Those upset with today’s political climate likely do one of three things: rant on social media while sitting safely behind a screen; mentally check out and occupy their time with Netflix or a new hobby like knitting scarves; or get out there and do something — from volunteering to organizing an event that champions women’s rights.
Winstead is one of the founders of the Lady Parts Justice League, which has organized this eight-week, 16-city tour that features comedy and music all in the name of raising funds and awareness for reproductive rights and local abortion clinics.
Louisville is the final stop of the tour, and performers include Winstead, Gina Yashere, Joyelle Johnson, Leah Bonnema, and Dr. Willie Parker, and musicians Jill Sobule, Holly Miranda and Ambrosia Parsley. The event will show support for Louisville’s EMW Women’s Surgical Center — currently the only provider of abortion services in Kentucky.
Winstead tells Insider her group has been hosting one-off shows of this nature for a few years now — including one in Louisville in 2016 — but she figured by organizing a national tour, it would bring more attention and support for comedy, community and clinics.
“Abortion rights have for far too long been considered a women’s issue or, worse, a wedge issue, and I just felt it was time to refocus my activism to reestablish and reiterate the notion that abortion rights are human rights,” says Winstead. “When and if you want to raise a family is one of the cornerstones of having control over your economic destiny, so controlling how, when and if that happens is an economic justice issue everyone should be actively fighting for.”
As one might assume, an event of this nature does not come without controversy or protest. She says the shows often attract abortion protesters with the gruesome fetus signs, which she believes is hypocrisy at its finest.
“Their driving purpose is to scream at and shame women. They thrive on it,” says Winstead. “I have been in several situations where a protestor will yell at me all day, ignoring the patients they supposedly want to save. The hypocrisy drips off of them.”
The “Vagical Mystery Tour” also provides educational opportunities for attendees, including making sure everyone knows who their state representatives are who are opposing women’s reproductive rights.
“The erosion of access to safe and legal abortion is front and center in federal, state and local politics, so I feel we should be centering it in our comedy and activism as well,” she says.
Winstead adds she looks forward to bringing joy to people who live in states controlled by, in her words, “political neanderthals.”
“There are so many people pushing back and fighting hard, and we think they deserve some fun,” she says. “Also, sometimes they don’t realize how under attack abortion rights are in their state, because everything else is also under siege, so I love having the chance to give the audience the opportunity to hear from their friends and neighbors who are doing the work so they can be inspired to join them.”
The “Vagical Mystery Tour” starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, at Headliners, 1386 Lexington Road. Tickets are $20 for general admission or $25 for reserved seating.