Nantucket Votes To Allow Topless Beaches

A proposal to allow topless beaches on Nantucket was passed by a vote of 327-242 Tuesday night at Nantucket’s Annual Town Meeting.

Dorothy Stover, a seventh generation Nantucketer, was the force behind the proposal to seek “equality for all genders on all island beaches” by creating a new town bylaw that would make it legal for any person “to be topless on any public or private beach within the Town of Nantucket,” according the Nantucket Current.

“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.”

“We have the exact same makeup – men have mammary glands and nipples – and so I started reaching more into it and men can go topless but we can’t,” Stover told the outlet. “It blew my mind that we’re still in this space. But it’s turned into an equity issue, and I know I’m not the only one who thinks this.”

“Being topless is not being nude,” Stover said. “This bylaw would not make beaches nude beaches. This bylaw would allow tops to be optional for anyone that chooses to be topless.”

Current Massachusetts law does not permit women to go topless on beaches. Anyone who intentionally exposes their genitals, buttocks, or female breasts in a manner that is intended to produce “alarm or shock” can be charged with open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior with a penalty up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $300.

The bylaw change still has to be approved by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey before it can take effect.

If approved, Nantucket’s code will read: “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.”



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