Delaware | Transgender

Can Transgenders Go Topless On The Beach?

Reh Several transgendered women, who are in the process of becoming women, removed their tops while sunbathing at Rehoboth Beach in Delaware last weekend. Someone complained and they were approached by law enforcement who asked them to cover up their exposed breasts.

WBOC spoke to the Captain Kent Buckson of Rehoboth Beach Patrol about the incident. The news station reports:

"The visitors initially refused to cover up, claiming discrimination, but eventually agreed to comply, Buckson said. The people involved had either transitioned or were in the process of transitioning to become female and some had breast implants, Buckson said."
"Rehoboth Beach Police Chief Keith Banks said the city already has laws regulating which parts of the body generally need to be covered in public but said it is a gray area when it comes to transgender people."
"Banks said no one received a citation for the incident and said he did not believe his officers actually contacted those involved, though he admitted that he had not yet spoken to responding officers about the complaint."

But, as The Washington Post notes, "Since they have male genitalia, they can't be charged with indecent exposure for showing their breasts."

Watch a short news report about the incident from ABC Action News AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. seems logical that, in cases such as this, people oughta be held to the laws that apply to the gender to which they self-identify. If they are living as women, then the law as it pertains to women...perhaps....or, perhaps all beaches should simply be nude beaches and we wouldn't have this problem...

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Jun 6, 2010 9:41:54 AM

  2. The men transitioning to women should have to adhere to the law if they have gotten as far into the transition to get implants. Women can't reveal their boobs, and these transgendered people are really women. The women-to-men situation though is much trickier. I say, if they have yet to get the reduction (unless they are small enough to be passed off as "normal" men size, then they should have to cover up to. It'll be very difficult developing a set standard for that, but that's just what I think.

    Posted by: Chris | Jun 6, 2010 9:43:58 AM

  3. Or we could ditch our ridiculous prudish notions and allow all genders to go topless. They're just breasts for fuck's sake.

    Posted by: Craig | Jun 6, 2010 9:56:14 AM

  4. i agree with Kile above. i think all beaches should probably be nude, but as they're not, I think individuals need to follow the 'rules' as to the gender they self-identify with. I just think in the long run it would be healthier for the individuals themselves to not go 'back and forth' which sex they self-identify with.

    I've been wrong before though. I might be wrong about this.

    Posted by: casey | Jun 6, 2010 9:56:37 AM

  5. (1) Steve, it's transgender *women*. Please stop reporting the bias language of your sources.

    (2) If anyone can go topless, then everyone should be able to go topless. But, until the laws are changed to respect gender equity and include sensitivity to transgender people's experiences then straight people CANNOT have it both ways. They can't treat transgender women as transgender men (as you refer to them as too) and them throw them in jail for going topless on the beach. If they are men to these straights then they broke no laws.

    Posted by: veg | Jun 6, 2010 9:57:55 AM

  6. As our next door neighbors transgendered (male to female) son was going through the transition, every Saturday he would mow their front lawn without a shirt on. When my mother asked his mother why, she said it was part of his therapy. It was to let the neighbors see the progress (we all grew up as kids together). In fact, they sent out letters to all the neighbors that knew David, to introduce his new name, Sheila. I remember when I looked out, they were just small and pointy. Not really a big difference. Not like large, round developed breast. This was back in the early 90's so maybe its done different today (i.e., large implants).

    Posted by: jp | Jun 6, 2010 10:15:17 AM

  7. These women should have known better. I think they were trying to make some noise to get attention and they did. If there are no other topless women on the Delaware/NJ beach, then it would probably be a good idea to keep your top on...and having a little common sense. We're not at the point yet where everybody's comfortable with toplessness. Bottom line, they weren't following the rules and they used their penis/transgender as an excuse to get tan boobs. Shame on them.

    Posted by: Morgan | Jun 6, 2010 10:20:46 AM

  8. Nope. The laws applying to male and female exposure should apply to these women as well. We can argue about whether those laws should be changed to allow both genders to disrobe publicly (I agree with Craig... they really are just breasts...). But until then, trans folk should have to abide by the laws pertaining to the gender with which they self-identify. I really don't think the cops were out of line or acting an a transphobic way here... it was a tricky situation at best.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jun 6, 2010 10:20:52 AM

  9. I think they should only be allowed to go topless if they do the Watusi non stop while on the beach.

    Posted by: Jim | Jun 6, 2010 10:34:32 AM

  10. Okay I'm with Jim on this one.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jun 6, 2010 10:36:34 AM

  11. Go, baby, Go! Work it on out!

    Posted by: Jim | Jun 6, 2010 10:40:19 AM

  12. Women are not allowed to show their breasts in public just like men are not allowed to show their cocks in public. If you have both, it doesn't mean you are excused from both laws - it means you have to follow them both. If you are a man who considers himself a woman, then you should probably consider acting like one and follow the laws accordingly.

    The whole "oh, everybody should be nude anyway, no big deal" argument is unrealistic and immature. There is a need to overturn America's blatant puritanism and the best way to go about that is with grace, classiness and respect, not trashy exhibitionism and confrontation.

    Also, invoking the 'discrimination' card in order to justify doing whatever the hell you want only puts more obstacles in the way of lgbt rights.

    Posted by: Daniel | Jun 6, 2010 11:16:32 AM

  13. You cant have it both ways. If you are a woman or identify as one then follow the laws according to your identity. Rehoboth is nice community and I always felt at home and welcome. These ladies are just trying to get some attention or a money from a lawsuite.

    Posted by: shan | Jun 6, 2010 11:18:18 AM

  14. Pony! Now Mashed Potato!

    Posted by: Jim | Jun 6, 2010 11:30:17 AM

  15. Rediculous that women can't go topless on a beach or whereever they want. As every post above says we need to get rid of our horribly unhealthy view of nudity.

    My ex worked at Burdines in the 90s, the store was visited by alot of vacationing Germans and he said it was common for them to strip down in the aisle to try on clothes. I wish our country was so liberated. He had a wealthy family once that had a 13 and 15 year old daughter and son and had to let them know it wasn't alright that the kids went down to their birthday suits.

    I say, more nudity.

    Posted by: Jason | Jun 6, 2010 12:00:05 PM

  16. This bothers me because it's going against what they say they are about. If you pull the male priviledge card while saying you are a woman, you just confuse the very people you're wanting to be, the average person.

    By the way, I would be impressed if they threw a little Mash Potato in with that Watusi Stomp. With Go Go boots.

    Posted by: DEREK WASHINGTON | Jun 6, 2010 12:12:40 PM

  17. i'm of the mind that beaches should be clothing optional but until the laws are changed, then, as women, they need to follow the same laws as other women.

    Posted by: alguien | Jun 6, 2010 12:16:32 PM

  18. I say less nudity, especially in america. First, it makes most normal americans uncomfortable..."get over it," doesn't change that. Second, americans are an obese, largely ugly people...and encouraging nudity is not a good idea.

    As to this, absurd. This isn't a nude beach. The end.

    Posted by: TANK | Jun 6, 2010 12:18:19 PM

  19. I agree with Craig, and whoever reported this to police is a busybody.
    In Canada, if I remember correctly, courts ruled years ago in favor of women who argued that different dress codes should not apply to different genders and therefore everyone should be allowed to go topless. It wasn't a big deal and most women there don't want to go topless, anyway; if they do, nobody should care.
    Several commenters have jumped to conclusions about these MTF women's motivations. Nowhere does the report suggest they were seeking special attention. They've surely been used to being topless all their lives at swimming pools, had phys. ed teachers telling them they'd play on the "skins" team for basketball, etc., and no one ever complained until they started looking more feminine.

    This story reminds me of a man (straight and very male identifying) I read about a few years ago who got breast implants on a dare by his beer buddies who bet he wouldn't do it. Would his breasts be allowed, I wonder, because he identifies as male?

    Posted by: GregV | Jun 6, 2010 12:27:14 PM

  20. Look, you don't get to pick which gender you identify with on a whim. If you're an FTM, then saying, "well, I've still got a penis," so you can do something that women aren't allowed to do (and arguments about that being dumb are not wrong, but they are irrelevant at the moment) takes away credibilty for the entire trans community. If you're identifying as a woman, you follow the rules set in place for women. This would be like saying, "there's a long line for the lady's room, and so for the next two minutes, I'm gonna be a dude again, and I'll switch back once I'm done peeing."

    Posted by: Chris | Jun 6, 2010 1:11:07 PM

  21. Errr MTF, rather.

    Posted by: Chris | Jun 6, 2010 1:15:01 PM

  22. Thanks Steve for changing the language in your post to "transgender women." You're great.

    Posted by: veg | Jun 6, 2010 1:22:18 PM

  23. "...saying, "well, I've still got a penis," so you can do something that women aren't allowed to do ... takes away credibilty..."

    Chris, the report never suggests they made any such argument or ever suggested that other women SHOULDN'T be allowed to do the same because they don't have penises.

    Posted by: GregV | Jun 6, 2010 1:49:12 PM

  24. Civilized countries don't check what's in your pants to let you go topless. When not giving milk, all breasts are the same. (And if you disagree, you haven't been to a beach with a fat man or a flat woman).

    Posted by: Randy | Jun 6, 2010 2:25:42 PM

  25. The reason they were so quick to fall back to their male gender is because their transgender and NOT Transsexual. They do not have a the female brain gender like a True Transsexual women who thinks and sees the world as any other genetic women does..... This is just another example of men living out their fetishes by living as women. Emphasis on the word “AS”They even tell the lifeguard that they are male when he asked them to put their tops back on....More antics by the Transgender Hoard and they wonder why no one will take them seriously give them equal rights...well here's exhibit (A) That's the reason the ones who are or once were TS want nothing to do with those who fly that Transgender flag.

    Posted by: Sweetbrandigirl2004 | Jun 6, 2010 3:04:58 PM

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