Woman Cites Gender Equity in Push to Make All Nantucket Beaches Topless

Dorothy Stover, a sex educator, said the fact that women cannot go topless on a Nantucket beach while men can is an equity issue.

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A lifelong Nantucket resident is calling for gender equality in a push to allow nudity on all of the island's beaches.

Dorothy Stover, daughter of late Nantucket Town Clerk Catherine Stover, has started a petition to rewrite the town bylaws.

The petition suggests that the bylaws be amended by adding, "in order to promote for all persons, any person shall be allowed to be topless on any public or private beach within the town of Nantucket."

Stover, a sex educator, told the Nantucket Cart Magazine that the fact that women cannot go topless on a beach on the island while a man can is an equity issue. If a woman tried right now, she would be breaking a state law and subject to potential prison time.

In Massachusetts, anyone who intentionally exposes their private parts in an attempt to cause "alarm or shock," can be charged with opening gross lewd behavior.

One question about the petition Stover points to is how commonplace topless beaches are in Europe. She does have enough signatures for the issue to be considered at Nantucket's town meeting in May.

If a majority approves the amendment, then the Massachusetts attorney general would need to sign off on the new bylaw.

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