Moral Low Ground


Moira Johnston Walks Around Manhattan Topless To Remind New Yorkers It’s Perfectly Legal

May 25, 2012 by Brett Wilkins in Morality, Protests with 0 Comments

Moira Johnston has been wandering lower Manhattan wearing nothing above the waist but sunglasses and a smile. Why? Because it’s perfectly legal.

The 29-year-old woman from Philadelphia says she wants “to raise awareness that it is legal for woman to be topless anywhere a guy can be without a shirt.”

She also says she’s raising awareness about breast cancer, a disease her mother survived.

Johnston’s revealing protest has been raising eyebrows– and ire– in the streets of New York. While some New Yorkers and visitors to the Big Apple are supportive, others verbally abuse her and tell her to put some clothes on.

“People aren’t used to seeing it in our culture,” she concedes.

“Some people hassle me and tell me to put a shirt on,” she told the blog Joey Boots.

But she doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to. Toplessness has been legal in New York City for 20 years. Still, Johnston has had one major run-in with the law over her unconventional attire, or lack thereof. NYPD officers arrested her as she stood topless near a children’s playground on May 16. She was held for around an hour before being released without charge.

“The cop who arrested me said it could be considered endangering the children,” she explained. “But he said he didn’t personally think so.”

And so Johnston continues her one-woman topless crusade.

“I know what I’m up to so I don’t mind that kind of sacrifice, it’s about equality,” she is quoted in the Daily Mail. 

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