What does TERA do?

You will answer that question best by roaming around our site. To start, below are some excerpts from the Association's constitution.

You may wonder why we were so specific that our first financial support went towards a situation in Cambridge, Ontario (paragraph 3A below). We felt that we had the best chance there to overturn a repressive and invalid bylaw that forbade women to go topfree in many places while allowing men to do so. This bylaw went against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as a high court decision of December 1996.

It turns out we were right. We helped overturn the unconstitutional portion of that bylaw. So now we continue our struggle in other parts of Ontario and Canada, and help women in the USA too.

Unfortunately in this country, a municipal council may pass bylaws in opposition to higher laws. This leaves it up to private individuals to challenge the bylaws, while the politicians cannot be made responsible for their actions. The result is large expense for a few courageous people.

TERA (Topfree Equal Rights Association)

  1. The primary purpose of the Association is to collect and distribute funds to be used to assist women who encounter legal difficulty being topfree in public places where men are so allowed, and thereby enjoying rights and freedoms equal to those of men, as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Human Rights Act, and other relevant legislation and judicial decisions.

  2. The Association will also, whenever feasible, seek to inform the public of its position on this issue, including the following.

    1. Women have the right to control their own bodies; in particular, to use their breasts in a nonsexual manner and have others respect that.

    2. Women must be allowed to decide for themselves whether they wish to go topfree, and if so, where and when, just as men are so allowed.

    3. Topfree women behaving nonsexually and noncommercially in a public place are not indecent or obscene.

    4. Requiring women but not men to cover their breasts in any location constitutes unwarranted discrimination based on sex.

    5. Those opposing these positions must be respected for their personal opinions, fears, or beliefs. However, they do not have the right to require others to share them nor thereby to restrict others' rights.

  3. The Association will establish a fund for the purpose outlined in clause 1. Priority in funding is established as follows. In all cases, "expenses" mean primarily legal expenses and secondarily other expenses which are directly related to the purposes of the Association.

    1. To help pay expenses of women such as Fátima Pereira Henson of Cambridge, Ontario who decide to swim as unrestrictedly as men in public swimming pools in Cambridge. This may include but is not limited to practical or legal challenges of parts of Cambridge City Council bylaw 72-97, passed on May 12 1997.

    2. To help pay expenses of other women who are in similar situations elsewhere in Canada or the USA.


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