Inspired by the recent Supreme Court decision in the U.S. to overturn Roe v. Wade, an upcoming variety show being staged in Windsor, Ont. is speaking out on women's rights to safe and legal abortions and raise money for local charities.
The show, which takes place this Friday at the Rockstar Music Hall in the city which borders Michigan, is aptly named Speaking Out: Uteruses Unite. It is a variety show featuring local female performers along side members of the LGBT and BIPOC ((Black, Indigenous and people of colour) communities.
"I'm really proud of how in Canada we have the right to our physical freedom and bodily autonomy," said Samantha Lillian, producer of Speaking Out: Uteruses Unite.
"I stand in solidarity with our sisters from the states but I also don't want to see that come to Canada."
The show organizers describe it as "living performance" and will combine everything from dance, to music to visual art to acting and spoken word.
"This isn't just going to be a show, this is going to be a protest," Lillian said.
Lillian said she was proud when she became pregnant with her now eight-month-old baby but said she said there are complicated hard truths around the conversation of pro-choice and pro-life. She is both excited and nervous about the show because it is the first time she has produced anything and is doing so with the help of a friend who goes by the name Disco Jesus.
"We're not here to put our opinions or our beliefs onto other people," Lillan said. "We are saying you have the right to do whatever the heck you want to do with your body."
Lillian said she has bumped into a number of Americans while spreading the word about the show who are concerned about the affect the Supreme Court's decision will have on future generations.
"I think the more we show support globally but also literally like right next door for those that are doing the pro-choice fight over there right now," Lillian said. "I think it's extremely important for our voices to be put out there."
'A war on everybody'
Nicole Coffman, a performer who goes by the stage name Miss Mercury Retrograde, said she has family in the U.S. that the laws will be affecting.
"Even if I didn't have [family] there, just hearing the news of what's going on," Coffman said. "Just having our autonomy stripped from us is a war on women people who identify as women, it's a war on everybody."
She is going to be performing two numbers at the show; one about a 50s housewife finding her own sexuality and another about eating the patriarchy "pretty much literally."
"It's just poking fun at a serious topic because I know it will be a good mix for the show," she said.
"I know there are people who are going to be very serious and amazing and we'll have an ebb and flow of the two together."
Along with paying the artists performing in the show some proceeds will also go toward the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, Hiatus House, Welcome Centre Shelter for Women, and Trans Wellness Ontario.