Ask the Mayor: Can Women Go Topless at the Beach?
Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his staff.
Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa at [email protected], 270-7855 or mail them to 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793.
Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.
Q: I took my family to a popular beach last weekend, and was dismayed to see that a woman near us was sunbathing topless. Is that even legal here in the Aloha State?
My kids were curious and I told them to just look the other way; eventually, we moved to a different section of the beach. It was embarrassing for me and my husband, so I wondered what the deal was with sunbathing topless in a public area in Hawai‘i.
A: Sunbathing topless is permissible by Hawai‘i law, which only prohibits open lewdness or intentionally exposing one’s genitals “to a person to whom the person is not married under circumstances in which the actor’s conduct is likely to cause affront.” The laws do not forbid one from exposing their breasts, so sunbathing topless is not a criminal offense and you and your family were wise to do exactly what you did- change location because you felt uncomfortable.
The laws do not forbid one from exposing their breasts, so sunbathing topless is not a criminal offense and you and your family were wise to do exactly what you did—change location because you felt uncomfortable.