Gay group criticizes transgender women for going topless on Delaware beach

Posted on 03 Jun 2010 at 3:31pm

Since we occasionally traveled to Rehoboth Beach, Del., when I was a kid, I thought I’d point you all to this little nugget from my childhood vacation destination.

The News Journal reports that some transgender women decided to bare their enhanced breasts on a public, non-topless beach over Memorial Day weekend, and the incident has left the city in a real uproar. Beach-goers complained to lifeguards, who asked the trans women to put their shirts back on and called police. The trans women complied before police arrived, but it wouldn’t have mattered. The police chief acknowledges that they didn’t break any laws, since they have male genitalia. According to Rehoboth law, “A male is guilty of indecent exposure if he exposes his genitals or buttocks under circumstances which he knows his conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to another person.”

One city commissioner says she plans to revisit the law in response to the incident. And the director of a local gay group is criticizing the trans women:

“Technically it wasn’t against the law,” said Steve Elkins, executive director of CAMP Rehoboth, a nonprofit based in Rehoboth that aims to promote a positive environment for the gay and lesbian community. “However, there are situations where people who — because of feelings about their birth, because of who they are — perceive themselves as females. I think we have to respect that, but on the other hand since they chose to identify themselves as females, they have to respect the law.”

This reminds me of the recent marriage between a transgender woman and a cisgender woman in Texas. Some gay-rights advocates criticized the couple for taking advantage of a loophole in state law, saying the marriage only creates more confusion. In both cases, I tend to disagree. What do you think?

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