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GoTopless rally features 21 participants
Monday, 02 September 2019 17:44

From Staff Reports 

Asheville’s 10th annual GoTopless rally on downtown’s Pack Square on Aug. 25 drew 21 women who went shirt-less — and about 100 spectators who showed up to hear speeches and, in many cases, get pictures shot of themselves with the topless women, event spokeswoman LaDonna Allison told the Daily Planet on Aug. 27.

It reportedly was one of a number of similar GoTopless rallies held around the United States on the same day.

In a pre-rally press release, Allison asserted, “The rally is a public gathering of men and women who support a woman’s right to be top-free anywhere a man can be shirtless without fear of being arrested.”

Allison told the Daily Planet that the spectators were about evenly divided between men and women, with many showing up as male-female couples.

“Some of the guys that were with them (a woman companion) went topless, too, because it was an ‘equality thing,” she said in a telephone interview.

Allison, who lives Stone Mountain, Ga., said she is an actress, writer and “an art model.” She has helped to organize the event for the past nine years.

“We came up there the first year, when another lady was in charge. She moved (afterward) to California and started one (an annual GoTopless rally) there. So we needed someone else — a woman — to step up to fill her shoes, so we could continue. So I volunteered.”

The two-hour, early-afternoon rally began informally, as “everybody just mingled a little bit in the beginning to give everyone (who might be lost) time to find us, since we were kind of in a different location this year. We wanted to give everyone a chance to find us,” she said.

The rally began formally with an improptu 15-minute keynote speech by Allison, followed by short speeches by a number of others, including Jeff Johnson, a long-time organizer of the Asheville event. Johnson lives in Huntsville, Ala.

Allison said her speech seemed to be well-received by the crowd, as “I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on it. Basically, I gave everyone information on why we were there and and what it was about.

“It’s about women being treated equally and being able to go anywhere a man can topless and be comforable.

“While it is legal to go topless in Asheville, it is not acceptable in many towns in North Carolina or throughout the United States,” she said.

“We chose Asheville to do the rally because it is acceptable” as a safe place for it, Allison said, adding “that equality is ‘in’ place in Asheville. We can go without our tops — women or men — in Asheville 365 days per year.”

Further, Allison asserted, “Some people were under the impression that a woman can go without her top only during the rally in Asheville, but we let them know that they can do that 365 days per year.”

When asked for a copy of her speech, Allison said that her speech was off-the-cuff — and that she did not speak from prepared notes. Therefore, she said, there is no copy of her speech.

“Afterward (after the speeches), people took pictures and we (the organizers) talked to people... We had absolutely zero incident of anyone being negative,” Allison said.



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