A small group of transgender women who
went topless over the Memorial Day weekend in Rehoboth Beach,
Delaware have created a stir.
Beachgoers in the small – and
gay-welcoming – seaside town complained to lifeguards about the
topless women. The pre-operative transgender women initially refused
to cover up, but complied once police arrived.
Police say the women would not have
been arrested under the city's indecent exposure law because they did
“It is important to say that under
Rehoboth law this was not against the law,” Police Chief Keith
Banks told The News Journal of Delaware. “In this case,
they had male genitalia; therefore, they are not guilty of a crime.”
At least one gay activist disagreed,
saying that transgender people should follow the laws that apply to
the sex they identify with.
“If a person was born male but
identifies and is transitioning as a female then they need to abide
by the laws that deal with females but they also need to be respected
and treated that way,” Steve Elkins, director of gay group Camp
Rehoboth, told local CBS affiliate WWMT Newschannel 3.
While Banks said current rules
regulating beach nudity suffice, Rehoboth Commissioner Kathy
McGuiness said she would bring up the issue at a town hall meeting
“I hardly see us reversing the
topless law. I don't think we are going to repeal it and allow women
to go topless,” McGuiness said. “Now if someone is going to go
through the process of having implants, then they probably should
think about following the laws of the person they would like to