PREVENTION EDUCATION PROGRAM
THE SAFE PLACE: MEN CAN STOP VIOLENCE PRESENTS...
HONORING OUR STORIES
A MEN’S COLLECTIVE [RE]EXAMINING MASCULINITY & MANHOOD
“…power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
Many, many thanks to all Performers, Counseling & Psychological Services, COUN 605, 606, 608 Peer Educators, PEACHES, CEASE, Students for a Safe Campus, Creative Arts Department, Student Affairs Division! Jeffrey Briz, Jane Wong, Piper Rystrom, and Cesar Sanchez! Thank you for your time and support in this project. Without their labor and support this zine would not be in your hands, Peace & Unity Ismael de Guzman
CockTales: Honoring Our Stories ©2010 Prevention Education Program: The S.A.F.E. Place – Sexual Abuse Free Environment: Men Can Stop Violence Cover Design and Layout by Cesar Sanchez 2010 © Cesar Sanchez All rights reserved.
A MEN’S COLLECTIVE [RE]EXAMINING MASCULINITY & MANHOOD
Editor’s Notes As part of the SAFE Place’s prevention program, we created the men’s program called Men Can Stop Violence (MCSV). MCSV’s #1 mission is to educate other young men in becoming male allies in our campus community in addressing sexual violence against women and other men. By educating men about male privilege and the socialization of boys, we are moving towards promoting social justice in fighting all forms of oppression. Statistics show that if most of the perpetrators of violence are comprised of men, then shouldn’t we as men take part in the solution? We believe part of that solution is creating a space to talk about masculinity so men can begin to hear other men’s real stories about their journey from recognizing privilege to emotional pain and ultimately finding peace within themselves. In 2009 CockTales made its first debut, so succesful that it made it our annual event, hence, CockTales: Honoring Our Stories was born. Each section of this zine touches on the topics of masculinity, sexuality, sexual violence and finally healing. We hope these collections of stories will educate you and empower you in your own healing as well as assisting in the healing of the communities where you may come from. If you are a SF State student or anyone you know is going through some emotional & painful sexual trauma, please contact me at 415-338-1203 or stop by the SAFE Place at Student Services Building (SSB) 205. Additionally, we have compiled a resource list at the end of this zine for you. Peace & Unity
Ismael de Guzman
C o c k Ta l e s
Men Can Stop Violence
A SAFE Place Men’s Prevention Program Our philosophy: Men Can Stop Violence (MCVP) is a program of The SAFE Place, which offers prevention education/ awareness programming, engaging men in the struggle to end sexual violence against women and men. We believe ending violence must involve whole communities of women and men. We support and encourage men who are allies, men who are survivors of violence themselves and men who want to address their own violent tendencies to be part of this struggle. MCVP strives to create a violence free community at SF State and works with a larger movement of people in the worldwide struggle to end sexual violence.
Who we are: San Francisco State University’s the SAFE Place Men Can Stop Violence (MCSV) Prevention Program view men as allies in addressing the problem of sexual assault against women. We mobilize young men to prevent men’s violence against women and men. We challenge men to look at harmful aspects of traditional masculinity, to value alternative visions of male strength, and to embrace their role as allies with women and girls in fostering healthy relationships and gender equity. Violence against women is never okay, and is not a just a woman’s issue, but rather a community issue. We train student peer leaders to conduct classroom presentation in promoting healthy relationships. MCSV is comprised of young men and women peer leaders who actively work to prevent sexual assault intimate partner violence. These student leaders provide resources and information to assist students in building intimate partner relationships based on respect and trust. Our students provide presentation and programming to Greek Life, Residential Life and Athletics as well as the general student body community. MCSV acknowledges that men have a special role in sexual assault prevention. Men can intervene in situations where other men are at-risk for committing sexual assault. Men can create cultures where sex is always consensual and non-violent. We believe that though most perpetrators of violence are comprised of men, not all men are violent. In fact, a small percentage of men are violent. Therefore, if most violent crimes are committed by men, shouldn’t men be part of the solution? We say yes!
Why do men join this program? Men join MCSV for a variety of reasons. Many get involved with the team because a friend, family member, or a girlfriend was sexually assaulted or because they simply believe in social justice for all. Some get involved because they resent that the actions of a few men may lead some women to distrust all men and contribute to negative stereotypes of males.
Honoring Our Stories
Contents Masculinity This Heart By Aristel de la Cruz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Man Up By Griffin Clarke. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Machismo Manny By Matthew Ledesma. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Poncho en San Pancho By Marcos Tapia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Sexuality Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Trust By Brendan Rogers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Straight Search By Dustin Helmer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Fag City By Wes Leslie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Parenthesis (For Justin) By Gabriel Burke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Intimacy Deceit By Patrick Oshlund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Beautiful Eyes By Alexander Wong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Eyes Wide In Slumber By Jhameel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
Healing Just Another Survivor Poem By Marcos Tapia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 To The Girl That Changed My Life... By Jeffrey Briz. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 I Am My Mother’s Son By Federico Iñaki Villalobos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 No Male Role Model By Justin Theileman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Resources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
masculinity [mas-kyuh-lin-i-tee] n.:
the quality of being masculine; having qualities traditionally ascribed to men, as strength and boldness.
This Heart She looked me straight in the eye and said “Man or Woman, Black or White, those things don’t matter because we are all human and we all have a heart.” A heart? If that’s the case, then my heart ain’t like your heart You see, she couldn’t understand that Once you unpack the meaning behind She being woman And me being a man And she being white And me being brown Then she would begin to really understand Why our hearts are not the same Cause this heart Has been places This heart has seen things And has felt feelings That she could not feel Because this heart is from colonized land Catholic-Christian Victims of wars, ask me about SPAM This heart is from oppressive ideology, A poisoned psychology From years of conditioning to take the role of a colony This heart is from GI-Joe American hero Naïve 10 year old Filipino That idolized white men because he’d see no Shows with Filipinos, none zip zero This heart is from white savior stories Dances with Wolves Last Samurai, man… this is a joke Oh, another story about a white man to teaching brown people about hope This heart is from Eurocentric history Self-hate in book Christopher Columbus explorer (slash) crook And yes I got was a look when I asked about my people Like they didn’t do anything significant or real And this is just the surface, the trauma is loud Like the anger inside me ready to pounce But I stop for minute, take a moment to process To channel this anger and apply it knowledge A type that’s spiritual that goes beyond college The type that transcends time like my ancestors’ promise See this knowledge takes me to a place of understanding Of what the hell this heart is It is Pinoy boy a certain swaggah we move with Itliong bring it on the farmworkers movement C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
Carlos Bulusan sayin’ we revolution Kulintang songs man I love that music It is struggle and resistance Makibaka spirit Decolonize the poison in our thinkin’ It is harmony with self And the life of the land The rediscovering of roots Deep beneath the sand Its hardwork and sweat Dripping our necks From California to Alaska The labor in our breath From asparagas to grapes Every season no rest It is the youth that refuse to Die on they feet They stay on they hustle On Manila’s mean streets The ones that rummage Through mountains of garbage Selling whatever they can To keep their family from starvin’ It is immigrant strength Separated from home Missing their families While living alone But they continue to press Despite this feeling of grief Cause that labor is love And that commitment is deep It is grandmother’s love in every soup and every grain Like every Babaylan warrior that taught me to change To begin to unlearn to derail this train Of thought, cause that patriarchy keeps us in chains It is confront the pain Learn how to love again Push like the pressure Of People Power marching in Takin’ back our freedom A reason to keep reachin’ To keep this heart beatin’ Cause this heart is a product of its history And yes we’re both human But remember This heart Beats differently Aristel de la Cruz Masculinity
Man Up! My name is Griffin Clark and I’m the president of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. I’m kind of nervous because everyone here is so talented and well thought out, and I’m just going to talk, and I actually turned in my piece to Ismael a week later than I was supposed to. He is my fraternity’s staff advisor and he asked me if I would like to represent my fraternity by doing a piece for Cock Tales. At the time I was gung-ho and I told him “Heck yeah! I’d love to write one!” But as soon as I walked away, I thought, Fuck. I’ve made a huge mistake! Because I’m not a slam poet, or a normal poet for that matter, or a rapper, and I can’t sing, I can barely play guitar, and I’m not very funny. I tried to write a poem, but I ended up just rhyming words like “you” and “to” over and over again. Any song I wrote sounded exactly like “Time of Your Life” by Green Day, and when I tried to rap, you can only imagine what that looked like… suffice it to say: it didn’t go well at all. None of my efforts were panning out, so I began to come up with ways and excuses that I could say to avoid doing this, sparing me the embarrassment of looking like an ass in front of my peers. My deadline came up and Ismael called to ask if it was ready, but luckily I was at work, so I couldn’t answer the phone and I “forgot to call him back” (wink, wink). But I began to feel bad because Ismael put a lot of faith into me to write something for this event and he’s done so much for our fraternity, so I felt like an asshole if I didn’t do something for this. So I told myself to just “Man-Up” and write something, and as soon as that came into my head, a light bulb came on, as it seldom does, and I was onto something I asked myself: “What did I mean by that when I said to ‘Man-Up’?” It has such a misogynistic connotation, but I know I didn’t mean it in that way, so what did I mean? What was I telling myself? How was I telling myself to act?
And thus, my topic for my piece was born!
So the phrase “Man-Up”: when people say that to a guy, what does it mean, and how did relate to my predicament? Why did I pull out that specific phrase on myself? What did I tell myself to do? To act tough? Well I’m already pretty tough as you can clearly see, but as buff as I am, my physical presence had nothing to do with writing my CockTales piece, so it wasn’t that. Maybe to not cry? But I wasn’t crying at the time and I’m not crying now, so that doesn’t seem relevant. To take charge? Well SAFE is in the charge of this whole thing, so it’s in their hands, not mine. To be responsible? Ah-ha!! Ding Ding Ding! That’s exactly what I meant; to be responsible! And not only be responsible, but to hold myself accountable. Ismael asked me to do something, man to man, I gave him my word that I would do it. And I have a duty as a man to be held accountable for a promise I made, I had a responsibility to Ismael and to my fraternity so that we don’t look like shit, because if their president broke his word, what does that say about him and the rest of our brotherhood. And I began to think about how many other responsibilities I have. I have three jobs I need to make sure I’m there, on time, and that I do them efficiently. I have a responsibility to my schoolwork, to ensure I complete all my homework, reading and study so that I can graduate, because that’s why I’m here. I have a responsibility to my family to ensure I bring them honor. I have a responsibility to my girlfriend, so that she’s safe, happy and that I remain faithful to her. C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
And I realized that it’s not just me who has these responsibilities, as men, we all have these responsibilities. And I’m not saying that women don’t have these same duties or that they are unable to deal with them as well as men do, but I feel like as men, we are born to have this role: to be the breadwinner, to bring the lion home to the village. Our curse as men is that we have the task to be liability to be the provider. So I began to think about the rest of my life (this was a very epiphanic piece to write), and I realized my responsibilities right now, most of them will never stop! They will continue on for the rest of my life, slowly becoming more critical and vital, and the one’s that will eventually cease, will be replaced with new and more demanding burdens! Planning weddings, preserving your marriage, having babies, changing shitty diapers, raising kid, while balancing a career, making your parents and in-laws happy, at the same time, making house payments, car payments, worrying about insurance rates and interest rates, and paying taxes, bills, traffic tickets, and your kids football equipment or ballet shoes, but also driving around to get the milk you forgot to pick up on your way home so your wife can make a birthday cake, and then drop off your kids at soccer practice, and then hurry over to a PTA meeting, and then come home and walk the dog, pet the cat, and feed the bird and in the midst of all this, trying your best exercise so you don’t get fat, attempting to keep your marriage spicy so that you can still get laid, all the while, putting in your absolute best effort not to go insane and lose your mind! It’s a lot to handle! We have these responsibilities as men, and hopefully you will have a wife or partner to help you with the load, but ultimately, it all relies on you. And that might sound really scary and almost unbearable, but hey, at least we don’t have the burden of going through childbirth. But still, as men, we have to be held accountable, even if we don’t want to and no matter how daunting it is. At first I was going to skip out on writing a piece for Cock Tales, but Ismael had to be held accountable, and I’m glad I did and I feel like a better person for doing so and I took care of my responsibility. Having my fraternity brothers attend this event was like pulling teeth, but they know that they have a responsibility and they need to be held accountable, and I think they enjoy it. So if my reality check scares the shit out of you, then good! I win! I’ve done my job. It’s scary fact of life. It’s fucking terrifying! But I think it’s necessary to point out because, as men, I think we forget how much is riding on our gender and that we need to do our best to uphold our standard. We can’t all be big and strong, or be good at sports, or keep from crying, but we can all hold ourselves accountable for our current and future responsibilities that lay ahead. Of course we’ll fumble and fuck up on our way because we’re only human, and we may pale in comparison to other men, but we need to put in our own individual effort to be the best man we can because that’s our duty, and if that you think that seems like too much to ask, then all I have to say to you is: “Man Up!”
Machismo Manny Fight fans understood the magnitude of the last couple Manny Pacquiao fights. The small Filipino pugilist picked apart and stopped three prominent fighters in fashionable form. Oscar de la Hoya. Ricky Hatton. Miguel Cotto. And more recently was the narcolepsy inducing boxing clinic performed against Joshua Clottey. On paper, each match had the odds stacked against the smaller man. Boxing analysts were quick to say that he would be overworked and outclassed, but for Filipinos, there was no shadow of a doubt that the victor would be the Pacquiao. Exquisite poetry took place when he meticulously dismantled “Golden Boy” de la Hoya’s face. A deep post-colonial symbolism when he took out Hatton in the second round. Against Cotto: a boxing masterpiece, at least for the first three rounds. What looked like an ebb and flow in the early rounds, reminiscent of Hagler vs. Hearns, became Pacman eating a giant flashing pellet turning Cotto blue, running away until he was eaten up and spat out . He has allowed for a redefined Filipino representation. Manny Pacquiao is the new Filipino man. A nice treat is the pre-fight hype build up on HBO’s 24/7, juxtaposing the modern day warrior amidst Magic Mic sessions, celebrity meetings, and jokes with Buboy. When watching any episode featuring Manny, one is left certain he’ll demolish any foe placed in front of him . ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The author’s use of historical boxing references helps create a facade that he is an authority on professional fighting. Why masochistic sports? With the historical emasculation of the Filipino, the author feels he needs to compensate for his masculinity whenever possible. Why not a professional sport that pits two shirtless chiseled men hugging each other and occasionally throwing punches. For mixed martial arts: add rolling around on the floor on top of one another [a.1]? Boxing also showcases a sweet science paired with lyrical brutality. [a.1] On a Hip-Hop blog or message board, this statement would likely have been followed by “pause” or the more incendiary, “no homo”. Two terms deserving of their own space for discussion. Another time.  The Pacman is also known to do a stellar rendition of “Sometimes When We Touch”. In fact, YouTube his appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Watching the first episode of 24/7: de la Hoya/Pacquiao. I was filled with adrenaline for the approaching tale of the tape. Then a particular scene came and left me unsettled: a pregnant Jinkee Pacquaio supporting her husband in the US yet isolated in a separate apartment. A disconnect in the relationship between the most recognizable Filipino in the world and the mother of his children. What took place under the surface of their relationship was left untouched by HBO.
C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
Boxing enthusiasts likely saw it as part of the ritual of a fighter separating himself from the distractions of family and sex to better train for an upcoming war. I saw it as a reflection of Manny’s known yet unknown relationship with adultery. I knew he was never the most faithful husband in the world. Even as a Manny fanboy, I cannot ignore his infallibilities. I’m not here to express moral superiority and highlight my holier than thou gender principles. In fact, when my homie, Jon, told me about a girl he knew from San Marcos who Manny had on the side, my instant response: “Is she at least cute?” I think back on my trip to the Philippines in 2003: drinking San Mig with an older cousin and his close friend. I was troubled by their talk about having mistresses. A girlfriend on the side was fine. Normalized. According to my pinsan, the reason for maintaining the mistress was that no meaning existed. The wife and kids were still being taken care of. It seems as if the mistress is simply an object to be enjoyed by a breadwinning father. The wife? She stays chaste and only available to her husband. I was young at the time and lacked the consciousness to critically discuss this with my cousin, but it did open my eyes to gender relationships in the Filipino community, where I hear friends tell me about their rat bastard fathers who have cheated on their moms. Vestiges of Spanish colonization? Perhaps. Considering the egalitarian family systems from the indigenous roots of the Philippines, I ponder upon how Spanish influences and Catholicism has created systems where infidelity becomes practice. Yet in the Philippines, divorce is illegal. Husbands with mistresses is basic knowledge not discussed. When we criticize Manny for what he’s doing, look at the role of patriarchy in our culture. He is seen by many as a living embodiment of the Filipino spirit. Manny Pacquiao is the old Filipino man.
Poncho En San Pancho ( To the melody of “Englishman in New York” by STING ) I don’t dance salsa, I dance funkified I got the rhythm, not the steps But you can tell the lack of accent when i talk I’m a pocho en san pancho You see me walking on down mission street Ain’t got no knife, ain’t got no gun The cops still stop me when they see me going by This xicano walks but never runs Whoa, I’m a citizen, I’m legal citizen I’m a pocho en san pancho (2X) “asi es la vida,” mi abuelo always said “face your life with head held high” Every day I watched him as he knelt and prayed I hope to be just like him when i die... Whoa, I’m a citizen, I’m a legal citizen I’m a pocho en san pancho (2X) I got a guayabera I dated me a guera And she really put me to the test I guess I was mistaken I know now that brown girls are the best ! Takes more than language just to make me real Takes more than dark hair and a tan Embrace your heritage and see how good it feels Learn that it’s enough to be human I’ve learned that it’s enough to be human I’ve learned that it’s enough to be human... Whoa, I’m a citizen, I’m a legal citizen I’m a pocho en san pancho (3X) !! PUNTO !!
C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
The “Act Like a Man” Box “Boys and men are socialized to fit inside the MAN box.”
Verbal Abuse Faggot
Dominant “Don’t Cry” In Control
Violent Angry “Player” Stoic
When men step outside of this confined box, they are verbally and/or physically pressured back inside, thus;
Sexism & Homophobia is Born www.paulkivel.com
Sexuality Sexism & Male Privilege Currently in the U.S., patriarchy takes the form of sexism and male supremacy. We currently live within the pervasive, systematic, everyday system of exploitation, marginalization, objectification and violence directed towards girls and women (sexism), and the pervasive, systematic, everyday system of benefits, power, prestige, inclusion, and privileges afforded to men (male privilege). Men will sexually assault one out of every four women over a lifetime and at least 3-4 million men a year batter their partners. In addition, men will sexually harass 50-80% of women who work (most women) and almost every woman experiences fear and harassment on the street at some time in her life. This is a form of control and systematic terrorism of the entire female population but child sexual assault, domestic violence; elder abuse, sexual assault and sexual harassment are still seen as women’s issues and are rarely on social justice agendas. Visible, public images of women being raped, assaulted, demeaned and abused are everywhere as unavoidable, hate filled, and constant reminders to women that they are vulnerable to violence from men, and constant messages to boys and men (through advertising, videogames, movies, TV, pornography and prostitution) that they have the right to use women for their sexual gratification. Political issues, natural events, and everyday life are not commonly analyzed through a gender lens. Therefore the impact on women of various groups is not visible, does not guide our analysis and perpetuates the entire system of exploitation. “Are You Challenging Sexism and Male Supremacy?”
Homophobia // Heterosexism
- Paul Kivel
Homophobia is the irrational judgment and fear of LGBTQI people. It can lead to discrimination, stereotyping and violence. Homophobia hurts everyone, gay and straight alike. Some LGBTQI people also struggle with internal homophobia. They worry they will disappoin their families or friends by being gay. They may feel they are less valuable than others, or that being gay is wrong. One of the best ways to change people with homophobic views is to give them a chance to know a variety of LGBTQI people. Support groups and connection to a LGBTQI community can help people identify with others and feel good about who they are. As a collective sexual minority, the LGBTQI community has been looking to find acceptance in our mainstream culture. Just forty years ago homosexuality was still considered a pathological disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. Although the LGBTQI community has come a long way there is still overwhelming heterosexual privilege and prejudice in American politics, culture, and everyday life: • In 1994, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was created. It is a federal policy restricting openly gay, bisexual, lesbian, or transgender person from serving in the United States Armed Forces. In 1999, infantry soldier Barry Winchell was beaten to death with a baseball bat by fellow soldier Calvin Glover, after rumors spread on the base of his relationship with a transgendered woman. • In 2008, California passed Proposition 8 in order to “protect the sanctity of marriage”. Under this law marriage is restricted only to heterosexual couples, denying same-sex couples of the same rights and protections. • The vast majority of jurisdictions in America still lack legal prohibitions on gender identity discrimination in the workplace. Transgender people commonly experience employment discrimination during the application, employment, promotion and or termination process. An employee may experience gender identity-based discrimination upon coming out as transgender, transitioning on the job, discovery of their birth sex or even mere suspicion of transgender status. - “Being Gay/Lesbian” by Marcia Quackenbush
C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
[sek-shoo-al-i-tee] n.: oneâ€™s sexual character; possession of the structural and functional traits of sex.
Don’t ask, Don’t tell, Don’t trust The Military is simultaneously the gayest and most homophobic place I have ever been. I joined when I was little more than a boy, but definitely not a man. It was actually part of the reason I joined. To toughen myself up, to learn something, to challenge myself. What a strange place to learn how to be a man. It is a culture where masculinity and manhood are thought to be the same. 12 years later I’m still trying to put the two in their place. It was one of the best experiences of my life, It was like growing up in a wolf pack. It is a place where the word faggot is the worst name to be called but is also used casually among good friends without malice. The place where Mr. Christian Values calls me faggot for spraying cologne. It’s not personal, I think he just likes the way it rolls of his tongue, he says the word like he savors it, I think he only says it because the military no longer lets him say his beloved N-word. This constant gay “joke” that reveal the mind of the teller and ask an uneasy proposition of the recipient. Ever present. It is a place where strength is the most prized ideal. It is a place where the perception of weakness is an invitation to attack. It is a place of strange morality; you train to do things that could be crimes. It is a world of mostly males. We are obsessed with physical perfection. We spend countless hours, at the gym, or in the field training. It is of course preparation for a fight, but we also stare at ourselves in the mirror, marveling at how our youthful bodies have transformed. We are told that pain is weakness leaving the body. The most weakness leaves your body when someone you love no longer loves you. We accept only the very youngest recruits. Young people have a weaker sense of self preservation. It is often left to men a few years older than them to teach them, and lead them. Many are lead astray We share a bond of brotherhood, stronger than friendship. Loyalty so strong that we would kill and die for each other. Yet we are unable to call this love Words are left out to describe experience. Very young men attempting to rectify the feelings of brotherhood, love, fear, awkwardness, fatalism, sexual attraction, sexual repulsion, sexual experimentation, anger, homesickness, boredom, hatred, pain, betrayal and identity. Managed with a very careful language that does not expose anything that could be perceived as weakness. How do you cope with real people, in the realest shit you have ever been through without all the words to do it. You fumble. And after a long while, the people you love, the people you trust, they see right through you anyway and you know who you are through them. The people that you could count on. Trust to have your 6. Stand for you when things got rough. Keep them close. Warriors sometimes, I saw, walked on and brow beaten by their overweight unfaithful wives. When we were away… Fear of what was happening at home, was crippling, dangerous. Only women were capable of that kind of brutality, betrayal. Better you are here away, with people you can trust. Your boys, with your hommies you can fight your enemies. One time a friend said something shitty about gays to a bunch of people. C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
I did not say I thing. Sat there in silence. Some laughed. I stared in my oatmeal. Tasteless. I thought maybe he was trying to cover the fact that he was gay. The next day he was gone. After he said that, he went in to the COs office and told him he was gay. The CO discharged him. He was not covering his identity. He was calling us to stand with him. To see who truly had his back. I failed the test. Let a friend down. Fear. Now. Shame. Why is there a system to keep men apart, when it is their bond that makes them better at what they do? Lives depend on the ability to trust. The strong sense of self is what carries individuals through hardship and enables them to overcome it. What is freedom without identity? A constant witchhunt, for a man with weakness amongst men trained to risk their lives. A ghost story. An enemy to fear, to keep one from looking at the demons inside. All that time, don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t trust Where will we be without communist spies, terrorists, to watch out for or fagots undercover in the military? We will relax, we will be off guard. And then… I think something bad will happen. I don’t know, I have never been relaxed, or without a hidden enemy. But I know if I lie to my friends about what I believe in, they might not really know me. If they love me without really knowing me, can they really love me? And is that Brotherhood. Good thing we are not allowed to love because I may never know. But these people that I suffered so hard with and shared every fucked up thing that ever happened to me, and spent my fucking youth with. It kills me that any of us should have secrets now because of a rule… A rule so important, that with just one man’s breath….. Can be over forever.
Straight Search Imagine if you will the ideal gay man. Let me try to guess what he’d look like…probably tall, rugged, tanned, is athletic and plays sports (preferably contact sports, right guys?), wears a baseball cap backwards, has stubble, has a good job and dress well. And I think I’ve pretty accurately described most gay men’s wet dream. And what seems striking to me is that I’ve describe what most gays want – a guy with typically straight characteristics. If I am ever in the Castro I try to take notice of the different characters around me and it ends up becoming a game of “Guess the Gay.” We all know and love the “flamer.” You know what I’m talking about – broken wrists, speech impediments, the works. We’ve got our bears, fashionistas with painted on pants, average homos, and tough guys with biceps bigger than their heads. And I would venture to say that the majority of gay guys would like the latter – a brawny, burly masculine guy. Why is it some gays are on this quest for the perfect straight guy? I mean, if any gays have been in a relationship, I have heard this question asked “Who is the guy and who is the girl?” Um, excuse me? Last time I checked they are both guys. But this is quite telling about what is expected still of guys. And there’s a lot of support of it too. If you look at gay-aimed advertisements, there seems to be a pretty consistent theme. Attractive half-naked man in underwear with another attractive half-naked man doing something sexually contrived. Check. And it doesn’t matter what they’re even selling – it could be toasters or something. And online advertisements are even worse. Yes, I am guilty of being part of the online dating club. Looking at some of these sites (Adam4adam, gay.com, etc) some of these ads are pretty un-fucking-believable. I especially love the ones that are advertising for love and such. One of my favorites is a half-naked (surprise) guy holding a coffee pot with the tagline “Find someone to make you coffee…” Wow, I’m not sure where this guy’s at, but yes please. Unfortunately I’ve yet to meet anyone who looks like these guys…I guess I’m on the wrong website. And honestly, the porn advertisements are probably the most honest at this – they don’t even try to hide the fact that most gays want some good ole gay-for-pay action. All of these Ads continue to shove this idea that gay guys need a “real man” in our faces. And don’t even get me started on some of the profiles online. Really? Almost 90% of these guys are saying “I’m masc,” “I only into masc guys,” “No fems,” ” Discreet here.” Wait huh? So I guess there are no “fem” guys online? Or that they have their own fem club somewhere? I mean, what even constitutes as “fem?” I think things would be a lot easier if there was some sort of measuring system of gayness, like some Gaydometer. “Hey man, how gay are you?” “Oh, I’m about a 65%” “Ooooh, I don’t date anyone over 40%” “DAMN” I mean, this is what it has to boil down to. I think it would make things a lot simpler, right? It seems like a shame that so many guys are buying into this idea that to have any value in the “gay community” you need to act like a straight guy. And in this search for the perfect gay-straight man, some of us end up falling for actual straight guys. Like, guys who like the vagina. This is has happened to me multiple times, much to my chagrin. Do you know what it’s like to be hopelessly attracted to someone that you know you can never do a damn thing about let alone tell? I’ll tell you – it fucking sucks. Honestly, I would like it just once to have this straight guy impossibly attracted to the hottest lesbian on the planet and is unable to do anything about it. Not that I’m bitter about it or anything. But I think it’s something that is pretty gay-exclusive problem. And it all comes down to the fact that despite two guys being together, there needs to be one who is a “real man” – someone who is the man and someone who is the woman. If I had to guess, I’d probably say I’m floating somewhere between 56.7-59.1% gay. I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’m still looking for my tall, rugged, tanned, athletic, sports-playing, reverse-baseball cap-wearing, stubble, rich, well-dressed man. Dustin Helmer C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
“Fag City” Where cement turns to gravel turns to dirt, and you grab a handful and praise the Earth, look for a run-down house with cooking supper and a subsequent mother. There’s a brightness lighting up the basement. A former flame I couldn’t not mention. He got away to the country, I called Miss Paisley lovely, called him lots of things, all the time, lost the signal—where’s the landline when you need it? When you need to say “I still sniff your blankets.” Fag city (fog city) we’re gonna get there baby. Come with me (fog city), I’m gonna get there someday if you’ll let me. But he won’t let me down. That last night, I put my glasses on. He biked over in those long johns, cut our hair off just to see his father’s reaction. The U-Haul already there, he said “Son, we’re moving to Nebraska.” And you’re about to head eastbound, and you’re looking at the train in the opposite direction. And all of a sudden one of you starts moving but you can’t tell who. Are we perpetually faking the feeling of motion?
Parentheses (For Justin) Though I’m not gay, there have been two times in my life When I have loved a boy. To tell you this story, I need to make you understand How in cities, freaky people are scattered all over With little pockets of weird in almost every neighborhood But in small towns, all the freaks Everyone too fat or too smart, Everyone poor or queer or foreign Or into comic books, science fiction, role-playing games or the goth scene Seem to know each other And they all hang out together, usually in somebody’s basement. All the freaks in Valdosta, Georgia Congregated in the clapboard add-on to Kenny’s mom’s trailer. This is where I met Justin. A bald punk like me Another urban orphan-raised-by-wolves He got here on a freight train from Kentucky Hopped off because he was barreling toward the Atlantic Ocean And hadn’t seen anything more interesting, So what the fuck. My 30-year-old salvaged taxicab threw a rod here There was day labor in the factories And the soup kitchen served pie slices big as your head, So what the fuck. Justin swung both ways And I’m not sure which way he was swinging When he decided he was in love with me. I was technically a girl Though the F on my driver’s license Always made the clerk at the convenience store do a double take When I tried to buy a pack of smokes. All I knew for sure was that for all my trying to force it My pendulum only swung away from him. Still we shared a mattress at the crash pad Slept curved around each other like parentheses Appropriate, with all the words We both were holding in. We kept our clothes on and our hands to ourselves But some nights he’d lay me along the length of him Bound breasts to flat chest Steel-toed boots kissing as his stubble scraped mine The two full moons of our bare heads colliding So we could stare straight into each other’s eyes. It was then I realized he didn’t see me as an opposite, A yin to his yang He was looking into my body to see his reflection And I was looking into his to find my home. He knew my secret before I did And, curved around me like a parenthesis, C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
He held it for me. When his luck run out and his past caught up with him I was the one he called down to the county jail To press my hand up to the bullet-proof glass Spread my fingers to fit inside the outline Of his on the other side. I could feel his pulse and the heat of his blood Calling to mine through the barrier. This glass was the story of us There was always something between us. He left me with nothing but a scrap of paper Scarred with a disconnected phone number When he jumped his bail and a train for New Mexico Iâ€™ve kept it all this time Still call it once in awhile Just in case, this time, it might work But in my heart I know Iâ€™ve seen the last of him. I never fucked Justin But I never doubt for a second that I loved him And that the first boy I loved led me to the second. So if the digits in that number ever aligned like stars To let me hear his voice again All I would say is: Thank you For loving the boy in me Until I learned to love him too.
Intimacy Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships Is it unhealthy? Does one of you… • • • • • • •
Put the other down by calling names, cursing or making the other feel badly about him or herself Ever grab, push, hit or physically hurt the other Blame the other for your own behavior (“If you hadn’t made me mad, I wouldn’t have…”) Make all the decisions about what the two of you do Act controlling or possessive – like you own your partner Get extremely jealous or accuse the other of cheating Ignore or withhold affection as a way of punishing the other.
Is it healthy? Do both of you… • • • • • • • •
Always feel safe with each other Respect each other’s opinions, even when they are different Solve conflicts without putting each other down, cursing at each other or making threats Have equal decision-making power about what you do in your relationship Each enjoy spending time separately, with your own friends, as well as with each other’s friends Have some privacy – your letters, diary, personal phone calls are respected as your own Never feel like you’re being pressured for sex Always treat each other with respect - Adapted from Queer Asian Women’s Services
The Cycle of Violence (Abusive Relationships): Abuse Abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual, psychological, or economic. The abuse is a power play designed to show “who is boss”. Guilt After abusing, the perpetrator feels guilt, but not over what the abuser has done. It is more about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for abusive behavior. Rationalization The abuser makes excuses and blames the victim for the abusive behavior. “Normal” Behavior The abuser dos everything he/she can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. They may act as if nothing has happened, or may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time. Fantasy and Planning The abuser begins to fantasize about abusing victim again. They create a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality. Set-Up The abuser sets up situation to put plain into motion, creating a situation where the abuse can be justified. - http://www.mvwcs.com/cycledomesticviolence.html C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
Intimacy [in-tuh-muh-see] n.:
a close and familiar relationship with another person.
Deceit The only sane reason for romantic relationships Is to teach each other how to be the men and women we are destined to become. Never once did I regret living with you, Ten years younger than me We were bound to stretch our selves thin covering this decade gap of life between us. You were a radiator caressing every inch of snow as it melted me. After our first conversation glazed in crystalline haze We forgot to exchange names and dove head first into bed. During that morning rain drops fell from our locked lips Savoring sex as a celebration of life We never thought it would lead to this. As the world ran down our faces we kissed Like nothing could be wrong in existence. A month later it was clear we had hit a wall inside your uterus a life was forming, Our hasty engorging in this instant connection left a choice that canâ€™t be easy, you 19, living with mom, me 29, not lookinâ€™ to be career bound any time soon. Maybe we could learn something about making impossible choices together. Move up to Oakland and walk hand in hand right into the space of letting this life go. There was something else though, My role in what I thought to be an accidental creation set my head twisting when your mom spilt the words that you were never on birth control. With this one sentence the light of you was blocked out. Sometimes the truth can only shine in darkness I donâ€™t blame you for lying I just want to know where I fit into this. Want to know how this is supposed to be Part of me becoming a man
C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
After the procedure we collapsed on the couch, you said you would not have been able to cry If I hadn’t been there to start the tears from my side. Through the saline truth serum pouring from our faces you told me there was no answer for why you lied, Just inexplicable wounds of the past unraveling through our clasped fingers Holding on to pain has never been a good method of healing. The more I let go, the clearer I can see the stain of deceit, Oxidizing the edges of the puzzle our relationship became, Don’t we see ourselves reflected in the picture we make of each other’s lives, Tell me what it looks like? I wish I could say that I got this one handled, all figured out. But the lie still burns at the backs of my cheeks, And coils at the base of my spine, It’s not a matter of forgiving, It’s a call to acknowledge the murky quagmire Of internal unknowns and find a way to take responsibility within our own chaos. We can grow from this, I know it in my wisdom teeth We did not come into each other’s lives for nothing. I mean shit, I’m writing this a year after it happened, It’d be so easy to angrily wade off into hazy disremembrance and shirk any of my responsibility in our tale of trickery. To own up to wisdom, how do I become the man I am destined to be from this. To be absolutely honest, my intuition told me this whole thing would happen, I just wouldn’t believe it when Hairs raised in the peaks and valleys of my neck after the deceit washed out from your amber eyes, When you told me not to worry about a condom Something in me invited the overflowing I wanted to get lost and run rampant with each other, See the poetry in our dissolution, I am still becoming who I am, and so are you, I guess this is just my way of saying thank you.
Beautiful Eyes Smile for me, pretty faces, look away beautiful eyes I don’t want you to see me cry It’s so hard to let your feelings show When love is real, it’s so hard to let it go Heart’s lost, without a home Your presence makes me not feel alone For so long, I’ve lived on dreams Making up fairy tales and lies Loving people who aren’t real Can’t explain the emotions I feel Is it you I want, or just the notion of Being loved A heart to rest my soul, a second half To make it whole Smile for me, pretty faces, wipe away my tears Make me happy, beautiful eyes It seems I’m not allowed to cry Standing here, lost for words to say Give me a chance, don’t go away I’m tired of offering up my heart Only to have it torn apart I love you, all I can say Take my hand and point the way Pretty faces, turned the other way Raised heads, nothing to say Laugh with me, smile with joy Please, I don’t want to cry I’m tired of loving people who don’t care Life can be a bust, not always fair Day after day, wherever I go The thought of you keeps me alive Maybe some day, be patient, you’ll just Have to wait I’m tired of waiting, watching life go by My heart mends to be cut down again I’m asking myself why It hurts to even try Is it you I want, or just the notion of love, that Way I won’t be alone My heart beats for you, these words are true There’s a lot that I can do, and I’ll make you Happy to Laugh with me, pretty faces, smile with joy Shine bright, beautiful eyes I don’t want to cry
Alexander Wong C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
Eyes Wide In Slumber I lend a ripened ear to the Mona Lisa Eyes Wide in Slumber The lust from her youth has not left her Breasts seize my heart And my eyes learn to love Stillness of poetry falls into song This beauty is fiction The fruit of a heavenly patience Naked and royal The rulers of our inhibitions Shed your unnatural skin we have learned Sense is the pleasure of creatures of earth Oh to grasp The poisonous glass The voluptuous hands That fog the past Upon holy lands Mona Lisa you stand Upon holy lands Oh to taste The tongue of a maid The most wholesome fate Our minds can create Upon holy graves Mona Lisa you lay Upon holy graves
Healing Male Sexual Victimization Myths & Facts Adapted from a presentation at the 5th International Conference on Incest and Related Problems, Biel, Switzerland, August 14, 1991. Myth #1 - Boys and men can’t be victims. This myth, instilled through masculine gender socialization and sometimes referred to as the “macho image,” declares that males, even young boys, are not supposed to be victims or even vulnerable. We learn very early that males should be able to protect themselves. In truth, boys are children – weaker and more vulnerable than their perpetrators - who cannot really fight back. Myth #2 - Most sexual abuse of boys is perpetrated by homosexual males. Pedophiles who molest boys are not expressing a homosexual orientation any more than pedophiles who molest girls are practicing heterosexual behaviors. While many child molesters have gender and/or age preferences, of those who seek out boys, the vast majority are not homosexual. They are pedophiles. Myth #3 - If a boy experiences sexual arousal or orgasm from abuse, this means he was a willing participant or enjoyed it. In reality, males can respond physically to stimulation (get an erection) even in traumatic or painful sexual situations. It does not mean that the child wanted the experience or understood what it meant at the time. Myth #4 - Boys are less traumatized by the abuse experience than girls. While some studies have found males to be less negatively affected, more studies show that long term effects are quite damaging for either sex. Males may be more damaged by society’s refusal or reluctance to accept their victimization, and by their resultant belief that they must “tough it out” in silence. Myth #5 - Boys abused by males are or will become homosexual. While there are different theories about how the sexual orientation develops, experts in the human sexuality field do not believe that premature sexual experiences play a significant role in late adolescent or adult sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is a complex issue and there is no single answer or theory that explains why someone identifies himself as homosexual, heterosexual or bi-sexual. Whether perpetrated by older males or females, boys’ or girls’ premature sexual experiences are damaging in many ways, including confusion about one’s sexual identity and orientation. Myth #6 - The “Vampire Syndrome” that is, boys who are sexually abused, like the victims of Count Dracula, go on to “bite” or sexually abuse others. This myth is especially dangerous because it can create a terrible stigma for the child, that he is destined to become an offender. Boys might be treated as potential perpetrators rather than victims who need help. While it is true that most perpetrators have histories of sexual abuse, it is NOT true that most victims go on to become perpetrators. Myth #7 - If the perpetrator is female, the boy or adolescent should consider himself fortunate to have been initiated into heterosexual activity. In reality, premature or coerced sex, whether by a mother, aunt, older sister, baby-sitter or other female in a position of power over a boy, causes confusion at best, and rage, depression or other problems in more negative circumstances. To be used as a sexual object by a more powerful person, male or female, is always abusive and often damaging. For any male who has been sexually abused, becoming free of these myths is an essential part of the recovery process. - www. malesurvivor.org
C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
healing [hee-ling] n.: the act or process of regaining oneâ€™s physical, mental, and/or spiritual health.
Just Another Survivor Poem Just another survivor poem You know you’ve heard it before A little boy is used Like he’s someone’s little whore Just another survivor poem Does it make you feel uncomfortable? Should i file it under ‘the things we don’t talk about it’ especially men And do i have the right to talk about it now when it happened so long ago ? But my body remembers: Psychic time-bombs explode Every time a lover or friend touches it... And sometimes i feel ‘survivor’ is a term i’d like to discard Like an old t-shirt or pair of shoes You no longer have use for... But the other side of the ‘survivor’ coin is victim And i refuse to think of myself as one... Even at 8, 10, or 12 years old: I should have told someone, I should have spoken up, I should have fought back, I should have run, I should have said “NO!” But i didn’t... But i’m speaking up now And i hope you will too Until the abuse of all people Men, women, and especially, children, ends....
C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
To The Girl That Changed My Life... It was my 20th Birthday the night we met. I knew right then that you were not just a typical girl I would meet on an ordinary Friday night. For some reason you were different from all the others, someone special, which, is why I think I fell so hard for you. It wasn’t until we started dating three months later did I realize this girl was somehow going to change my life forever. That summer I flew home and preached to everyone and anyone about how I had fallen in love with this amazing girl. You were on my mind every waking moment. On my downtime at work I would stare at your picture that took the place of my own license in the plastic covering of my wallet. My whole summer was spent wishing break would go by faster so we could be with each other again, because hours upon countless hours on the phone just wasn’t cutting it. However, just a few weeks later I received the phone call that literally changed everything. I had no idea what to think or how to react upon learning of the robbery and sexual assault that ensued that day. I punched, kicked, ripped apart anything and everything in sight, and cursed God for letting this happen. Then began the stream of tears stemming from total shock and disbelief. I couldn’t understand or fathom how someone could possibly do this to the one girl I loved more than anything else in this world. Then Sergio grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me in the eyes, and said, “Don’t you dare let her see you like this.” That same night I promised myself and my friends I would find out who it was and kill him myself. The rage and anger only intensified as I replayed the news reports and images of what had happened to you in my mind, but it wasn’t until speaking with the gun dealer did I realize that responding with uncontrolled violence and aggression would only perpetuate everything I didn’t want. I remembered a wise man once say, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” This is exactly what I decided to do. From that point on I vowed to stand by your side every second as much as physically possible. Soon the months began to pass and it was clear to see the emotional and psychological effects the assault had taken, but we went on as if everything was ok. I pretended it never even happened because I knew bringing it up would only upset you and open up a closet full of repressed emotions. So for that entire year we lived in complete fear and decided on our own terms to get away from it all. I have to be honest with you, though, I lied to you, our friends, my family, and myself when I claimed this move to San Francisco was solely based on pursuing my former dreams of playing soccer. In truth, I was in-love and I was afraid, because the last time we were five hundred miles apart there was absolutely nothing I could do to protect you. We were both completely vulnerable and helpless, so I promised to never let that happen again. I think we both realized beforehand, though, that this was all getting to be too much and too serious for either of us to handle. The night we decided to go our separate ways I somehow knew deep down inside and saw a glimpse that everything was going to be alright and that it would all work itself out for the best. No regrets and no animosity. But the biggest shock of all, of course, was finding out a few days later from the detectives who the perpetrator was all along. Again, my initial reaction was to hunt him down and kill him myself, but it wasn’t until word of his suicide the next day did something happen to me. It was at that point that somehow everything became clear, that beneath the layers and layers of intense fear, pain, and anger was something beautiful. The realization that from these trying and difficult times unbound strength, compassion, purpose, and love is revealed. It was through this process that I was able to forgive him, something I never I thought I’d be able to do. Mark Twain once said, “Forgiveness is the fragrance a violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Forgiveness is the only way to truly move on from anything and I pray that one day you will find it within yourself to do the same. I guess my only fear now is that you will always remember me for this traumatic event in your life, rather than the guy who would have gone to hell and back for you. Just know that I will never forget you and will hold a special place for you in my heart. I have absolutely no regrets or resentment towards you or the situation and I hope you feel the same. Love Always, Jeffrey Briz Healing
I Am My Mother’s Son I can no longer blame myself for staying. Nor can I say that I should have known better or that I should have learned over time. My thoughts were: I can help him. But the reality was that you were gone; in fact, you left years ago, perhaps before I ever took notice. However, I remained by your side. I stood by you as you threatened to drink cleaning liquids, as you decided to stab yourself and as you drove like mad man around the city looking for my mother. To you, I was the child you held captive–the bait for better words– that would have lured my mother. I knew this and so I thought I knew better, but I did not. By staying and trying to help you, I became insane. If it were up to me, I would have stayed home–that imaginary home–the one you brought violence in to. I recall my mother’s tears and screams followed by my own. You stood there and asked me to choose–at age 9, 10, 11, 12 and so on–between yourself and my mother. And every year this would happen and every year I thought it would be the last. But it was not until you uttered “He is not my son.” that I realized I was not your son; you were my mother’s husband. Do take note of that–you were, because you no longer are. We both left you, though I returned to help you–as foolish as that was.
C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
So now that I think of you, I see you in screen tests, through the eye of a camera, sitting in front of your television in your empty home, alone. My mother is no longer married to you, and I, not your son, am no longer in the other room pretending you are not insane, thinking that I can help. And as the lights fade you begin to cry and I think: Someone must have told you so, but perhaps no one did, but I recall my mother saying, screaming on many occasions, that you will never find a woman like her and she was right and so now you know– she told you so. And now you are alone, without my mother and I. I am the person you are not– whom you never were. I am still growing up, learning, whereas you somehow got lost in the idea of growth, as though it were such a challenge. Men, like yourself, fuel me to challenge violence, in the community, in the home, in film– all where notions of hyper masculinity are often created and glorified. As a memory, you haunt me, but you are no longer present, or real to me. I however am alive, and use the memory of you as a reminder of who I am not and will never be. I am my mother’s son.
Federico Iñaki Villalobos
No Male Role Model Hi everybody. I have a very personal story to tell, and I’m glad to be here and get to share it. Masculinity is a strange and difficult topic for me. My first ideas of being a man probably link back to my dad, and that’s where the trouble starts. I had a scary life growing up. My dad had a lot of problems. He didn’t know how to control himself and he would suddenly get really angry and fly into violent fits. It was normal for him to punch holes in the doors. One time he strangled my mom and then drove off and almost ran her over. He just had this constant chaotic energy about him; I never knew when he was going to blow up and do something like this. So even when he was acting normal for the moment, I didn’t know what to expect. We would watch basketball and he would be rooting for his team and shouting and cheering, and even then he just felt crazy. He was so over the top, like jumping off the couch and yelling, that I just felt like, dude, chill out. And he was the only man really in my life, which totally turned me off to masculinity. I wasn’t exactly thrilled to imitate my dad. But things were actually even a lot worse than that. My dad wasn’t just violent and angry, but he also molested me. He sexually abused me for about ten years, since I was about four years old, maybe earlier. What I can say is that some of my earliest memories are of my dad abusing me. It practically kills you to be abused as a child. It crippled me inside. My dad was manipulative about it. He pretended like nothing was out of the ordinary, that nothing was wrong. And I was left with all this confusion and all this pain; not even understanding what was happening to me. Sexuality got ruined for me. It became a thing of disgust. So imagine when I got older and my sex drive really kicked in. I still had sexual feelings and desires just like everyone else. But I felt awful about myself. I hated my sex drive. When I had my first girlfriend, at age 14 I think, and we had our first, awkward, awkward kiss –did I mention it was awkward?- I felt horrible. I mean, talk about confused, that first kiss was gut-wrenching—it brought up so many sickening feelings. And I thought I had done something wrong—just for kissing! That’s how much shame I felt about myself because of my dad. Now thankfully, things have changed as I’ve gotten older. I’ve dealt with the abuse a lot in the past few years especially. When you’re a kid, you don’t know how screwed up your life is. I always knew something was wrong when I was a kid, but I couldn’t say just what. Over the last few years though, I’ve been able to see that other people didn’t go through these things. Other people don’t feel the immense shame with sex that I had always felt. And thank God that I’ve been able to see that all men are not like my dad. Yet the path I took to get where I am today has been a long one. I had to talk all this out, admit that everything I went through was real. I kept it all inside for so many years, that eventually I had to deal with it or else it would have destroyed me. I can’t tell you how hard it is and also how healing it is to get up the courage to admit that the abuse happened to me, a real person. Not just some character in a story. It happened to Me; I was abused. But I was also able to heal. By wanting to deal with the abuse, and by talking about it; that’s just what you have to do to get better. Now about masculinity; looking back, I actually had some great buddies in middle school and high school, and we acted more or less like boys are expected to act. I think that I was able to still have fun with guys and make friends because we were all boys. Men were unsafe, but boys were ok. But now, we’ve all grown into men, or maybe like somewhere half way between. In any event, as I continue to gain perspective as an adult, I can make sense of the pain in my past and make sense of the pain that I see around me. Men like my dad somehow get to thinking it is ok to hurt other people and feel like they’re better than others and can do what they want. That may have been my dad’s form of masculinity, but I try and make sure it isn’t my masculinity. My masculinity comes from a sense that I have survived, worked through my past and I don’t have to suffer from it anymore, and I know that I can be strong and persevere. In that sense, it’s not really something exclusively male. It’s more a maturity that comes with age and experience.
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At the same time, I don’t want to just bash on masculinity and my dad. You know, I know how miserable my dad was. I wish that he had managed to work through whatever his own internal struggles were. Honestly, I have to acknowledge that I had help from friends, a couple teachers, a wonderful therapist, my sisters; lots of people who were willing to talk about the abuse despite how hard it was—but what did my dad have? I’m not saying it was ok that he abused me and my family. But my dad came from another generation. Therapy in his time wasn’t such a common thing that he could go to when he was my age. I know he grew up feeling a social pressure to be a man and stand on his own. And he never really asked for help… My experiences as an abused child, were linked to the bigger picture. Like how people think about family. How people think about being a man. How people think about children and child abuse. They’re all connected. Masculinity seems like its sometimes a matter of making yourself look good and making someone else look bad. I can’t live that way. I can’t be this strong, immovable guy who doesn’t need help from anyone. I need to ask for help sometimes--that’s the reason I am still alive today, and it’s the reason I can help other people. I think that is much more realistic and positive way to live. Thank you so much for letting me share my story.
If you are a male survivor of sexual assault or sexual abuse, remember: •
You are NOT alone.
You are NOT to blame.
It’s okay to feel hurt, to cry, and to ask for help.
It is estimated that 1 in 6 men are survivors of sexual violence.
Male survivors often feel responsible for their assault / abuse or that they should have been “stronger” and able to stop it. Sexual assault is not about physical strength; it is about power. In our society we’re told that “boys don’t cry”. We believe that male survivors need to be able to express the pain they are feeling, and that reaching out to other survivors is a show of strength. - http://www.pandys.org/malesurvivors.html
10 Things Men Can Do to Stop Rape: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Acknowledge and understand sexism. Examine and challenge our individual sexism. Take a stance to end violence against women. Remember that silence is colluding with violence. Educate and re-educate our men about their responsibility in ending violence. Have the courage to look inward. Own the responsibility and be part of the solution. Stop supporting myths or stereotypes that justify violence against women. Hold other men accountable through creating effective and appropriate change. Listen to women.
Statistics: Men’s Violence 85% of all murder cases are perpetrated by men. 90% of all physical assault cases are perpetrated by men. 95% of all domestic violence cases are perpetrated by men. 95% of dating violence is perpetrated by men. 99.8% of people in prison convicted of rape are men. 95% of child sexual abuse cases are perpetrated by men. Although the overwhelming majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by men, it is important to remember that NOT ALL men are perpetrators of violence. - “Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity” Sut Jhally
C o c k Ta l e s: H o n o r i n g O u r S t o r i e s
San Francisco State University Resources ON-CAMPUS RESOURCES Sexual Assault & Relationship Violence University Police Department (24/7 emergency) 911 Student Health/Counseling & Psychological Services Center Medical services (SHS) (415)338-1719
OFF-CAMPUS RESOURCES Sexual Assault San Francisco Trauma Recovery/Rape Treatment Center SF General Hospital www.traumarecoverycenter.org (415)437-3000
Counseling services (SSB 208) (415)338-2208
San Francisco Women Against Rape 24 Hr Hotline Services For all genders www.SFWAR.org (415)647-7273
Crisis Counseling/ Prevention Education The SAFE Place Sexual Abuse Free Environment Student Services 205 www.sfsu.edu/safe_plc (415)338-7233
AVACA Wisdom Institute Anger Management, Domestic Violence, Relationship Classes www.AVACA.org (415)431-4800 (800)918-7990
The SAFE Place Men’s Program Student Services 205 (415)338-1203 CEASE Program Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance abuse Education Student Services 205 (415)338-1203
Community United Against Violence (CUAV) (GLBTI) www. CUAV.org (415)333-HELP Men’s Hotline 24 Hour hotline for abusive men with anger management concerns www.maws.org/menssite/default.html (415)924-1070
Housing & Residential Services Tell your RA or Professional Staff Student Discipline/Judicial Affairs Student Services 403 (415)338-2032
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S exual A buse Free E nvironment SF State
San Francisco State University Student Services Bldg Room 205 1600 Holloway Avenue San Francisco, CA 94132 Men Can Stop Violence Phone: (415) 338-1203 www.sfsu.edu/~safe_plc