KINGSTON — About a half-dozen people took their shirts off in solidarity for the first ever topless march in Kingston.
Organized by the group Topless Kingston, the women and men were not only celebrating the human body but also the legal right for women to go shirtless in public.
Krystle Carnegie was one of the women to bare it all. The new mother had body insecurities in the past but decided to take her top off to teach her daughter the importance of being comfortable in your own skin. She called the experience liberating.
“I feel absolutely incredible. I feel a lot more empowered and confident and comfortable.”
Sarah Campbell was inspired to hold Wednesday’s rally outside of Kingston City Hall to honour Gwen Jacob. Twenty-six years ago, Jacob removed her shirt on a hot summer day and was charged with public indecency. Her conviction was eventually overturned.
Campbell believes the sexual stigmas that surround the female body need to change and says that when men expose their bare chests it doesn’t turn heads quite the same way.
“That’s just one of the best visual demonstrations of a double standard, in terms of general social body acceptance that we have. It’s in our face every day. It’s OK if men do it. There’s all kinds of issues if women do it.”
Arielle Woods also took part in the rally saying “there’s nothing sexual about it at all. My boyfriend and guy friends can be topless. Why can’t I?”
The three women were strangers before the walk but say the unique experience has built a special bond between them.
Topless Kingston hopes to make the shirtless rally an annual tradition.