What It Means To Be HuMan
- An expressive male student makes a speech in a class and a few men in the back of the room quietly laugh and snicker.
- Another student does a class presentation on gay men and asks her peers to say slang words associated with gay people. Throughout the exercise, an out gay man in the class becomes visibly uncomfortable. A few of his (homophobic) peers share their feelings under their breath and proclaim, "faggot" in response to the presenter’s question.
- A young man is coming home from a party and is verbally and physically assaulted by other men because they perceive him to be gay.
There are just a few examples of the ways that homophobia plays itself out in our culture.
Aren’t we all ready for an end to this nonsense? It is ugly, useless and completely counterproductive to our individual and collective social and emotional evolution. Individuals who are just coming to know themselves as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender people ought to be revered. What courage and determination it takes to say, "I am me" when me is considered with such disdain by some others. Restricted gender expression, especially for men, is at the root of homophobia. Through the distorted lens of homophobia, men who express themselves outside of rigid gender expectations, whether they are gay or not, threaten the masculine ideal. Sadly, we all pay the price, in our lost humanity for each other.
Let’s celebrate a man who...
- Can openly express a full range of emotions
- Routinely let’s his friends and family know that he loves them
- Generously offers a warm hug, especially to another man
- Actively listens and openly comforts others
- Is willing to admit when he makes a mistake
- Stands up for what he believes in
- Understands that vulnerability is courageous
- Is OK if others think he’s gay, even when he’s not
- Loves and respects women and other men
- Knows he has something important to learn from gay men
- Actively shuts down homophobic comments because he knows they are useless and counterproductive to humanity.