11/23/2015 06:15 EST | Updated 11/23/2015 06:59 EST

Alberta Burlesque Dancers Applaud Change To Nudity Legislation


Alberta burlesque artists are celebrating after the province changed its nudity laws to allow topless performances.

The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) released a bulletin mandating the change on Monday morning, saying that the "exposure of female breasts is no longer considered 'nude.'"

Raven Virginia, a performer with The Garter Girls troupe in Calgary, had been actively lobbying the AGLC to have the law changed for the past six years.

"Thank you AGLC for respecting our human rights, our rights as artists and our agency over our own bodies so that our industry can thrive," the troupe wrote on Facebook Monday.

Previously, Alberta burlesque performers were classified in the same "nude entertainment" category as exotic dancers because they refused to wear full bras, opting for pasties instead.

Alberta's old nudity policy was enacted in 1990, after the Citizens for Decency group demanded a crackdown in the industry.

"Naked dancing creates lust. Alcohol lowers inhibitions,” Audrey Jensen, one of the group's representatives, said in 1991, according to the Alberta Venture. “This results in acts like rapes, sexual assaults and murders.”

Alen Chaudhry, booking and sales coordinator for Calgary's Arts Commons, told the Calgary Herald that the old policy was "archaic" and that it unfairly targeted female performers.

The AGLC's new policy defines nudity as "the exposure of genitals," male or female.

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