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 Darryl.
Who are you and what are you up to?
I’m Darryl Reid
I’m an unemployed punk living off the government dole. I’m a photographer that documents the punk scene, I play in a punk band and a harsh noise group. I write about politics and pop culture. I live in Ottawa Ontario, the capital of Canada that sits on unceded unsurrendered Algonquin territory. I’m not sure what else to say other than I’m a punk/queer anarchist and an ex-Mormon.
What makes you a Mormon?
This is a complicated question for me. Mormons view those who leave the Church as no longer “Mormon,” and to be honest I call myself an ex-Mormon. My whole family is Mormon, and I spent most of my life in the Church as a mostly TBM member. So there is this thread of continuity that ties me to Mormonism. So am I Mormon? I’m not sure. I mean in reality how Mormon can a pot smoking alcohol drinking, severely coffee addicted trans/Queer anarchist who hangs out with coke heads, speed freaks, Black Block organizers and radical anarchists be? So a family history of Mormonism makes me Mormon. Maybe. I don’t know, I’m trying to figure that out myself.
What makes you a feminist?
I never much liked hanging out with dudes. Most of my friends were women, and I just always felt like a girl. I grew up in very small, isolated mining towns in Northern Ontario. These places had a very strong working class mentality where masculinity was constantly proved through aggression, posturing and violence. I always despised these attitudes and violence. Because I refused to fight back and engage in these behaviors, I was always a target and never really fit in. I guess in a subconscious way these experiences caused me to start questioning why the world is the way it is.
I guess my conscious shift into exploring feminism came about during the Occupy days when we were occupying a public park in Ottawa. At first there was a ton of optimism and solidarity: Communists, Anarchists, liberals, Unions and other radical groups seemed to be working together to make a change. Within days it became apparent to many of the us that Women, Trans women and Gender non-conforming folk were second class citizens in the struggle. Many of my friends were harassed by creeps and when they brought it up to the group they were ignored or dismissed to preserve the “unity of the group.” I became more and more disillusioned with the way women are treated within radical groups that should be checking their shit. Anarchists (like Mormons) like to think that by virtue of the beliefs they hold or the work they do they are somehow immune to shitty behaviors and attitudes. I realized that telling yourself and the world that you care about women doesn’t mean jack if you are unwilling to educate yourself and learn from and listen to those who are oppressed and marginalized.
What makes you a Mormon feminist?
Because I grew up watching my mother be slowly crushed by the weight that Mormonism places on women. I’ve seen too many people get thrown aside or ignored or simply crushed by the Church because they don’t fit the extremely Cis/hetero-normative patriarchy of the Church. If it’s gonna stick around I’d rather it be a much kinder church that it is now.
My son who is being raised in the Church by his mother was just baptized, and I really want him to have a better attitude towards himself and women. I want him to grow up in a church that isn’t mired in patriarchy, homophobia, sexism, transphobia and racism.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
To be honest as I’m writing this I found out a friend of mine died. The last couple of years I’ve had at least one friend/acquaintance die per year. Punks don’t think of the future much, and being poor, depressed and trans doesn’t give me a ton of hope. I’m actually cool with that. I guess in ten years I just want to be alive and not homeless. As the song goes: “The way that I’ve been living I hope that I see my children. See them break my rules see them doing what they shouldn’t.” I guess this sounds depressing and sad but it’s the reality of my life.