitutional amendment that earned women the right to vote.

Since the 1970s it’s been illegal for women to go completely topless on Los Angeles beaches, and Go Topless Day demonstrators argue that instead of criminalizing women’s bodies, they should be treated the same as men’s bodies under the law. The event itself is backed by the Raelian movement, which puts forth that humans are the product of intelligent design by aliens. It wasn’t clear if the demonstrators in Venice ascribe to those beliefs, but the event did attract its requisite contingent of fire-and-brimstone religious counter-protesters.

In April 2015 the Venice Neighborhood Council made headlines with a 12-2 vote of support for lifting the ban on topless sunbathing by women at Venice Beach, but L.A. City Hall has yet to take up the issue.

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