It’s Now Legal to Go Topless on the Beach in Nantucket

Previously, women could be fined, or even face prison time, for going sans top on the island

The beach in Nantucket with grass in the foreground and sand and waves in the background
The nipple has officially been freed.
Unsplash/Jack Cohen

No top? No problem. At least in Nantucket.

Thanks to a new bylaw amendment brought on by a local-led “Gender Equality on Beaches” campaign, it is now legal for everyone, regardless of gender, to go topless at beaches on the island, according to CNN.

The proposed bylaw actually passed back in May, but was only formally approved by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey last week.

“We approve the Town’s vote authorizing any person to go topless on any public or private beach in Nantucket because we discern no conflict between the vote and the Constitution or laws of the Commonwealth,” Healey wrote, per CNN. “The Town has the authority to choose what activities it will allow on town beaches.”

While there are other beaches in certain regions of the Massachusetts — Cape Cod chief among them — that have unofficial nude sunbathing sections, Nantucket is now the first to officially protect the right of women to bare tits on the beach. A previous law held that women could not only be fined $300 for freeing the nipple, but face a penalty of up to three years in prison, which feels…a bit archaic. So, it stands to reason that the town was overdue for a bit of reform anyway.

If I were to guess, the new amendment is likely to do more good than harm — particularly where tourism is involved. (Nakation, anyone?) But mostly because looking at a pair of women’s breasts have, to the best of my knowledge, never caused anyone in the history of the world a bit of harm.

The “Gender Equality on Beaches” bylaw originally passed by an 85-vote margin, with 327 voting in favor of the amendment.


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