Sunday Spotlight is a series where we profile individuals in the Young Mormon Feminists community to hear their stories and get to know them a little better through Q&A or their personal narratives. This week we talked with Gina.
Who are you and what are you up to?
Hi, I’m Gina! I’m curious, and purple haired, although unfortunately I wasn’t at the time of this picture, but I like how my face looks in it. I’m Hispanic on both my parents’ sides, and Latina as well, which I absolutely love. I love my heritage and culture, and the fact that I can share it. I’m bisexual, or some variation thereof that I’m probably never going to fully understand, but that I am happy with. My sexuality has never been very set in one place/spectrum, so I just go with it. I’m living in boring, lovely, ol’ St. Louis, Missouri, but am looking to move to California for college this fall.
What makes you a Mormon?
This sounds like a question my dad asked me once. I told him my views on premarital sex and abortion, which of course opposed his, so he said “you’re pro-choice in most ways, how are you still Mormon?” Understandably, I got pretty upset. While I know that he meant it in a more aggressive way and you don’t, my answer remains the same.
I am a Mormon because I love the gospel, the Spirit I feel when I learn our gospel, and I love my Heavenly Father. My testimony is one that I have had since I was 12 and visited the Sacred Grove, and boy, is it unshakeable. I don’t believe in all things that the Church does or says (for example, I haven’t saved sex for after marriage), but that sure as heck doesn’t mean I don’t still believe in what is REALLY, ACTUALLY, important to me: God. I’ve felt closest to Him or Her when I’ve been worshipping at the Mormon church, so why wouldn’t I stay a part of the church that helps me have that feeling?
What makes you a feminist?
I feel like there are a million and two reasons why I am a feminist! I’ve always been really sensitive—that’s just my personality, so it was super easy to fall into feminist thinking, because part of it includes being sensitive to others. I am a feminist because I believe in equality for between all genders, sexes, races, and people regardless of religion, personal identifiers, and beliefs (unless of course, their beliefs hurt others). I believe in a God that created us all equally.
Besides, as a woman, and a bisexual one at that, I would have to be crazy to not be a feminist, don’t you think?
What makes you a Mormon feminist?
Ah what a perfect transition! I am a Mormon feminist because I believe that God created us all equally, and I’m just trying to do Their work (although that is totally not the only reason and motivation for my feminist ways). I discovered feminism my junior year, when I was called to give a talk in sacrament meeting. I was given a lot of leeway on the talk, probably because I volunteered for it. Crazy, right? But I felt impressed that I had things to say, and my talk the year before had been a disaster, so I wanted to redeem myself. I gave a talk that I titled “Love Everybody” about non-judgment and my own journey towards loving everybody, including myself.
See, I was really clinically depressed my sophomore year. I hated myself and everything about me on such a deep level that I had turned to self-harm and destructive thinking. It was much easier for me to love others than to love myself, so I focused on that. Still, I didn’t feel fulfilled. I had to love everyone, including those that had wronged me and sent me spiraling downwards. Then, as I understood what it meant to truly love and accept people, I could love and accept myself. The Mormon church played a major role in this journey, because without it, I would not have met reached the conclusion that I did. My church is partially and should truly be a church of love and equality; Feminism as I understand it is geared towards the same. So, I am a Mormon feminist.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In ten years, I will have finished med school and will have my own practice somewhere where it is warm year round. I will be looking to be married then, but not before that, at least that’s the plan! If I am married before ten years, I probably won’t have kids until I have my own practice. I will be providing for my family alongside my future husband or wife. I will probably still be obsessed with One Direction. I will be happy.
Any parting words for us?
2 Nephi 2:25- Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
Please, go forth and have joy! I want anyone to read this, especially those who can relate to anything I’ve said, to please, please, pretty please love yourself. That includes every beautiful part of you that you perceive as a flaw. I’m still struggling with depression, but most days I’m happy to say that I’m alive still to see every up and down that life is sending me along. Love your flaws and defend yourself against the bad parts of life, because you are strong enough. Have a good 24 hours today, and enjoy the ones to come.
Until next time!