Fort Collins just got a lot cooler.

For decades the city has upheld a ban on breasts in public. Female toplessness was forbidden — legally — and women who were apprehended by police out flaunting their hoo-has would be ticketed and fined. The nipple prohibition was alive and well in the Choice City.

But no more.  

Back in January the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s ruling that a ban on female toplessness was discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional. Why should men be allowed to show off their areolas with impunity and not women? It wasn’t fair, the judge ruled. And now, women in Fort Collins no longer have to worry about being accosted by the police for taking off their shirts and bras.

In fact, the federal judge’s ruling affects far more than just Fort Collins. The ruling effectively makes it legal for women in all of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma to free them nipples and let the sun shine where it normally can’t.

It’s a huge win for the Free the Nipple movement, who has been pressuring Fort Collins to drop its ban on female toplessness for years now. Back in 2015 they sued the City of Fort Collins because of the law, which forced the City to legalize some topless exceptions: for medical emergencies, breast feeding, etc.

But recreational toplessness was still very much illegal for women in the city.

Until now. On September 17th, 2019 the ban was officially removed from the town’s public nudity statutes and a new era of nipple liberation began in Fort Collins — and for that matter, across America.

But, according to Tyler Marr, the policy and project analyst for the City of Fort Collins, that probably won’t change much about the life in the city.

“The number of incidents that were ticketed is minimal,” he says. “I'm not aware that we were rampantly writing public nudity tickets … I think that on the whole we're not anticipating major changes.

Which is probably the right kind of expectation to have. Female toplessness has been legal in both Denver and Boulder for years and neither city is overrun with bare-chested women parading through the streets.

Really, what this comes down to is leveling the playing field. Groups like Free the Nipple aren’t fighting this hard, simply because they want to let their boobs hang loose — they’re fighting for the principal. The fact that female toplessness is illegal and punishable, while male toplessness is so routine people hardly notice it, is injust, they argue.

So, rejoice ladies (and, gents, too for that matter). This is a sexy step towards equality. Now, we can all take our tops off, legally, lawfully, joyfully, spreading the love of a shirtless state, and enjoying the sweet, sweet feeling of freedom.

Sometimes, progress truly is a beautiful thing.