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I have a legal right to go shirtless in public in New Hampshire

To The Daily Sun,

As the court date in December for the topless (sunbathing) citation approaches, I would like to remind the people of New Hampshire of some things.

Firstly, it is not illegal in the state of New Hampshire for a woman to expose her breasts or nipples. The reason two women are going to court is because there are places, like Gilford Town Beach, that have a discriminatory ordinance prohibiting women from going topless and Laconia that specifically prohibit showing the areola and nipple. But it is not a state law.

I have been told by several people that some New Hampshire legislators have been contacting citizens looking for people in support of making it illegal for a woman to go topless. If you are someone who supports such a law I want you to remember this: today, as I write this, Dec. 8, I have the legal right as a woman to go shirtless in public. Again, I already have this right. If you support legislation that prohibits women from going shirtless you are in support of taking away a right from women they already possess.

The worst part is it wasn't until we exercised our right to freedom of expression that you decided it must be taken away. See, there was no need for a law because our society has "rules" in place that taught us that girls and women must never show their breasts or nipples unless they want to have sex. We have been told and have been telling each other that breasts are for sexual pleasure and to express sexuality, nothing more, nothing less. Our society says women's bodies are obscene and inherently pornographic. It wasn't until other women and I said, "Screw your social rules," and exercised our legal right to go shirtless that you decided something else must be done.

You know now that your societal expectations and public shaming won't stop us, so you have to use the law to oppress us instead. You know you have to criminalize female nipples or else more and more women every year will shed their shirts because they want to, and they can. If people of the Live Free or Die state are so quick to take away my rights, I wonder what other rights will be taken away next? The right to bear arms perhaps?

Let's face it, guns are more harmful and dangerous to us and our children than any pair of nipples. How many children and adolescents are injured or die each year because of firearms? Now compare that with how many are injured or killed from breasts and nipples. I don't use that example because I am against guns. I use that example to point out the hypocrisy and how ridiculous it is that my nipples are perceived as more dangerous and harmful than a gun, which can be openly carried in public.

If you are for such legislation I can't help but assume that you really do not support freedom and equality. You must not believe in freedom of expression. You can't possibly believe that all humans are created equal. The question isn't do you believe women should have the same right as men to go shirtless. No, the question is do you believe women should have the same rights as men? Period. I'm not asking anyone to grant me a right; I am telling you to not take away a right I already have.

Kia Sinclair


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Neighbors in need thanks you for your support, for your humanity

To The Daily Sun,

Many times over the years, my wife and I have been asked, "Why do you spend so much time volunteering for the various non-profits and charities with whom you're involved." My answer is always the same. The reason permeates our philosophy of life; it describes the organizations we support; it explains why Neighbors in Need organization exists.

I think one of John Donne's poems best captures the essence of my answer to inquiring friends and family. I repeat it here...

"No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thy friend's Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

Donne's message has been echoed by many through the ages. It was repeated by one of the great Native American chiefs when he wrote to the then American president that "your God is my God. We are all bound by our humanity like the strands of a spider web. Destroy one strand; you imperil the entire web."

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. captured the principle in his letter from a Birmingham jail when he wrote, "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly."

Neighbors in Need embodies this principle of concern for all mankind. Our efforts to help those in need strengthens the bond between all in our community. You, as a supporter of our work, are also caught up in this commonality of all people ... regardless of faith, creed, nationality, race, or gender. In Donne's words, you are "involved in mankind." You are part of the web of life itself. You are helping us fight injustice for your fellow man.
We thank you for such participation. We thank you for your help. We thank you for your humanity. We sincerely hope that you will continue in that support. Blessings of this special season to you and your family.

Bill Johnson, President

Neighbors in Need

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