Culver City Edition

Topless march planned along Venice boardwalk

VENICE — A group of women will march topless along the Venice Beach boardwalk next month as part of an annual call for equal rights for women who want to go bare-breasted in public.

“We’re working toward freeing women’s nipples and obtaining equal gender topless rights that are enforced worldwide,” said Lara Terstenjak, head of the Los Angeles branch of GoTopless, the sponsor of the event.

The annual topless march will be held Aug. 23, with women — joined by shirtless men — walking from the northern end of Ocean Front Walk to the center of the boardwalk at Windward Circle, where a rally will be held urging lawmakers to allow women to go topless.

Similar marches will be held in dozens of cities across the country as part of the eighth annual GoTopless Day, organizers said.

On Aug. 21, organizers of the Venice march will hold a “pre-rally party extravaganza” in West Los Angeles, featuring a screening of the film, “Free the Nipple.”

Terstenjak noted that the Venice Neighborhood Council recently approved a resolution in support of women going topless, but such a change would require action by the city and the county.

“The Venice Neighborhood Council’s approval is a hopeful step forward after our eight years of activism on Venice Beach,” Terstenjak said. “Now it’s time for the city and county to follow up by making equal gender topless rights a priority.”

Despite the neighborhood council’s support, City Councilman Mike Bonin is on record as opposing topless sunbathing in Venice.

“While I appreciate the idea, right now my priorities for Venice are increasing public safety, housing the homeless and protecting affordable housing, reining in over-development, enhancing mobility and improving the delivery of core city services,” Bonin said in April.

It is illegal under city code for people to sunbathe nude or expose their breasts at public parks, including Venice Beach.