Vote on Wednesday to repeal nudity ordinance in Minneapolis parks

The current ordinance allows only men to be topless in city parks.

Members of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board will vote on Wednesday to repeal its nudity ordinance, which has been criticized for discriminating against women and transgender people.

The Park Board will hold a vote that would repeal an ordinance that specifically applies to breasts, in that it allows men to display them in city parks but not women.

Toplessness is allowed in the rest of the city irrespective of sex, but the ordinance did lead to Helena Howard, who is known for biking topless around the city, being cited by Minneapolis Parks Police in 2018 at a city beach, as reported by CityPages.

"The only real impact of this change will be to eliminate the discriminatory language that targets female breasts," Minneapolis Parks Commissioner Chris Meyer wrote on Facebook.

"Elsewhere in Minneapolis people of all genders can be topless in public, but in parks and parkways women and transgender people are cited for it."

"I firmly believe the law should treat people equally regardless of gender. In spaces where men are allowed to go shirtless, women and transgender people should be able to as well," he continued. "Inversely, in spaces where it would be inappropriate for women to expose their chests, it should be inappropriate for men as well.

"People should not be discriminated against just because heterosexual men have oversexualized them. Any argument that can be made against the exposure of a woman's chest should apply just as strongly against the exposure of a man's chest."

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The Park Board's current ordinance reads thus: "Proper Attire Required. No person ten (10) years of age or older shall intentionally expose his or her own genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast below the top of the areola, with less than a fully opaque covering in or upon any park or parkway."

State law on public nudity is more vague however and doesn't discriminate based on sex, describing indecent exposure occurring when someone "willfully and lewdly exposes the person's body, or the private parts thereof; procures another to expose private parts; or engages in any open or gross lewdness or lascivious behavior, or any public indecency other than behavior specified in this subdivision."

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