DailyMail: A transsexual who bike rides, barbecues and bush walks half-naked to promote ‘topless equality’ was confronted by police following dozens of complaints about her public nudity.
Stacey Schnee, 38, was pulled over by two police cruisers earlier this month after neighbors complained about her wearing nothing but shorts, shoes and a helmet as she cycled through Leicester, Massachusetts.
Her public display didn’t just turn heads – traffic slowed down, motorists honked, some people took video, while others shouted they would call police.
But officers didn’t arrest the single mom because she was wearing pasties over her nipples, meaning she wasn’t completely nude. However, Schnee said the officers weren’t really sure how to interpret the law as they stood next to her on the side of the road.
‘They were trying to tell me I was doing something wrong, and I argued back that no, it’s not, it’s legal,’ Schnee told telegram.com. ‘You don’t even actually have to [wear pasties], but it’s way easier to get out of trouble when you are wearing them in this state because the laws are shady.
‘So, after talking with them [officers] for about five minutes they said, ‘Well, just get out of Leicester so we don’t have to deal with the calls. Just go back to Worcester’.’
However the unusual incident has forced police and the district attorney’s office to take a fresh look at local laws, meaning Schnee could still be charged. ‘Based upon a review of the law, it is unclear whether her partially covering herself up, puts her on the right side of the law,’ Leicester Police Chief James Hurley said. ‘She is out there riding around, appearing to be topless and exposing herself for the shock value.’
Massachusetts General Laws imply if only a small part of the breast is covered, it should be considered nudity. Other sections of the law state a breast is uncovered if there is no covering ‘below a point immediately above the top of the areolae.’
Other sections of the law mention the intent to shock is to be considered illegal as well.
Schnee is a member of activist group, Topless Equality, which advocates for women to be able to be bare-chested, like men, in public. She frequently goes topless in the privacy of her home – she gardens, chops wood, barbecues and cuts the grass without a shirt.
Sometimes, she takes her fleshy protest outdoors to ‘get the word out that women should be able to go topless‘.
‘Speaking out for Topless Equality is simply a fundamental right that I will shout from every rooftop that I am allowed to,’ Schnee said, according to her profile on the Topless Equality website. ‘Living in Massachusetts and having Toplessness considered illegal, and a violation of Indecent Exposure laws in many cities, has been very restricting.
‘I am a nudist and believe that if given a chance that America, Massachusetts, and Boston can be more open minded and see that there is no harm in allowing both sexes, and every race, creed and size the right to be free to be topless in public.’
Schnee has acknowledged she has a ‘unique perspective’ on public nudity, partly influenced by the fact she was born a man. Schnee had gender reassignment surgery in June 2011 and breast augmentation last year.
She said before the transition, she struggled with her identity and wanted to commit suicide. But having lived as both a man and a woman gives her an uncommon perspective on the topless equality issue.
‘This puts me in a unique position to fight for topless rights since it is a right that I lost when a single letter was changed on my driver’s license — from M to F,’ she said.
However telegram.com reported neighbors in the middle-class area are outraged at Schnee’s bare-skinned antics, particularly when she walks topless with her two children.
‘I’m topless and even nude in front of my kids all the time,’ Schnee said. ‘For them it’s nothing. They don’t see it as anything strange at all. They just don’t care. ‘This is just how our family is. It’s just a little different. Daddy has breasts and Daddy is now a girl. To them it’s completely normal.‘