Friday, June 9, 2017

A 21st Century Civil Rights Issue for the Trump Administration: Topless Female Lifeguards (Updated)

An article in today's Washington Post suggests a great opportunity for the Trump Administration to be at the vanguard of the fight for civil rights. The Post reports that Ocean City has instructed beach patrol employees not to approach women who are sunbathing topless -- at least until the Maryland Attorney General can weigh in. The question presented here is whether allowing men to go topless but not allowing women the same privilege is sex discrimination. And if female sunbathers should have the right to go topless, then so too should female lifeguards.

Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration should step up to the plate. Why should female lifeguards not have the same rights that male lifeguards have? What better way for the administration to give the lie to the misperception that it caters to the interests of white men than by taking to task municipalities that suppress the rights of female employees? From what I've seen of the tv show Baywatch, those tops really slow women down. So women will be freer and more lives will be saved. A win-win.

Update: On June 15th, two attorneys in the Maryland Attorney General's Office advised Ocean City of their view that interpreting laws against indecent exposure to prohibit women from going topless does not violate equal protection guarantees under the U.S. or Maryland Constitution. From what I can tell, this boils down to a prohibition against exposed female nipples. I recently learned from my primary news source, "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!", about "side boob," and in doing research for this post, I've learned that there's also "underboob," so throwing in regular old cleavage, that just leaves out the nipple.

This blog reflects the views solely of its author. It is not intended, and should not be regarded, as legal advice on how to analyze any particular set of facts.