Topless rally a bust

Only two women took part in the Penticton topless celebration on the steps of Penticton city hall.

Gail Owen (left) and Jo Scofield were the only two women who participated in the topless rally on the steps of Penticton city hall Aug. 23.

Gail Owen (left) and Jo Scofield were the only two women who participated in the topless rally on the steps of Penticton city hall Aug. 23.

Standing bare chested and alone on the steps of Penticton City Hall 65-year-old grandmother Gail Owen of Oliver bravely outlined her stand on women’s equality to go topless to just a handful of people Aug. 23.

While she was eventually joined by another woman, Jo Scofield, partway through the local rally, Owen admitted afterwards she was unhappy with the lack of promised support for the cause, which is part of a national and international campaign encouraging women to go topless anywhere men are allowed to do the same.

“There were over 200 people who said they were going to be here today, but I always take that with a grain of salt because it is Penticton and Penticton is very hard to get anybody to do anything,” said Scofield.

No one from the organizing committee showed up to the event. Scofield had read about the rally prior to the event and decided to take part based on her beliefs about the need for equality between sexes.

“We change things by doing exactly what we are doing, by doing it in an environment where it’s not a big deal cause it shouldn’t be,” she said. “It’s only a big deal if people make it a big deal. Once you normalize it, it’s no more a big deal than guys walking around without a shirt on.”

While only a few people actually came close enough to hear Owen speak, a number of others watched from a distance up and down Main Street. Several vehicles also did a couple of laps around the 100-block to take in the proceedings.

Penticton RCMP also had a presence in the area as cruisers and an unmarked car drove by, but did not stop. A planned march to Lakeshore Drive from city hall was cancelled.

“We’re here as part of a celebration, a celebration of women’s rights in B.C. since the year 2000 to go topless wherever they want and what that means is what the judges have said is where men can go topless, women have that same right,” said Owen, who regularly rides her bicycle without a top in the community where she lives.

She accused Penticton city council and RCMP of being “small minded” when it comes to women going topless.

One person watching the small gathering was Jane Turnell, who was working across the street and decided to come over to see what was going on.

“I support them for what they’re doing, if I was young and perky I might do it,” said Turnell. “I want the right for women to breastfeed their babies without people irritating them and telling them to cover up and go in the bathroom. Would you eat in the bathroom? No. I admire them (Owen and Scofield) for the courage. I’m sorry I don’t have enough courage.”

This was the eighth consecutive year the international GoTopless organization has arranged similar rallies. Including Penticton, six Canadian cities held rallies.

The group states in addition to Ontario this right is has been legally recognized in Saskatchewan since 1997 and in British Columbia since 2000. The other provinces have yet follow suit.

Meanwhile, Owen is promising to continue to do whatever she can to promote the cause, even if it means having to stand alone.

“It is something I believe in very strongly and I’m not going to stop,” she said.

 

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read