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Confronting My Homophobia at a Gay Pride Parade: Notes from a Straight Ally

Robert Brannon
 
Sunday in New York City:  a beautiful, sunny day for the annual Gay Pride March.   Thousands of men and women are assembling in mid-Manhattan for the march through the center of the city.   I'll be march­ing with a group from NOMAS:  Michael Kimmel,  Jim Harrison, Karl White and Ron Smith (who led the first M&M),  Sidney Miller, my wife Joanne, and several other straight and gay friends.    The mood is festive; banners, balloons, and colorful costumes blaze everywhere.   There's a proud old man who took part in the legendary Stonewall Rebellion, which gave birth to the Gay Liberation move­ment.   There's a tall woman on roller skates, wear­ing an evening gown;   someone is costumed as a spider, with six-foot legs waving everywhere.   But under­neath the gaiety, there is a seriousness about this march.   This is a city that has refused to pass a Gay Rights Protection Bill.   One that still has no laws to protect the civil rights and personal safety of its GLBT citizens.   Men and women have died on these very streets, for no crime but their sexual preference.   Like every other city in America, New York needs to see this march.
 
For a heterosexual man, marching in any Gay Rights de­monstration is likely to be a emotional and “consciousness-raising” experience.   I'd done it be­fore, but the feelings always come back with a jolt.   When you plan it in advance, the idea is simply to march, as a straight person who cares about justice, and wants to support that struggle.   But when you step out into the march, and you look at the faces of the people on the sidewalk watching you go by, it suddenly hits you:    All Those People Think That I'm Gay.   You look at their curious faces, you feel their eyes on you.   A man stares directly at me, and whispers something to the woman he's with.   She smirks.   (I can almost hear them..."Jeeze, look at that one!   What a faggot!")
 
 You can almost feel their disdain coming out at you, sometimes even hatred.   It's an eerie feeling, all this crazy, impersonal hostility coming down on you, and it's scary.   And the weirdest part of it is that you can't help wanting to say:  "But wait!, I'm not gay!  I'm just here to show support...”   But reality is now irrelevant to what's happening here.    To all these people, I clearly am Gay.   Me, and all my friends here with me.    And “reality” is getting a little fuzzy anyway, because  I'm now feeling a strong bond with all the marchers, and an eerie estrangement and separation from that hostile straight world, gawking on the sidewalks.   That’s my world.   Or is it?  Like the story of the prince and the pauper,  I've stepped over some invisible line, and found myself in a different world.   The "invisible minority."  Except that it's visible today, and I'm now part of it.
 
I duck out of the march to buy a soda, and wait in line at the deli with a few other customers.

Why Are Anti-sexist Men Confronting Violence Against Women?

The Ending Men's Violence Network of NOMAS is devoted to ending the whole range of men’s violence, against women, against children, and against one another. We believe that the world is bleeding from many forms of male violence, and that it must be stopped.

We are sometimes asked, but more often people simply wonder without asking...

Martin Luther King, Non-violence, and the Anti-Sexist Men's Movement

By Robert Brannon

It is important to look back and remember the ideological history of today’s anti-sexist men's movement.   Not so much the dates and details, but the sources of our ideals and ideas, and the movements and events that influenced our evolving ideology and strategies.

Taking Sexual Harassment Seriously

by Barry Shapiro

 

            - San Francisco: Irene Sanchez hurries to catch the corner trolley. The four young men emerging from the donut shop across the street notice her, and give out a chorus of catcalls. Irene appears calm. She's not.

 

   - Boston: Helen Tobias scowls as she leaves her teaching assistant's office.

Manufacturing Consent – Is It Rape?

by Ben Atherton-Zeman--August 2006

 

History of the Men's Studies Association

The Men's Studies Association (MSA) was founded in 1982.

This interdisciplinary division of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS) serves to link together a diverse group of scholars, students, teachers, practitioners, and others who study issues of men and masculinity. Our goal is to make significant contributions to the field of Men's Studies through a feminist-informed perspective.

The Men's Studies Association

The Men's Studies Association is an association of scholars with an interest in the interdisciplinary field of men's studies. Our membership includes some of the pioneers of this field (e.g., Robert Brannon, Michael Kimmel, Joseph Pleck) as well as many graduate students and early mid-career scholars. Our refereed scholarly journal was orginally titled "Masculinities" and was published first by us and later by Guilford Press.

Abortion: The Ultimate Insult to Male Authority

by Joyce Arthur (choice joyce)

Reprinted with permission from the author (originally published on the Blogger’s Paradise on Daily Kos)

The biggest difference by far between men and women, the only one that's
really important - is that women can bear children and men cannot. I
believe that difference, in one way or another, directly or indirectly,

Anti-Semitism and Heterosexism: Common Constructs of Oppression

All oppressions have common roots. Born out of misinformation and directed toward the "other," the goal of any oppression is the unjust, destructive, and unequal distribution of power to the advantage of one group over another. And although there is no specific hierarchy of oppressions, the context in which they manifest themselves - history, economics, or politics - makes some types of oppressions more closely related than others.

The Developmental Experience of Gay/Lesbian Youth

I propose that everyone in our society is homophobic. In addition, it is my strong belief that gay and lesbian individuals, prior to coming out, are among the most homophobic people in our society. Most of us do not think of ourselves as homophobic, however, and many people will disagree with this concept of universal homophobia, especially as applied to them.

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