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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > September 2019 > The Personal is political

The Personal is political

MANDU REID IS THE NEW LEADER OF THE WOMEN’S EQUALITY PARTY. SHE TELLS CARRIE LYELL WHAT IT MEANS TO BE THE FIRST BLACK, BISEXUAL LEADER OF A POLITICAL PARTY IN THE UK, AND HOW HER IDENTITY INFORMS HER POLITICS
PHOTOS SIORNA ASHBY

“It’s a strange thing for the leader of the Women’s Equality Party to admit, but I think it’s fair to say I was a late developer when it comes to feminism,” chuckles Mandu Reid warmly. “I only really recognised myself as a feminist in my mid 20s.”

Growing up in what was then Swaziland, in the twilight years of the Apartheid regime, young Mandu – with a black mother and white father – wasn’t thinking about feminism, because there was an issue more pressing; inequality and injustice along racial lines, which she says she was “acutely aware” of. “That was most pertinent to my family… Racial inequality was more at the front of my mind growing up.”

Politicians have developed something of a reputation for avoiding questions or diverting the conversation, but not Mandu. Throughout the course of our interview, the 38-yearold is refreshingly honest. A skilful orator, she puts her points across with a punch, never once feeling rehearsed, PR or plastic. No surprise, really, given that a career in politics wasn’t on the agenda until fairly recently. “It was never a master plan to find myself leading a political party,” she admits, laughing. So how did this latecomer to feminism, who didn’t plan on being a politician, find herself taking over from Sophie Walker as leader of this fledgling political party in April 2019?

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About DIVA Magazine

We’ve got a treat for all you music fans this month. To celebrate the newly rebranded HearHer Music Festival, we’re giving you a choice of gorgeous covers with two of the fest’s headliners. So once you’ve downloaded the digital issue featuring “lesbian Pope” Shura, get yourself to your nearest shop and pick up a hard copy with Zulu Pop Princess Toya Delazy. Digital readers can also enjoy exclusive behind the scenes snaps from our south London shoot with the lovely Shu. Also in this issue… Actor and musician Carrie Brownstein on rumoured romances, homonormativity and Sleater-Kinney’s new album LGBTease: Roxy Bourdillon heads to Harpies to find out what really goes down at a queer strip club I’m Jenny Schecter and so are you: Why the divisive L Word character deserves a second chance How To Be A Gentlewoman: Carrie Lyell talks to Elle editor Lotte Jeffs about mastering the art of soft power in hard times Is drinking culture changing? Danielle Mustarde investigates the “sober curious” trend Mandu Reid: The new leader of the Women’s Equality Party on being visible and audible as a black bisexual woman Queervial Pursuit: Show off your sapphic smarts with our lez/bi brain teasers What’s it like to be director of the world’s first vagina museum? PLUS Travel, horoscopes and much, much more!