Carla Watson, event organizer, showed plenty of enthusiasm and was the first to shed her top and have her breasts painted. Her eloquence on the subject of topfree equality can be seen and heard in my interview - part one is here, part two is here. My photographs of the event can be found here.
Turnout was much better in other cities. A report from Chicago is here, and New York here. TERA's commentary on the event is on their website.
It seems that mainstream media coverage of this event was down dramatically from last year. In once sense that's good because the exposure or women's breasts in public could be seen as more of a non-issue, or it could be bad because public interest in the cause is fading. One thing for sure - bare breasts are always fodder for the punsters, who cannot resist the "hanging out" or "Boobstock" references.
All naturists that I have spoken to agree on one thing, that the folks at GoTopless.org should drop their references to Raël and the Raëlian movement. As Dr. Paul Rapoport observes, it's a "distraction" from the topfree issue, and spawns such absurd headlines as "UFO Cult Would Like to See Your Breasts."
This is not meant to be a knock on Raëlians, who appear to be lovely people from my interactions, and are certainly no more "out there" than Mormons or Evangelical Christians in their beliefs, but when Carla opens up her interview with a statement about Raël, it strikes a cultish tone that turns off many people. The Academic Naturist also weighs in on this issue:
During the main speech, the organizer made sure to include a section on the Raelian beliefs. I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Here's my suggestion to them: People will take the GoTopless protests more seriously if you ONLY stick to the issue of top-equality! Once you mention aliens, people just consider you crazy and walk away. Take a look at the news stories -- they always mention the UFO cult, often as the headline. That's bad for getting people to take you seriously.To be fair, Carla did not attempt to "convert" anybody, and seemed sincerely devoted to the cause, but a Raëlian book was placed prominently on the table next to the signup sheet.
The folks at GoTopless.org need to mainstream their cause in order to draw in more people. By distancing themselves from the Raëlian movement, they can also be more successful at drawing in organizations like AANR and TNS who have thousands of members who should be willing to join in the demonstrations.
The organizers at GoTopless.org need to reassess their strategies starting now if they want to remain a viable factor in the women's topfreedom movement.