By KEYSHA M. WALL, Arts and Entertainment Editor
It’s 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night and I’m still at school, but I’m dancing like someone possessed. Naturally, I’m dancing for one reason and one reason only: on January 24 of 1973, the Supreme Court finally decided in favor of legal abortions in the infamous Roe vs. Wade case.
But why dancing? In fact, why a celebration? I admit that I had my misconceptions about the event beforehand, but I had the opportunity to sit down with Sam Ehlert and Julia Cuneo, two of the masterminds behind the event, and talk to them about it.
The freedom of choice is important to both Sam and Julia. “I feel thankful to our feminist foremothers who fought for these rights and I believe that it’s extremely important to celebrate what they have helped fight for,” Julia told me as we relaxed after the event.
“Roe vs. Rave was about having fun and celebrating reproductive justice. We wanted to express that having these rights is a fun and exciting thing! It’s something to be proud of and happy about!”
“We were trying to think of a way to celebrate such a landmark decision and I just said Roe vs. Rave,” Sam confided in me before we danced, laughing as he recalled the memory. “They looked at me and were like, you know we’re going to do that, right?”
Choice is important to Sam because, as a trans man, his body is impacted by every legislation that passes on issues that have to do with the bodies of people who were assigned as female at birth. “I hope to shift the dialogue about trans* people away from just our physical transitions, and as Laverne Cox has said, talk about the realities of our lived experiences,” he explained to me later on. “The prevailing narrative regarding reproductive justice is often centered around women, but it is important to keep in mind that this is a topic that has a profound impact on people of all genders.”
As for the event itself, both Sam and Julia expressed how important it was to express the joys of being able to choose for oneself, not just the aspect of fighting for those rights. “Pro-choice narratives tend to have a militant tone, things like ‘We must take back our rights!’ That has its place, but… we as a community need to feel connected to each other. Whether it’s through dancing or a rally, through pins, flyers, or glow sticks. They’re all important. They all serve a purpose.”
The entire event had a very Heather Ault-esque vibe to it, which was very fitting seeing as Sam was sporting a very swanky shirt from Ault’s 4000 Years for Choice campaign, a mellow green shirt with a yellow silhouette of a uterus and the word “TRUST” emblazoned across it. I was completely overdressed in a sweater and heavy boots.
Still, I danced. I danced like my soul needed it, and I think it did. I danced because I felt the importance of this event, the importance of everyone’s hard work and fighting and pain, the importance of Norma McCorvey and Wendy Davis and Heather Ault and Sam Ehlert and Julia Cuneo and what they are proving: that freedom of choice is everyone’s issue and that it is something to be celebrated and cherished.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” Julia said after mentioning Davis’ hard work in Texas. “[Abortion] needs to become a human right.”
Sam’s words probably summed it up the most concisely: “It comes down to who owns your body, and the answer should always be you.”