"Free your breasts, free your mind!"

The rallying cry of the gotopless.org activists rang out on Broadway as they marched bare-chested from Columbus Circle to East 47th Street on Sunday. New York City was one of nearly 60 cities across the globe to march on August 28 in GoTopless Pride Parades, in order to free the nipple on behalf of women's equality.

"Women should have the right to free themselves. I hope we give the idea women should be equal in every field," said Nadia Salois, one of the GoTopless Pride Parade organizers.

The parade is planned each year on the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day, August 26, which was designated by U.S. Congress in 1971 to commemorate the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote.

The activists are fighting on behalf of a woman’s right to go topless in public, just as men are, without reproach, arrest or abuse. The movement was founded in 2009 by Claude Vorilhon, also known as Rael, the spiritual leader of Raelism of which the religious principals call for absolute equality of the sexes.

As of 1992, it is in fact legal for a woman to go topless in New York City, but the right is not often exercised, and even police who are unaware of the law have tried to arrest women who bare their breasts in the city. In one civil rights case in 2007, NYC paid out $29,000 in a settlement to a topless artist who had been arrested in 2005.

"I’ve been a feminist since age 12," said Clare Hogenauer, 70, as she waited bare breasted for the parade to begin under the hot noon sun. The former criminal defense attorney, who is currently fighting bone cancer, wants to inspire women to be proud of their bodies and unashamed to claim the same rights that men have to take their shirts off.

"Hopefully one day it will be normal for a women to take her shirt off on a hot day in the park or at the beach," said Salois, a Montreal native. "I’m not talking about going to the supermarket or school. But anywhere that a man may want to remove his shirt a woman should too and not be humiliated."

Plenty of men came out to support the toplessness, and while many were ogling, attempting to taking selfies with marchers, and screwing on telephoto lenses, many were there to advocate for the express cause of empowering women to free their breasts, whether for the reasons of breastfeeding, comfort or personal expression.

Joseph Dunsay marched topless to "support gender equality in the law," said the writer from New Jersey.

"It's about freedom of expression and First Amendment rights. I realized that what people wear is a way to speak, and modesty is a prescription of society but not the law," said Dunsay.

"Whether breasts are sexual depends on other factors, such as what's above the neck and her intentions. Men should learn not to cat call a person just because her top is off," he added.

Though the goal may be to desexualize the breast, some witnessing the parade don't see that as a realistic possibility.

"I don't want naked pics of myself on the internet, because they're not going to end up on desexualizednipple.com," said Mandy Stadtmiller. "It's an ignorant form of idealism--you can't change men."