On Woman's Equality Day, hundreds of people gathered for the Go Topless Parade in Manhattan, to celebrate equal shirtless rights for all. As with all events with naked elements, there seemed to be a parallel parade of (mostly male) onlookers snapping photographs, prompting one marcher to yell, "The internet is full of boobs you know!"

In a statement, Go Topless spokesperson Rachel Jessee explained, "Our goal is for equal gender topless rights to be enforced worldwide, freeing women's nipples." Similar parades were also held in Los Angeles and in dozens of cities around the world on Saturday, but Jessee noted, "New York has been one of the world's few cities to legally recognize women’s topless rights." She also credited the movement gaining traction with the movie Free the Nipple and celebrity support from Scout Willis, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Iggy Azalea, Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler, "who have been baring their nipples publicly."

Parade participants were mostly from NYC and the surrounding region, but a pair of marchers came from Canada (Montreal and Toronto) specifically to attend the event. Many of the participants were newcomers to the parade, and they and veterans alike eagerly seized the opportunity to march topless to destigmatize and desexualize the female body from Columbus Circle to Bryant Park.

While there were some tourists surprised by the parade—our photographer overheard some saying "Whoa, crazy New York!" or "Go ladies!"—there was a large, almost overwhelming contingent of men with cameras and smartphones following the parade. The Post reports some male hecklers were "quickly ushered away by cops".

Some participants told Gothamist that it was worse in past years when there was a smaller police presence and no barriers—all were appreciative of the heavy police turnout.

The Go Topless movement also has roots in the Raelian movement, which believes that aliens created life on Earth. Jessee said, "Spiritual leader, ​Maitreya Rael, who inspired the creation of​ GoTopless and founded the Raelian Movement, says there must be absolute equality between men and women to ensure the preservation of society. Centuries of gender inequality and exclusive male rule created major planetary imbalances that could prove fatal to society. It’s time for change!” She added that enforcement of equal topless rights is a crucial aspect of gender equality.

Additional reporting by Sai Mokhtari.