EVANSTON, Ill. — A proposal is on the table that would allow anybody to go topless at all Evanston beaches across the city. 

Devon Reid, the 8th Ward Council member behind the proposal, says the change in the name of equality for all. 

“This would mean that women would have the right, women and other people who have breasts too, to go topless in public,” Reid told WGN News via Zoom. “Since this public discussion, I’ve had residents who are women who have suffered with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy reach out to me and said they’re thankful this law is being reviewed. I’ve had members of the trans community, whether it’s trans men or trans women, reach out to me. Their thankful they’re reviewing this.”  

The city’s public nudity ordinance has been in effect since the 1950s and doesn’t allow the exposure of female breasts. 

“Especially as we’re watching the Supreme Court strip away the rights of women, citing laws from the 1800s. I don’t want some court in the future to look back at Evanston’s laws and try to draw some warped decision stating that is the norm,” Reid said. “There’s differences between men and women in the sexualization of their bodies.” 

Not everyone is on board with this idea, however.  

Some who spent their Monday afternoon at Clark Street Beach were shocked to hear of the possibility.  

“Evanston is an amazing place with lots of liberties and wonderful things. I just think that it sounds kind of ridiculous,” city resident Wendy Metter said.  

Others acknowledged that they wouldn’t go topless themselves, but that shouldn’t stop others from doing so. 

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“I think it’s people’s personal choices and we shouldn’t be telling other people how to live,” beach-goer Syd Otto said. 

Reid hopes the city of Evanston can follow other North Shore communities such as Skokie and Winnetka, allowing anyone the right to go barechested.

“I think that Evanston could follow suit,” Reid says, “especially since Evanston has been a leader in reparation and other equity issues.”