Nantucket votes to allow anyone to go topless on beaches

NANTUCKET, Mass. — Nantucket is a step closer to allowing anyone who chooses regardless of gender to go topless on the Massachusetts resort island’s beaches.

The Gender Equality on Beaches bylaw amendment passed 327-242 at Tuesday night’s annual town meeting, according to published reports. The measure is not a done deal. It still requires approval from the state attorney general’s office.

The bylaw was proposed by seventh-generation Nantucket resident Dorothy Stover and reads in part: “In order to promote equality for all persons, any person shall be allowed to be topless on any public or private beach” in town.

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

Stover told the media that she knows some people who are against the measure, but the overwhelming reaction has been positive. Her hope is to normalize bodies of all shapes and sizes and foster an environment of acceptance, she said.

Stover spoke in defense of her proposal, pointing out that many communities already allow anyone who chooses to go topless on public beaches.

A proposed amendment to exempt Children’s and Jetties beaches, both popular with families and tourists, was withdrawn.