An Inspired Idea
It might seem unusual to plan a burlesque show to raise funds for an organization that advocates for issues as serious as abortion and reproductive freedom, but Jordan Wyer explained how the idea came about during a strategic planning meeting for her organization.
“We were talking about who we wanted Reclaim to be and what we wanted to become and how we were going to help people,” Wyer said, of the organization whose mission is to “reclaim” dignity around, confidence in and support of abortion and reproductive rights through advocacy and education, community engagement, storytelling and abortion funding.
“And one of our board members mentioned that we should bust abortion stigma — which is one of the things we like to do — through burlesque, who also use their ‘bust’ in different ways.”
Not only did she discover that a former clinic employee who is a performer was keen on the idea, Wyer also found tremendous interest among the burlesque community in lending their talents to the endeavor.
Thus, “Busting Stigma” was born, Reclaim’s first-ever fundraiser, to be held Saturday, Sept. 7. A raffle, palm and tarot readings, food truck, cash bar and more are planned.
“These are people that have reclaimed their own bodies,” Wyer said. “And that empowerment is definitely something that drew me towards burlesque” as the focus of the fundraiser.
Abortion Rights: An LGBTQ Issue
Those same themes of empowerment and reclaiming one’s body are what make abortion rights a universal issue, an issue that is sometimes given less attention within the LGBTQ community than perhaps it should. Wyer, who is an ally, explained.
“I think first and foremost … that women are not the only people that have abortions. We have to stop erasing the trans community from the abortion conversation,” she said.
What underlies both abortion rights and LGBTQ rights is the right to make decisions about one’s body. Wyer cited a parallel between laws that would dictate how one can love and whom one can marry with when and how one can have children.
“It’s really giving the power back to the individual and doing what’s best for them as opposed to what the law thinks that you should do,” Wyer said.
Not only that, “Everyone knows someone who’s had an abortion, and everyone loves someone who’s had an abortion,” Wyer said. “I think that for so long it’s been just a woman’s issue, and that’s not how pregnancy works.”
Wyer also talked about how close we are to losing the right to abortion altogether or having access drastically limited in Michigan, as petitions for two ballot initiatives are currently being circulated.
“We need to be diligent in what we’re signing and also who we’re electing,” Wyer said. “And making sure that pro-choice policy comes first, because without abortion care we have no way to control our reproductive futures.”
On Sept. 7, though, Wyer will be diligent about ensuring that Busting Stigma is a success. Find out more online at https://secure.givelively.org/event/reclaim-inc/busting-stigma-a-burlesque-show.