Nantucket Woman Pushing for Topless Beaches Bares All
In the words of Frances Wright, "Equality is the soul of liberty; there is, in fact, no liberty without it."
That adage can sum up the real question behind seventh-generation Nantucketer Dorothy D. Stover, asking her neighbors to vote at their May Town Meeting whether or not to allow females the same legal right as males to go topless on their beaches.
As it stands, it is unlawful for women to go topless. If Stover's warrant article passes, it will give females the legal option that doesn't exist presently.
"This Citizen's Warrant Article is looking for all-equality, for all genders, for all Nantucket Beaches," Stover said. "Currently, the law states anyone over the age of 5 is to have a top on at the beach. I'm looking to make the law equal for all genders."
Stover – nicknamed "Naughty Dotty" – is hardly a misbehaving hellion. An author, blogger, traveler, community developer and educator at the Nantucket Love School, an online center of learning, Stover teaches mostly women how to gain a deeper love of themselves and others, and a greater romantic connection.
Living all over the United States, traveling to other cultures, a love theme seems present in every aspect of her life.
"Everything I do in life, I do for love: love of my family, love of my friends, love of my community and love of the self," she said.
Asked to define what she means by love, she said, "Love is when I'm connected to God." Her energy, she said, comes from that connection.
Stover's path to this point hasn't been easy and yet it is paradoxical. She said part of her purpose comes from pain and hurt.
"Like many women and men, I've experienced sexual trauma on multiple occasions, including being molested as a child, and then raped when I was 16 years old," she said. "I felt broken and lost. I didn't know how to have a healthy romantic or sexual relationship, and that's where my journey began."
Today, Stover keeps mind, spirit and body in balance and lives by the simplicity of "loving thyself." Having extensive yoga training in India at Rishikesh Yog Peeth, Stover helps her clients realign priorities so they can be in calibration with "the love energy that connects us to God, so they can shine as brightly as they can," she said.
So how does Stover's impressive life's journey equate with women being allowed to go topless?
"It's a matter of equality and justice," she said. "The Nantucket Love School is built on a foundation absent of prejudice, but advancement of co-equality, and with this Town Meeting vote, I'm looking for all genders to have equal freedom under the law."
The Nantucket Town Meeting is scheduled for May 2. The meeting could last a few days, according to Stover.