Well Being

Post-Mastectomy Woman Banned From Swimming Topless By Discriminatory Parks Dept.

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The Seattle Parks and Recreation is refusing to let a breast cancer survivor swim topless in the city's public pool–even though she has no breasts, she considers herself androgynous, and the city allows public nudity. It's really a form of discrimination at its finest, proving once again, that our society is just overly obsessed with breasts–and doesn't have a clue how to deal with women who don't have them.

As The Stranger reported this week, flat-chested Jodi Jaecks who underwent a double mastectomy without opting for reconstructive surgery, was prohibited from swimming topless in the Seattle's public pool without “gender appropriate swimwear.” The 45-year-old says she wasn't really asking for permission, she was merely being respectful and letting the pool employee know that she would be swimming topless.

Why? Jaecks explained that when she wears a post-mastectomy swimsuit, she experiences burning, intense nerve pain across her scarred chest. Nevertheless, she was told that she must cover up her chest so she wouldn't offend anyone at this “family facility” who insists that Jaecks was merely trying to be shocking.

Parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter believes this is more about getting attention than human rights:

She made it clear she wanted to show her scars as a ‘badge of courage' and wanted to use the pool to spread her message.

But Jaecks doesn't agree. She is a lesbian who considers herself “pretty androgynous” and makes a good point by asking how the rules apply to transgender swimmers. Because, what would happen if a male who was dressing as a female wanted to swim topless? Or a woman who was dressing as a man?

Potter explained that the answer would be simple:

A transsexual would wear a bathing suit of the gender he or she is at the time of using a pool.

So does that mean if Jaecks referred to herself as a dude, she would then be allowed to swim topless?

To add insult to injury, nudity is legal in Seattle. Assuming, of course, that it's not “accompanied by behavior that causes a reasonable person affront or alarm,” according to Sergeant Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department.

Not only that, but this so-called family pool is sending the wrong message to kids and families–like, a woman should be ashamed of her breastless body and cover up so she doesn't offend anyone.

How about encouraging women to love their post-cancer bodies and be proud of the strength, courage and power that they had in their cancer battle? I think she looks beautiful.

Tell us what you think.

Photo: thestranger.com

UPDATE: The city of Seattle's parks department has now agreed to allow Jaecks to swim topless–assuming she complies with a certain rule. Take a look at our updated post here.