Raelians Declares Aug. 21 'Go Topless Day,' But Men Must Wear Brassieres (Video)
If the promise of topless women isn't enough, it seems the folks behind GoTopless are an organization that believes humans were created by extraterrestrial scientists known as Elohim. The group called Raelians believes the human body is beautiful and shouldn't be covered up or subjected to hypocritical laws.
GoTopless.org is sponsoring Topless Day on Sunday August 21 from noon to 3pm.
The members of a UFO cult believe the right for women to go topless in the same places as men is one of the most significant civil rights issues of our time.
The group is called the Raelians and its members contend that humans were created by advanced scientists known as the Elohim. They believe that the human body is beautiful and shouldn't be covered up or subjected to hypocritical laws that allow men to go topless without letting women do the same.
That's why a few provocative Raelians, like Lara Terstenjak, want to call attention to what they believe is an egregious miscarriage of justice.
"The Constitution says women are equal to men in every sense of the world," Terstenjak said, baring her soul (but only her soul) to HuffPost Weird News. "But if we don't have the Constitution support equal rights in all forms, what good is the Constitution?"
Terstenjak will be one of a few hundred thousand people participating in Go Topless Day, an event being held in numerous U.S. cities on Aug. 21 as well as Toronto and Vancouver on Aug. 28.
The event is Earth-oriented, but gets its inspiration from extraterrestrials. It was also partly inspired by Rael, a French-born race car driver and journalist who was known as Claude Vorilhon until 1973, when an alleged alien encounter turned him into a self-proclaimed messiah and professional attention-seeker. He's most famous for his involvement with Clonaid, a human cloning company that claimed in 2002 to have created the first cloned human baby.
His group is also a magnet for women who want to be topless, which is why the group is now thrusting its proverbial chest into the all-important debate. On Go Topless Day, women are encouraged to remove their tops in the name of justice while men are encouraged to protest the hypocrisy by wearing bras or bikini tops.
"To have a guy support equal rights by wearing a bra is an honorable thing to do," she said.
This is the fourth year that Go Topless Day has taken place. It is held annually on the Sunday closest to Aug. 26, which is Women's Equality Day, the anniversary of the day women in the U.S. received the right to vote.
Next year, the event will fall on the exact anniversary, and organizers hope to get 1 million women to bare all on the Washington Mall in an event tentatively called "The Two Million Boob March."
Slowly but surely, organizers have expanded the event.
"A few years ago, it was just five or six cities," Terstenjak said. Now 13 are taking part.
She admits that most of the cites -- Los Angeles; San Francisco; New York; Austin, Texas; Asheville, N.C.; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Honolulu; Portland, Ore; Miami Beach; Manchester, N.H.; Chico, Calif.; and Clearwater Beach, Fla. -- are places that skew liberal, but that doesn't mean the organizers are preaching to the converted.
"If these cities are so liberal, why are there laws on the books that prevent women from going topless?" she asked. "If we don't start in the places that are more liberal, we're stabbing ourselves in the foot."
Nadine Gary, one of the organizers, notes that many cities, such as New York and Austin, do allow women to go topless, but says the laws in those places don't necessarily help the cause.
"Even in cities where women can go topless, the police can still arrest you if they feel you're 'disturbing the peace,'" she said. "But this is a basic civil right, just like blacks and whites being able to use the same water fountain."
Gary says this battle for equality will need both men and women to participate in order for it to succeed. Men who participate in the rallies will be given bras, bikini tops and pasties.
One of the men who plans to wear a bra in the name of civil rights is Ricky Roehr, a musician living in Las Vegas, who plans to attend the Los Angeles rally. He thinks the event will serve as a reality check.
"The very fact that guys are obsessing over boobs as sexual is exactly why we need to change the laws," Roehr said. "Making something forbidden or taboo just makes people obsess over it."
Still, Gary, Terstenjak and Roehr all agree that their cause has gotten more, er, support from men than from women.
"Of course, guys are more supportive," Gary said. "Women are starting to contact us, but they've been repressed for so long that they're just starting to speak up.
"Last year, there was one woman who attended a rally who supported us, but she just couldn't take off her bra. This year, she called and said, 'I'm taking off my top!'"
But while the efforts of Gary and others will certainly receive a great deal of attention, Norm Pattis, a civil rights attorney based in New Jersey, is skeptical that Go Topless Day will achieve its goals.
"My heart belongs with them," he said. "However, the challenges on gay marriage are based, in part, on the idea that marriage is a fundamental right. So far, wanting to wear less clothing hasn't been determined a fundamental right."
Gary is trying not to let comments from legal experts like Pattis get her down. She insists rights need to be equal for both sexes.
"Our founder, Rael, believes that if the government doesn't want to give women rights, then they should be taken away from men," she said.