August 15, 2012
Topless Raelians beat Toronto's City Hall
By Jenny Yuen, QMI Agency
TORONTO Bare-breasted Raelians have beat City Hall.
Last summer, organizers of GoTopless.org were denied a permit by the city’s parks department to hold an event at Kew Beach where women planned to go bare-breasted in public. The city said women participating in the event would violate its code that requires people to be “properly attired.”
But now, the city is buckling to the whims of the bare-breasted women, despite adding “stronger” wording in its parks bylaw to more clearly define nudity.
While no permit request has been made, the city is ready to issue one.
The group is still planning to hold a topless protest in the Kew Beach area on Aug. 26 to put the spotlight on the social stigma associated with women going bare-chested in public.
“Even in light (of the stronger wording), the direction I’ve received is we would still issue them the permit,” said Mark Lawson, of the parks department.
“The individuals involved in the decision, which would include our legal division, are saying that may be justifiable, but pressed on that, it may be problematic. What I mean by that ... is if there is concern expressed by this group, we may be challenged (in court).”
Lawson added the Raelians have not applied for a park permit for their topless event this year, but would be granted one as long as the event fell at least two weeks from now and met stipulations with respect to insurance and fees.
GoTopless.org spokesman and Raelian priest Sylvie Chabot said her group figured they’d be shot down for a permit, so organizers didn’t bother applying for one.
Organizers opted to write a complaint letter to the city’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights in early August but hadn’t received a response.
“I’m surprised by the city’s (decision) this year,” Chabot said. “That being said, if we’re arrested last year or this year, we will go to court and we will win.”
Chabot added she was unsure whether organizers will apply for a permit, adding,
“I’m going to ask the city what the conditions are first.”
Last August, in response to the city denying the park permit, 20 topless female protesters marched down Queen St. E. to Kew Beach to speak out against “discrimination of women and gender equality.”
The Aug. 26 protest will be the second-annual one in Toronto and the fifth organized by GoTopless.org worldwide. There are other protests scheduled in Vancouver and Oshawa on the same day.
The Raelian Movement was founded in 1974 by Rael, known as former French journalist Claude Vorilhon, who believes life on Earth was started by aliens.