Break the Rules Like ... Leigh Creighton Bond
Not all Wonder Women wear capes, and not all Unladylike role models need to sit in the C-suite to spark change. Each week, we're introducing y'all to rad women and nonbinary folks we admire. They'll offer up pointers on how we all can #breaktheruleslike they do and help them make the world a better place. If you have a role model to shout out, send hot tips to email@example.com.
1. Introduce yourself: Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?
My name’s Leigh Creighton Bond, and I’m from Decatur, Georgia. I am the leadership development coordinator at Feminist Women’s Health Center; we often call it “Feminist” or “Feminist Center” for short. I’m responsible for developing and editing our curricula, managing our internship program and coordinating a ten-month fellowship program.
2. When did you first realize this was the right path for you?
Most of my work history is with nonprofits and public service oriented institutions, yet in many instances when I was hired, I lacked direct experience but had transferable skills and experience with the same communities. This pattern holds true for Feminist; my role at Feminist is my first endeavor into reproductive justice, health, and rights, and being able to learn while also contributing my skills has always been my path.
3. What’s unladylike about you and what you do?
Honestly, the only thing I can think about is the fact I work at Feminist. When I’m in certain crowds, I’m thinking of lawyers, especially male lawyers, there’s always a gentle shock wave when I say the word “Feminist,” which is followed by a second wave when I add that Feminist is “an abortion provider.” Depending on what follows next, I often leave those conversations feeling like I’m the first woman they’ve ever heard say the words “feminist” and “abortion” in the same breath.
4. Which of your heroes or role models would you immortalize in bronze?
Lilith Iyapo, a black woman, leader, fighter, and survivor is a complicated character created by author Octavia E. Butler in the Dawn, also called Lilith’s Brood, series. Lilith has to make tough decisions with the weight of all humanity on her shoulders, so she’s definitely a hero who mirrors real-life super heroes like Harriet Tubman and Bree Newsome — black women activists who literally held the world up.
5. What was your feminist aha moment?
I cut my hair off maybe two or three days before I graduated from law school. I always said I was going to wait and cut my hair when I was much older, like in my fifties, but one day, I asked myself, “what was I waiting for?” I didn’t have an answer, so I got my hair cut. I think I waited to cut my hair because as a woman and especially a black woman, I was indoctrinated with the importance of my hair by society at large, family generational values and my social network. To this very day, having short hair leads to a variety of questions, reactions and assumptions that mirror elements of what feminism is all about. Shedding light on what society values and challenging the status quo is a huge part of what feminism is to me.
6. What’s bringing you joy right now — or at least keeping you sane?
Therapy is literally keeping me sane! Just like Jay-Z said in a NY Times interview, one of my closest friends recommended a therapist and again, like Jay-Z, therapy is equipping me with a greater awareness of myself and where a lot of past and present emotions come from.
7. Aside from keys/wallet/phone, what do you never leave home without?
I never leave home without a few playlists queued up for the different parts of my day.
8. How can unladies help you and/or your mission?
A lot of the media we all encounter may leave you with a “the sky is falling down [and there’s nothing you can do feeling],” as a colleague at Feminist recently stated. Right now, I think everyone should arm themselves with information and, more importantly, a lens and set of principles for their activism. I suggest unladies read Radical Reproductive Justice; Loretta Ross is amongst the editors, and Ross is also one of the creators of the term “Reproductive Justice” and co-founders of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective. Kwajelyn Jackson, Feminist’s interim executive director, recently included the book in a swag bag for Janelle Monáe because the book is made of digestible essays.
More from Feminist Women's Health Center
More about reproductive rights + justice
How technology could preserve abortion rights (Politico)
Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change (SisterSong)
The meaning of reproductive justice: Simplifying a complex concept (Rewire.News)
Abortion providers are America's best doctors (Tonic)