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INSIDE: • Men and the Fear of Hugging • Beyond Sound bite Thinking • Letter to an Absent Father • Confronting White Racism

The War to Define Manhood By Rob Okun n the months since the tragedy of September 11th, so much has changed in society. Issues of safety, family, work, and patriotism have all taken on new meaning. What seems to have changed little, though, are societal attitudes about masculinity. For the first three weeks after the attacks-before we began bombing Afghanistan-flickers of transformation glimmered amidst the shock, the pain, the tears. Male firefighters, police officers and rescue workers naturally blended men's take-charge, problem-solving ability with an equally natural, though more rarely seen, ability to hug, to cry-to feel. Our tragic circumstances had opened up a karmic worm hole where men could experience an integrated approach to expressing emotions in wartime. But U.S. leaders, beginning with the commander-inchief, have a different idea: in addition to waging war abroad against terrorism, apparently the government is waging war at home--defending traditional masculinity. No high-level speech writers have described the national leadership as protecting old school masculinity, but the language, posturing, and tone corning out of Washington have made those intentions clear. Mr. Bush and others have tapped into a conspicuous national craving 1for "comfort foods" rhetoric, such as "root out the evildoers" and "you can run but you can't hide." Evidently our national conscience has been lulled back into old refrains where "might equals right" and "wanted: dead or alive" substitute for meaningful debate. In the midst of such overwhelming expressions of rigid masculinity, it was surprising to have found an antidote in an unlikely spot: the respectful, caring relationship between two football playersTorn Brady and Drew Bledsoe of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. When veteran starting quarterback Bledsoe was injured early in the season, Brady replaced him. The young backup led the team to a string of victories even after his predecessor was deemed fit to play. Both maintained a friendly, supportive connection-even through the championship game-with Brady in the limelight and Bledsoe on the sidelines. They were able to keep their cooperative personal relationship above their competitive sports relationship, a feat reminiscent of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hugging when they were vying to break Roger Maris's single-season horne run record four years ago. Some would say that questioning men's expression of masculinity in 21st-century wartime USA is an irrelevancy, outside the current national debate. For many others, though, it is at the heart of it. While the government may have chosen traditional male posturing to demonstrate its approach to waging war, there are growing legions of men around the country~and the world-




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choosing different expressions of manhood to wage peace. When we interrupt coworkers' sexist jokes, when we work to prevent violence against women; when we practice active listening with our partners; when we take care of our children; when we champion a culture of compassion rather than a culture of destructi0n, we are, by example, enlarging the national debate about manhood. If enough of us replace old-style masculinity with a "kinder, gentler" definition (to borrow a phrase from George Bush, Sr.), there's a chance men will reject "might equals right" as our credo, replacing it with the Dalai Lama's definitiop of spirituality"My religion is kindness." Men's redefinitions of manhood are reflected in this issue in a number of articles, beginning with a report on a pioneering billboard campaign north of Boston, "Strong Men Don't Bully," signed by nearly 500 men (Men @ Work, page 5). Managing editor Michael Burke highlights the shift in his powerful family story, "Unnatural Embrace: Men and the Fear of Hugging" (page 8) , and acclaimed writer Kevin Powell's powerful memoir, "Letter to My Father," looks at the sadness, anger, and healing of growing up with an absent dad (page 10). Michael Dover ruminates on the pitfalls of applying emotional analogies to issues of war and peace in "Fighting Words" (page 12) and Gunnel Sj6stedt Karlsson describes innovative efforts Swedish men are taking to challenge domestic violence in "Women's Peace Men's Responsibility" (page 13). Jeff Kelly Lowenstein pain_ts a tender portrait of his son in "Short Shrift" (Fathering, page 14), and British men's health author Peter Baker stakes out the growing international men's health movement in "Men's Health Goes Mainstream" (Men & Health, page 15). What is a relationship? Carl Erikson asks in "What's :ove Got to Do with It? ," this issue's Outlines column (page 16). Pat McGann contributes" 'My People'? : Corning to Terms with White Responsibility for Racist Violence" in Color Lines (page 18), and Richard Cookson shares an inside .look at rnentoring young men of color in the cover story. "Reaching Up for Manhood" (Voices of Youth, page 19). Finally, in "Healing Our Righteous Anger," Charlie Hertan shares painful personal memories in Notes from Survivors (page 20). All that's really missing in this issue is you! We welcome your comments. Happy Spring.

TABLE OF CONTENTS Features Unnatural Embrace: Men and the Fear of Hugging


By Michael Burke 10

Letter to My Father By Kevin Powell Fighting Words: A Challenge to Soundbite Thinking


By Michael Dover l3

Women's Peace, Men's Responsibility By Gunnel Sjilstedt Karlsson

Columns & Opinion From the Editor Director's Voice Mail Bonding Men@Work Fathering: Short Shrift By jeff Kelly Lowenstein . Men&: Health: Men's·Health Goes Mainstream By Peter Baker Outlines: What's Love Got to Do with It? Eavesdropping on Bi and Gay Husbands and Wives


3 4

5 14



By Carl Erikson 17

GBQ Resources Color Lines: My People?: Coming to Terms with White Responsibility for Racist Violence By Pat McGann Voices of Youth: Reaching Up for Manhood



By Richard Cookson Notes from Survivors: Healing Our Righteous Anger



By Charlie Her!an Book Reviews: Prostate Tales and

Bisexual and Gay Husbands


MRC Programs &: Services Resources Thank You Calendar


24 25 26

On the cover: Barry Brooks, guidance counselor and MRC Challenge &: Change award recipient, with Aaron Buford, member of MRC's Young Men of Color Leadership project. Photo by Gigi Kaeser. Voice Male is published quarterly by the Men~ Resource Center of Western Massachusetts, mailed to donors and subscribers, and distributed at select

locations throughout western Massachusetts, southern Vermont and southern New Hampshire. The mission of the Men~ Resourc~ Center of Western Massachusetts is to support men, challenge men~ violence and develop men ~ leadership in ending oppression in our lives, our families and our communities. Suppon Our Work The MRC is funded by individual and organizational contributions, and fees for services. Please join us in our vision of men healing_ growing and ending violence. Send contributions ($35, $50, $100) to support our work:



Men's Resource Center Main Office: 236 North Pleasant Street • Amherst, MA 01002 • 413.253.9887 • Fax: 413.253.4801 Springfield Office: 29 Howard Street • Springfield, MA 01105 • 413.734.3438 ~~Hampshire Email: Commurity "'b . u...w.u ...e stte:

Growing a Community By Steven Botkin

Admi"istrative Staff

Executlrs Director - Steven Botkin Associate Dlrsctor - Rob Okun Director of Operations - Carl Erikson Derslopmsnt Coordinator- Spirit Joseph Men Overcoming Violence

Dlrsctor - Russell Bradbury-Carlin Clinical Superrlsor - Steven Botkin Partner Serrlces Coordinator (on leave)- Sara Elinoff Interim Partner Serrlces Coordinator - Jan Eidelson Intake Coordinator/Court Ualson - Steve Trudel Franklin County Coordinator - Joy Kaubin Hampden County Coordinator- Scott Girard llorth Quabbln Community Educator - Tom Sullivan Admlnlstrstlrs Coordinator - Edgar Cancel Group Leaders- Eve Bogdanove, Karen Fogliatti, Scott Girard, Steve Jefferson, Joy Kaubin, Dot LaFratta, Gary Newcomb, Tom Sullivan, Steve Trudel Hampden County Programs .

Dlrsctor of Immigrant and Rllfugee Program Juan Carlos Arean Youth Programs

Coordinator - Jeff Harris Northampton Group Leader - Steve Trudel Voice Male Magazine

Editor - Rob Okun Managing Editor - Michael Burke Senior Editor- Steven Botkin Designer - candid design Copy Editor - Michael Dover Support Programs

Dirsctor - Allan Arnaboldi Support Group Facilitators

Allan Arnaboldi, Michael Burke, Jim Devlin, Michael Dover. Carl Erikson, Tim Gordon, Ken Howard, Rick Kapler. Damien Licata, Gabor Lukacs. Rick Martin, Bob Mazer. Peter McAvoy, Bob Moore, Jim Napolitan, Tom Schuyt, Chris Shanahan, Sheldon Snodgrass, Bob Sternberg Board of Directors

Chair - Michael Dover Vice Chair - Thom Herman Clerlr/TfBasursr - Peter Jessop Members - Mario Cruz, Jenny Daniell, Bill Dowd, Nancy Girard, Tom Gardner. Jack Hornor. Ty Joubert, Yoko Kato, Brenda L6pez, Mathew Ouellet, Sudhakar Vamathevan Advisory Board

Michael Bardsley, Larry Beane, Dean Cycon, Bailey Jackson, Luis Melendez, Matthew Morse, Cheryl Rivera, Elizabeth Scheibel, Diane Troderman, Felice Yeske/ Editor's Note

Opinions expressed herein may not represent the views of all staff, board, or members of the MRC. We welcome letters, articles, news items, article ideas, and events of interest. We encourage unsolicited manuscripts, but cannot be responsible for their loss. Manuscripts will be returned and responded to if accompanied by a stamped return envelope. Send to Voice Male, 236 No. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002; Advertising

For rates and deadlines call Voice Male Advertising at (413) 253-9881, Ext. 20.

hen iwasa little kid I watched a television show called 'So Romper Room. Each G L----.;:..;.---&..::.....: week I eagerly awaited the last few minutes of the show when Miss Nancy would look out at us from the television through her "magic mirror" and name the children she could see. Making sure I was always sitting directly in her view, I was filled with awe and delight on those special occasions when she said she could see "Steven." Today, thinking about how many of you I know who are part of the MRC community, I feel a similar awe and delight. I see Bob, and Matt, and Antonio, and Ty. As I gaze at you through \flY magic mirror I am filled with deep appreciation for our growing community of men and women of many ages, races, sexual orientations, social and economic backgrounds, and life experiences. I see jack, and Mary, and Scott, and Anna. We are a community of people .. .I see Sara and Luis and Thom ...who believe that "men no longer need to feel confined by definitions of masculinity that value domination and violence, nor need they feel threatened by women's struggle for equality" (from the MRC Vision Statement) . 路 Over the past 19 years we have grown from one small group envisioning "men's community" to a diverse network of more than a thousand of you who participate in this community in so many ways. "You" are the more than 150 participants in 17 different weekly groups where men support each other to lead empowered, nonviolent lives ... I see Richard and jim andjerry ... Or one of the 30 group leaders who facilitate these groups .. .I see Ken and Sheldon and Rich .... MRC drop- in groups four times each week help any man find connection, community and support. MRC Youth Programs have expanded to provide young men's leadership and violence prevention groups in the communities of Holyoke, Amherst and Northampton. These include a young men of color group for high school and college men, a young fathcrs' group, and a leadership group for young male staff in youth-serving agencies. Men are working together in weekly Men Overcoming Violence (MOVE) groups in Hampden, Franklin, and Hampshire counties to end their violent or abusive behavior. We are now deepening this community by creating opportunities for you to engage in intergroup dialogue with others who have diverse experiences and perspectives. The Amherst young men of color group met with the Holyoke group recently to talk together about the journey to healthy manhood and about developing leadership for challenging oppression. They also organized a dialogue between young men and women about respect and healthy relationships, hosted a meeting with a Greenfield young men's group, and organized "men of color leadership forums" to talk with adult men about masculinity and oppression .. .I see jeff


and Carlos artd Oni.x... The MRC's gay/bisexual/questioning advisory committee hosted a dialogue between gay men of color and gay white men . Gay and straight support group facilitators are meeting together monthly for team building, in-service 'training, and support. Our Fathers and Family Network forums give human service providers information and insight about young dads, divorced and single fathers, and Latino and African-American fathers. We are strengthening this community through collaborations with other organizations. We have expanded our longterm relationship with the Everywoman's Center to include a male community educator at the University of Massachusetts working with students and staff on issues of violence agaiQst women. Our youth programs in Holyoke have been rooted in collaborationswith the Holyoke Youth Alliance, Holyoke YouthBuild, NEAR! JumpStart, and Nuestras Raices. Our Immigrant and Refugee Program is working with Child and Family Services of the Pioneer Valley, the Corporation for Public Management, and the Vietnamese American Civic Association to provide culturally relevant domestic violence prevention services in diverse immigrant communities. The young men of color project has succeeded in large part because of our collaboration with the Amherst A Better Chance House, and Commonwealth College at UMass .. .I see Carol and Steve and Adi and Bryant ... And we are growing this community through the thousands of people who find connection and support, challenge and inspiration through the stories, ideas and visions shared by others in these pages ...And I see you ... This year we plan to enlarge the MRC community by sending this magazine to 500 new readers. In order to accomplish this we are offering a free Voice Male subscription to anyone who is interested in receiving the magazine. We are also preparing to expand the community by providing additional opportunities for "online" connection and support. Through regular e-mail newsletters, action alerts, vinual support groups and forums , and Internet reso urce and referral, we will be able to communicate with a large local, regional and worldwide community. In order to launch this online community we have set a goal of sending out 500 e-mail newsletters by the end of this year. We want YOU to join路 this community. Send us your mailing address and we'll send路 you Voice Ma le. Send your e-mail address and we'll send you our upcoming e-newsletter. Together we will continue to grow a Men's Resource Center community of support and transformation for individual lives, families, and our culture. The magic mirror is big enough to see us all.

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The .Culture Needs Counseling I work as the Director of Program Evaluation for a domestic violence agency in Dallas. I am responsible for measuring outcomes for . all of our programs, including our battering intervention program. This will be the first year that we are tracking recidivism for clients who both complete and do not complete the program. This is not an easy program to evaluate for a couple of reasons: For one, we cannot always trust the clients to be honest about their behavior, and two, we have not been able to effectively make contact with the men's partners to gauge any progress a client may be making. Besides some procedural difficulties in ensuring partner safety, there are ethical concerns about surveying partners about a batterer's behavior. Lastly, even though we will be collecting recidivism data this year, we all know that most battering takes place without the perpetrator路being sanctioned, so it is at best a very gross measure of behavior change. I think the entire approach to counseling men is misdirected. Well intended, but it is like the Band-Aid versus the cure analogy. Who needs "counseling" is not individual men, but the entire culture! Men

perpetrating violence have been around for millennia-for anything to last that long, it must have institutional support. In short, our social institutions create and maintain a culture of violence against wom.e n-not a new thought, I know, but one that speaks to an entirely different solution than that of counseling a few men. The question I have been asking for some time and for which I have not yet come up with an actionable intervention is, "How to change culture?" Institutions create culture and maintain culture, and these institutions are controlled by the group that is benefiting from thi~ arrangement. For every batterer who is counseled, there are X number of potential new batterers being raised in a culture that sanctions violence against women. Even if counseling were highly effective, there would still be new batterers cranked out day after day-historically, the "source"路of batteringinstitutional arrangement and control-has never been effectively interrupted. Until that changes, there will continue to be minimal progress.

john Glass Dallas, Tex. Editor~

Note: This letter was originally a posting to a listserv on violence against women. The writer has agreed to its being edited for publication in Voice Male:

Voice Male: ANational Voice? I have begun having these strange daydreams about Voice Male becoming the much-needed national magazine for pro-feminist men. Maybe it can spawn the first worldwide publication of that variety-either on-line or in print.

Fathering: Don't Miss Out It seems from reading your magazine that the Men's Resource Center raises important selfawareness. As a dad who is glad never even to have missed one of my kids' physicals and has rarely missed any "special" event of either of my kids, I am proud of the support of my company in my desire to be an integral part of my kids' life. This need, for me, is even more important after September ll th. There is no doubt of my important role in my kids' life!

Gary DeWaal Brooklyn, N.Y.

"New" Men's Movement Overdue I've just sent in my subscription to Voice Male and look forward to receiving the magazine. It's so hopeful .and encouraging to see the Men's Resource Center doing this work. I'm working ~th women's reproductive health in Central America, where machismo is causing suffering for men, women, and children. As a long-term feminist, I have known that men clearly need to do their work in "undoing the patriarchy"-women can't do it alone. I applaud your courage to look at the deeper issues of gender and power and how we're all victims of the dysfunctional system of patriarchy. This "new men's movement" is long overdue. Thanks for being who you are and doing what you do. Keep up the great work.

Tom Gardner Amherst, Mass.

Internal Mediation -Life Beyond Therapy "Internal Mediation" is based on "The Wor~ of Byron Katie" and Thorn Herman is a certified Practitioner of the Work. Internal Mediation is a simple and radical process that fundamentally alters our relationship to our thoughts. Thorn can be invited to present Internal Mediation to groups in a workshop setting. When invited Thorn-works by donation. He also works with clients individually through his psychotherapy practice in Northampton and Greenfield, MA. For 11Wre information check out Thorn's web site at:



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]enna Houston Catskill, N.Y.

Valentine's Day Message

order for today's boys to grow up and become healthy men." "We cannot be strong and be abusing women or children or both," Greenbaum says. "We need to talk to our male friends and family members to send a different message of what it means to be a strong and healthy man. And we have A few days before Valentine's Day, a to develop services for men who need billboard campaign challenging domestic help overcoming 'habits of aggression and abuse was unveiled in Gloucester, control. We've been silent way too long Massachusetts, a seaside community and our silence has been condoning north of Boston. The billboard carries emotional abuse and physical violence." the names of 485 men who signed on Men for HAWC was formed in 1996. condemning family violence, according Several men independently contacted Help for Abused Women and their Children in Salem, Mass. asking what they could do to help the organization, including , working to end men's silence on the issue of domestic abuse. Greenbaum became an active member. In 1999 he helped form Gloucester Men Against Domestic Abuse. "We are not so much an organization as an attitude. We believe men need to stop abusing and to take that attitude into our workplaces, our The billboard, "Strong Men Don't Bully," is 22 feet by 10 feet. homes and into our communities." To view the billboard, to Willy Greenbaum, who coordinated take Route 128 to Exit 11, the first the effort through Men for HAWC (Help Gloucester rotary. Turn right and go for Abused Women and their Children) several blocks until you cross railroad and Gloucester Men Against Domestic tracks. Take the next left onto Railroad Abuse. "The nearly 500 men who signed Avenue. come from diverse backgrounds," Greenbaum says. "There are carpenters, fishermen, mechanics, plumbers, veterans, men in recovery from alcohol, drugs or crime, a number whose fathers were abusive to their mothers, musicians, doctors, bankers, teachers, poets, bar owners, gay men, custom car Good news for fans of the radio guys, teenagers, and star athletes--you program RadioActive Youth. The radio name it." "The guys paid for the printing show, a project begun through the Men's and erecting of the billboard. It was no Resource Center's Youth Programs, has accident they chose just before received a grant of $3,800 from the Valentine's Day to publicly say to the Boston-based social change philanthropy community, especially its women: Haymarket'People:S Fund. Domestic violence and abuse are not acceptable." "This is a great gift," says Elena Botkin-Levy, coordinator of RadioActive Greenbaum developed the message Youth . "The money provided by for the 22 feet by 10 feet billboard. The Haymarket will allow us to keep putting text reads, "Strong Men Don't Bully." issues on the air that are important to Billboard designer Barry Rower donated young people-including subjects they his services, creating a design placing the wouldn't find on the radio anywhere message in the foreground and a else-and to continue to involve young screened listing of the men's names in men and women in the production of the the background. AK Media donated the program. We're very grateful." space. RadioActive Youth can be heard from "We're thrilled to be collaborating 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. the third Monday of with Gloucester Men Against Domestic every month on WMUA, 91.1 FM, at the Abuse," says Candace Waldron, HAWC's University of Massachusetts in Amherst. executive director. "Men are able to For more information, visit the website engage in conversation with other men at, on this topic in ways that women can't. or send an e-mail to radioactiveyouth Their leadership has encouraged other 路 men to examine their attitudes and behaviors to create the systemic social change that will end family violence. We need nurturing male role models in

"Strong Men Don't Bully"路

Haymarket Funds RadioActive Youth

MEN @WORK Men for Jane Doe As more and more men are ending their silence to speak out against domestic violence, they are finding new ways to stand in solidarity with women who have been abused. Last November, 46 people representing 28 organizations attended the first statewide meeting of Men's Initiative for Jane Doe, Inc., a new coalition designed to 路share resources, ideas and strategies for how men can work to end violence against women. Participants from across the state, as well as visitors from Maine and Rhode Island, met for a day in Worcester, Mass. sharing information about how they are working to end men's violence against women. Men's Resource Center executive and associate directors Steven Botkin and Rob Okun were among those present and described some of the MRC's outreach efforts, including newspaper signature ad campaigns. The day included a panel presentation from the White Ribbon Campaign of the South Shore Women's Center in Plymouth County, Mass., and Men for HAWC (Help for Abused Women and Children) of Salem and Gloucester, Mass. "We wanted to bring together a diverse group working on mens outreach projects," said Craig Norberg-Bohm, whose idea it was to create Men's Initiative for Jane Doe Inc. (Ml]D) and serves as its chair. Suggestions for what the Ml]D might do included facilitating an Internet discussion group, organizing a conference, maintaining a registry and point of contact for others interested in related work, and providing the underpinning for communication and connections among these and similar efforts. For further information on the Men's Initiative for Jane Doe call (617) 2480922, ext. 830, or e-mail

Fathers 路and Daughters: The Play A new play, Fathers and Daughters, is being produced in Atlanta during this year and next. Playwright Barry L. Anbinder, the father of two daughters, says the play will consist primarily of monologues. Six actors and actresses will portray true stories from interviews with various fathers and daughters. The play will start with the fathers' stories about the births of. their daughters and end with the daughters telling about the death of their fathers . If you have a story that you would like to share about the special relationship with your father or daughter, please e-mail your phone number to

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MEN@ WORK More Perfect Unions


E-mails have been flying thick and fast spreading the chilling prospect of an imminent Amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning same-sex marriage. But while stories of a campaign for such an Amendment may have been overblown and premature-there's nothing quick about the process of amending the Constitution, as those involved in the ERA fight may remember-activists on this issue say we shouldn't relax just yet. Stacy Roth, president of the LGBT Political Alliance of Western Massachusetts, based in Northampton, downplays the danger of a constitutional amendment, but says there are other, more pressing pieces of legislation that Bay State residents in · particular should be aware of. "There's a couple right-wing groups that are talking about filing a constitutional amendment that is a 'Defense of Marriage Act,"' she says. "But it's a slow process, and we're all going to know about it when it happens. To Roth , the more important battles are over the Massachusetts domestic partners legislation, the state "DE;fense of Marriage Act," and the ballot initiative that would seek to amend the state constitution to deny marriage benefits to gays and lesbians. The domestic partners bill, which would cover domestic partners of state employees, has been in the works for over a decade, and "gets further through the process each time," Roth says. It has gotten as far as the Massachusetts House, where House Speaker Thomas Finneran has so far prevented it from reaching the floor. The Mass. Defense of Marriage Act, sponsored by john Rogers, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, is currently in committee and has been · through some public hearings, but has not been brought out on the floor. Then there's the infamous state constitutional amendment ballot initiative, which has caused an outcry among LGBT activists who suspect deception and fraud we~e used in the gathering of signatures. "It's important to _understand that we need to be vigilant about both," says Roth. "Proponents of 'Defense of Marriage' are basically trying to trump everything else that can happen [legislatively]. " The Campaign for Equality (, the ACLU, and a coalition of other groups are investigating, as well as working against this initiative. People can go to the website to try to determine whether their signature was collected, without their permission. The process for this ballot initiative is that it must next go to the state legislature; a vote of 25 percent is required to move it forward, both this year and in 2003 . If that

succeeds, the measure would go on the ballot statewide in 2004. At present, 34 states and the federal government have some type of Defense of Marriage Act on the books, while eight states, including Massachusetts, have some form of domestic partner recognition legally enshrined. The Massachusetts legislation, which passed under former governor William Weld, provides domestic partner benefits for only a relatively few higher manager~ in state government, according to Roth. In addition to the Campaign for Equality and the LGBT Political Alliance (website:, ,the Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts is also very involved in working for equal legal treatment of same-sex relationships and in fighting discriminatory legislation such as the various DOMAs. This group has redesigned its website,, to allow people to contact their elected representatives about issues including support for the Mass. domestic partnership bill and opposition ro the "Super Defense of Marriage (DOMA) " constitutional amendment. A link on the organization's home page identifies legislators by street address of the constituent and provides other information about pending legislation. This is a good site to go to for background information on marriage, civil unions, domestic partnership, and related legislation not only locally but around the country.

then, is violence labeled a "women's issue"? Denny doesn't brood long over the answer. Instead, he's trying to reach those 14- to 29-year-olds with music. His new CD is called Between the Beats, a series of raps with a simple rriessage: treat women well, resist sexual exploitation, look out for your fellow humans, and intervene if you see something dangerous about to. happen. Denny has been working in the violence prevention field for 17 years, offering interactive programs to schools and conferences. To date, he has conducted more than 500 sexual assault and domestic violence education workshops. Passionate about primary prevention, Denny goes to the source of the violence problem-men. "I am not anti-male. Some of my best friends are male," he jokes. Then, more seriously: "Our ideas of masculinity have to change. People are desperate. We [MVP] are all about creating new opportunities and looking for new expectations." One day during one of his anti-violence programs, Denny started rapping spontaneously. The kids joined in, and afterward he heard them making up their own anti-violence raps. "That's when I knew I was on to something." That initial rap session led to a CD, but Denny thought he sounded "too white, too straight, too old." His fears were confirmed by the evaluations he received-"get rid of the white guy." He realized if he wanted to do this right, he had to have the right musicians ..He heard about a rapper-poetartist named C.A.U.T.I.O.N. (Critical Association Under the Influence of No one), and a rapping cowboy from Montana named Sandman. Enter Terrance (C.AU .T.I.O.N .) Turner and Chris "Sandman" Sand. They listened Should rape and domestic violence be · to Denny's spiel, liked his ideas, and male issues? Todd Denny and the Men's hopped aboard the Men's Violence Violence Prevention Music Project (MVP) Prevention Music Project. Add Adrian of Washington State answer with a Martinez to the mix as recording engineer, and the result is Between the Beats. · Denny suggests listening to the entire CD with other educators before using it with students, and using a stereo or boombox rather than a computer, which can diminish the CD's sound quality due to small speaker size. According to Denny, this music can be utilized for classrooms, discussion groups, school PA announcements, for teacher and Men's Violence Prevention Music Project founder Todd peer educator training, and for Denny speaking to an audience of college students. radio public service announcements. It also works well in music classes, social studies and as "ambiance music" before and after resounding yes! Denny believes boys·and young men need good, nonviolent role school assemblies, group presentations, models and he wants to provide them. "Fpr club activities and training sessions. 30 years [violence has] been a women's For more information on Between the Beats or the Men's Violence Prevention issue," he says. "That defies common logic. Music Project, go to Denny's website, We've got to stop de-gendering violence. It's, or e-mail not teen violence or gang violence-it's male violence." Boys and ·men ages 14 to 29, he notes, are responsible for the majority of violent acts in our society. Why,

New CD Takes Aim at Men's.Violence

Cambodian Men Work to End Violence Against Women Cambodia, which has seen more than its share of war and suffering in the recent past, has been formally at peace for the last two years. But while the country's armed forces have been demobilized and the war has ended, another kind of violence remains, and has recently come under increased scrutiny. Although it has received less attention than armed conflict, violence against women arguably affects more people nationwide. But in Cambodia, violence against women has often been equated only with dome~tic

A Cambodian father and child.

violence, and top government leaders have reacted by questioning its widespread nature. At the same time, there has been a growing awareness among both Cambodian women and men that all these evils are men's problems, wl)ich men must resolve for the sake of their families and for the good of society as a whole. A new campaign and a new men's organization in that country are working to solve the problem. Researchers say that husbands in Cambodia all too often resolve family conflicts by using violence, such as beating their wives and children leaving them wounded or even dead. They are many . times following in their own fathers' footsteps, doing to their wives what their fathers did to their own mothers. Yet Buddhist teaching, which is respected in Cambodia, says that for families to be at peace, everyone in the family must remain calm, both physically and psychologically. Agencies working directly with women in crisis have long considered violence against women to be a major social problem in Cambodia. To this day, however, there has not been any reliable collation of national figures to do with trafficking in women or sexual assault. But a recent study of 250 schoolchildren aged 10 to l2 years in Phnom Penh and Kompong Speu reported that 41.2 percent had witnessed domestic violence in their own home and 8.8 percent had witnessed a rape: Newspaper reports in the last year. have highlighted some extremely savage gang rapes, while more substantial research by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)

indicates that rape and sexual harassment are common occupational hazards for female street vendors and other women working in public places. A group called Gender and Development for Cambodia (GAD/C) undertook its own version of the White Ribbon campaign to educate the public about violence against women last fall. Public distribution of white ribbons as a symbol of nonviolence formed the backbone of the campaign. GAD/C chose November 25, the International Day for the Eradication of Violence Against Women, to begin the distribution, also giving out information on the new Cambodian Men's Network (see below) and handbills on the different forms of violence against women. By the end of the campaign, 18,000 white ribbons and 12,000 handbills had been distributed. University students were particularly enthusiastic, and spoke with many passersby about issues of violence. Pre-publicity two days before the campaign began brought coverage from key media organizations including Raksmei Kampuchea, the country's biggest selling daily paper, the Voice of America Khmer language service, National Radio, Agence France Presse, and a popular current affairs TV show, Rendez-Vous. Banners, signs and Tshirts were also made for the occasion. Each year from now on, GAD/C intends to mark November 25 as the day for the public distribution of white ribbons as a symbol that the wearer swears not to use violence or commit acts of violence against women. Meanwhile, the Cambodian Men's Network, also launched on November 25, has held a series of consultations with interested male NGO staff around the country. Involvement of men in the campaign and male-to-male contact and discussion was crucial, because it positioned the issue not as a "women's problem" (and therefore considered of minor importance) but one affecting all of Cambodian society. The Cambodian Men's Network, which publishes "Men's Perspective Bulletin," has these goals: encouraging men to be responsible fath.ers and loving partners in the family; educating men to act as positive models for their children; reducing destructive aspects of male behavior such as gambling, drinking, and extramarital sex; increasing awareness among men about the benefits of monogamy and fidelity and the health risks involved in promiscuous sexual behavior; being leaders in building a Cambodian society which values good behavior, mutual trust, loyalty, honesty and service to others; teaching Cambodian men to reject violence against women, whether physical or emotional, as well as discrimination, harassment, and abusive language; and being active in lobbying for the elimination of the sex trafficking of women and young girls. With the work of the GAD/C and the new Cambodian Men's Network, the foundation may be in place to build a more peaceful Cambodian society for both genders. For more information about GAD/C and the Cambodian Men's Network, contact them at: users/gad/CMN/index.htrn


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Men and the Fear of Hugging

Unnatural Embrace By Michael Bu.rke ' ast summer I hugged my ~rother-in-law for the first time. . It was one small step for two men, if not mankind. Whether or not it's ever repeated, it seemed important at the time, and still does. A colleague at the Men's Resource Center got me sitting up straight in my chair recently when he said: Mal e socialization is about homophobia. He was speaking from his own experience as a gay man, but still I wanted to argue: Come on, "male socialization" is not reducible to such an absolute, simple formula. It's more complex than just straight men's Two men on a mountain: the author (right) and his fear of being seen as gay, or of brother-in-law above an Adirondack lake. having contact with gays, or of "becoming" gay. There's more to anybody). If I were ever lost in the woods or under attack, he's the one I'd it than that. Isn't there? want by my side. Then I thought about that moment So why did it take so long for us to with my brother-in-law. I've known share that hug? him-my wife's sister's husband-for a It wasn't merely the passage of time dozen years. We're not close friends or the comfort of long familiarity that but he's had me up to his camp in the finally relaxed our studied male reticence. It took the sudden and Adirondacks for "beer and bloody meat," as he delicately puts it, and unexpected death of our father-in-law. we've spent time together at family He was only 58 and had meant a lot gatherings. to both of us (though I never hugged It would be an understatement to him either, come to think of it) . At the say we're different. He's from western funeral , we both grieved for this New York, used to be in law father-mentor we had loved. enforcement, and perhaps having dealt Afterward, I didn't think about it-I with so many criminals over the years just came over and embraced my seems, to my West Coast sensibility, to ' brother-in-law. Actually, I guess I did look on life with a colder eye. He likes think about it-quickly. Probably I to fish and hunt, play golf and drink realized just as I was about to do it beer. I've heard him say things I thought were racist or sexist. I've also seen him seek out the one AfricanAmerican guy on a charter boat to smoke and have a conversation with, heard him tell how he met his wife in a way that would make the Sleepless in Seattle screenwriters race for their laptops. If you say to him, "You're a good guy;" or "That was a nice thing you did," he's likely to growl, "Don't tell anybody. " I like to think of him as the Redneck with a Heart of Gold. Yeah, I love the guy (don't tell





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that I had never hugged him before, but now it would certainly be okay. In any case, he accepted it totally. Well, mostly to,tally. "Goddamnit," he whispered, leavening any awkwardness with anger, one of the few acceptable male emotions. "It's not fair." He's right. It's not fair people we love die young, and it's not fair we don't tell them we love them before they leave us forever. It's not (air that because they're men and so are we, we feel afraid to hug them when we see them, afraid to show them what they mean to us, afraid to reach out and hold on to that fleeting thing, human warmth and connection. My brother-in-law and I are not alone. In the recent movie Life as a House , a woman asks her husband why he isn't worried that their young sons never hug him, nor he them. His response: "If I worried about everything I ought to be worried about, I'd be you ." As men we've learned to say (and believe): We'll be the sbldiers, the 路 providers, the problem-solvers; we'll leave the expression of emotions-the hugging and crying-to the womenfolk. We may worry, but you'll never see it. We may feel something deep down, in a place we've almost forgotten how to get to , but you'll never know. Putting aside how anachronistic such behavior is in light of changing gender roles-and how unhealthy it is for us-are we really afraid that hugging will make us "gay"? Or worse, that it will make us women? I learned at an early age: Men only hug each other when they've won the World Series. Or the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, or Stanley Cup. Then it's permissible; then it's okay. But only teammates and c::oaches. Any other hugging situations were by definition the domain of sissies and wimps, actors and interior decorators. I grew up knowing this without being told. And not even the relative orgies of hugging in the men's groups I belong

to have entirely cured me of this ingrained hug-o-phobia. I sense it in other men sometimes-even my friends . I seem to know when not to hug. Don't touch-we're not gay, after all! Of course it's not that simple. I tell myself I don't want to make them uncomfortable, and that's true. I tell myself I'm not afraid they'll think I'm gay, and that's true (I think). But then what am I afraid of? A year ago Carl Erikson wrote an article in these pages, "Coming Out: Not for Gay Men Only" (Voice Male Spring 2001) . It strikes me that maybe I haven't fully come out yetnot as gay, but as a man free in my emotions and reactions, free to reach out to men and women and transgendered folk, gay and straight and bisexual, in just the way I choose, the way I authentically feel in the moment, unconstrained by concerns about the perceptions of others regarding my masculinity, my identity. One of the Zen sayings I venerate goes something like "Walk forward or walk back, but don't wobble." That's what the true bodhisattva the enlightened man, does. I'~ not there

yet. I still wobble sometimes, unsure of my actions and motives, uncertain how they'll be received by others. And afraid, above all, of rejection. Sadly, I never hugged my fatherin-law, who surely merited it. (Some men have legitimate reasons not to want to be hugged, such as those who were abused as children.) There may have been other important men in my life whom I should have embraced more fully, physically and otherwise. Now I hug my father every time I see him, even though hugging wasn't really done in my family. And I've now hugged all my brothers-in-law-even the crusty, lovable Redneck with the Heart of Gold, who asks from time to time about my "men's club." I'm not into forcing anything on anybody; not out to try to improve the species. It's me I have to work on, day after day, re-socializing this strange, familiar person slowly and painfully, trying to shed my fear of other men and other people, my own homophobia, my fear of being rejected and shamed-.,.the long sad legacy of male rigidities I was taught. I'm working on it, in my wobbly way, one hug at a time. Other men can think me gay, or just overly men'smovementy; that's okay-I'll take it as a compliment, and come out as a hugger. No, better yet: I'll come out as a man. A freelance writer and editor, Michael Burke is Voice Male~ managing editor.



• Now you can contribute to the MEN'$ RESOURCE CENTER

through COMECC payroll deductions. Call the MRC at (413) 253-9887, ext. 15 for more infonnation.

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Letter to My Father By Kevin Powell

Dear ____




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I haven't heard from you in over 20 years, not since that rainy spring day when my mother and I called you from a drugstore phone booth and asked you for money. You had been woefully negligent, and we desperately needed the extra dollars. I was so happy that we were calling you; as my mother talked, I imagined your finally marrying her and rescuing us from poverty. Maybe, I thought, we will even have our own telephone and a big redbrick house with a backyard, a swimming pool, and a swing set and a slide. When my mother put me on the telephone to say "Hey" to you, I remember that I beamed with joy after you said that you and I would get together again real soon. I gave the receiver back to my mother and returned to my fantasies. But the sudden tremor in my mother's voice and the fury tha] washed the calm from her face snapped me out of my daydream. I learned later that you were accusing her of lying. You were insisting that I was not really your son, and you vowed that you would never give a "near-nickel" to her or me again. My eight-year-old mind wasn't quite sure what a "near-nickel" was, but it sounded like something completely out of reach-like you: I thought about the few moments we'd spent together up to that p_oint. The one or two times I'd ridden with you in your tractor trailer. Loungin' at your cozy, two-story house as you showed me how to play pool. Standing impatiently by your side (I barely came up to your waist) as you pulled a fresh five- or 10-dollar bill from your bulging black wallet and handed it to me. The two trips to Journal Square, Jersey City's shopping district-when you bought me my first Timex watch, and later when you bought me my first bicycle. It didn't matter that I hardly ever saw you, or that I didn't really know you. You were my father, and all those instances, especially when you bought me the bike, had me amped about you. But my mother and you never being married messed me up something awful. I was embarrassed by the fact that I had been born "out of wedlock. " While most of the other

children in my neighborhood also lived in single-parent households, usually run by women, it seemed the other children at least got to see their fathers every week. In fact, some of their fathers regularly participated in their lives, visiting their teachers at school, taking them to ball games, teaching them about manhoodanything. I'd have to push my envy away when I heard boys call their fathers "Dad" or "Pop," or by their first names. I didn't know what to call you, so I never called you by any name. You weren't a constant in my life. Yet your blood runs through me deeply. I have your light-brown complexion, your reddish facial hair, your full lips, your medium height,

saying if she'd been any kind of woman, you, my father, would have married her. I feel sick now just thinking of the things I used to say to her. She, in tum, took out her bitterness on me-with belts and switches, with extension cords, even her bare hands. But my mother was no child abuser. She was a young woman forced to raise a strong-willed male child alone after a man-you-had emotionally decimated her. From the day you dissed her, she told me often that I'd better not grow up to be "no-good" like you. That was my mother's manhood prescription for me: Do not, under any circumstances, be like your father.

and according to my mother, some of your ways. But I've never felt your presence in any meaningful sense, and that has tormented me my entire life. Your absence gave birth to an unbearable pain, so I did many things to avoid facing it. At the beginning of each school year, when teachers would ask the names of our fathers and mothers, I would conveniently give a different name for my father. That name would usually depend on what television show appealed to me at the time. One year it would be "Michael" as in Michael Brady from The Brady Bunch; another year it would be 'James" as in James Evans from Good Times. Of course, most of my teachers knew what was going on, but they never pu me on the spot. I often projected the pain I felt about . lying onto my mother, whom I blamed for your not being in our lives. At first I kept those feelings to myself. But as I got older I would confront my mother, falsely accusing her of driving you away. I'd yell at her,

I was an only child, floating somewhere. in limbo-"inwardly homeless," as bell hooks puts it. I felt not only that you had abandoned me, but that my mother, by virtue of her actions-which were really reactions to your callousness and your irresponsibility -had abandoned me as well. The worst thing a child can feel is that he doesn't have a true home, a place where he feels nurtured in a way that confirms his life. Without that, no matter how "smart" or "talented" that child may be, he is forever subject to bouts of hostility, paranoia, and serious doubts about his place and significance in the world. I mean, if he can't trust his own parents, really whom can he trust? Whom can that child love if he feels he has never been loved by the very people who brought him into the world? Even with you out of the frame for good, I thought about you all the time. When I played baseball and ran track, I wished you were there to cheer me on. All the times I was sexually curious and fumbling around for answers, I wished I had you to talk to. All the times I got into trouble at school or with the police, my mother would get some other man-a cousin, a neighbor, anyone-to scold me. And of course I didn't pay any of those men any attention because, hell, they weren't my father. But neither were you , because you were not there. My life went on, through the

loneliness of high school to my newfound political awareness at Rutgers University, to my ouster from college (I was quite a militant student). Next came a near nervous br:eakdown in my early twenties as I tried to make sense of my manhood and my place in the world. I've been homeless, a womanizer and a woman abuser, a careless lover, a complete jerk to my mother. I've been irresponsible with my finances, and I don't know how many people I've hurt and pushed away from me for fear of their getting too close. How could I allow that kind of intimacy when my experiences as a child said closeness among human beings did not exist? I was merely practicing what I'd learned from you. That's when I truly needed you, my father-a man-to tell me what I was doing wrong, how I could make things right. I needed you to tell me how I, a black boy, could survive in this society which, when it paid any attention to me at all, seemed determined to annihilate me. I wished you were there to show me the way, to chill me out and tell me things were going to be okay. You cannot imagine how many older men, and even men my age, I looked to for answers, only to be disappointed by their shortcomings, perceived or real. ·You scarred me and, as a consequence, I am very hard on men who fall short of my super-high standards. All through my life, I fabricated an idealized father, someone I could malebond with. This imaginary father would be so wise artd strong and in touch with himself that, no matter how hard-core he seemed to be, he could also be gentle with my mother and with me, his son. My TV-addicted mind figured he would be a combination of jimmy Stewart, Clint Eastwood, and Bill Bixby in that show The Courtship of Eddies Father.· My imaginary father would, in a word, be special. To this day I have that imaginary father in my head. As a result, I have a very hard time relating to most men, especially men who do not open up, who are not sensitive. I can't deal with men who are not hone~t with me, who say they're mentors when they really are not, who say they're friends when they're actually rivals, who cannot admit when they're wrong or afraid, who define their maleness only by their "machismo," who run away, as you did, rather than deal with the circumstances they helped to create. I don't think it's a coincidence that most of my closest friends are women. Not that I haven't done a lot of predictable "man things" myself; I have. Yet somehow, thanks to God or whatever higher spirit·exists, I have survived. And somehow; without you,

I've managed to do okay. My childhood dream of being a writer is being fulfilled, and I've learned to look out for myself. I'm also very thankful that I haven't brought any children into the world, because I would not have been prepared, emotionally or financially, to be a father. My curiosity about you hasn't lessened over tiine, although I have never actively sought you out. But I was exhilarated a few years back when my mother told me she'd run into you one morning while waiting for a bus. When she said you asked about me, I bubbled with joy. I wanted to meet you. My mother was perturbed by my reaction, but"she said if she saw you again she'd get your number for me. A few weeks later, she did see you, but when she asked for your number, you told her you didn't have a penciL She then gave you my riumber in New York City. I waited for you to call. Days, then weeks passed. In the interim, I

imagined our meeting, how I was torn . between saying, "It's good to see you," and kicking your ass for leaving my mother and me. But the phone call never materialized, and once again I had to deal' with that old sense of rejection. Even though I was an adult it hurt me greatly. I cried like a baby. The pain was s9 great I couldn't even bring myself to leave my apartment for a few • days. And that phrase, "a near-nickel," reverberated in my brain. I wondered if that was all I was worth to you. That meeting that did not happen was like pouring lighter fluid into a You had burned meagain. And I realized that my entire life I've felt incomplete, empty, because you haven't been there for me. At times, I would somehow rationalize· your absence, and call it fate or divine intervention. But even if those things are true, I cannot escape the fact that I have feelings for you. That you are my father, and that we are connected by blood and· flesh and bone and history. In some dark spot in.the recesses of my

mind, I've got love for you. But to be completely honest, I hate you, too, and I hate that part of myself which is the part of you that abandoned me. How do I resolve that hatred? Especially when it is that hatred of my life that makes me so angry to this day. Can you at least, somewhere in your world, wherever you are, understand that? If I hate you, then I hate myself. And I'm tired of it. My aim is to create a new foundation for my life and to destroy that old foundation-that hatred-no matter what it takes. I pledge to myself that I will never abandon a child the way you abandon.ed me. I can't really say what this letter may do for you , but it is very therapeutic for me. I've needed ·to say these things for a very long time. Whether you actually read these words or not doesn't really matter much. The point is that l'v.e gotten it off my chest, and maybe some father somewhere will think twice about his relationship with his son. Or hi~ daughter. Whether we realize it or not, we are all connected by time and space and circumstances, and my destiny is forever linked to yours. This manhood thing hl;ts been a hard journey, but it Is one I will continue to explore and understand and define as best I can. Sometimes I wonder if I would've been on this kind of search had you been in my life. One can only speculate. As I write this letter, I know that even if I never speak to you for the remainder of your life or mine, or if we never see each other again, I no longer harbor any bitterness toward you. I cannot make you accept me, but your acceptance is no longer relevant to my existence. This has been a long battle for me, one that started in my heart and worked its way through my body and soul. like the churchgoers who "get the spirit," I feel good, real good, about myself and the possibilities of one day becoming the man I wanted you to be.

Your son, Kevin Once seen on MTV's The Real World, Kevin Powell has written for Vi be magazine, coedited In the Tradition (1993), an anthology of young writers, Recognize (1995), a book of poetry, and Keepin' It Real (1997) , a series of letters to various figures in his life. "Letter to My . Father" is edited and excerpted from Gi.a nt

Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers, edited by Kevin Young (HarperCollins/ Perennial, 2001) .

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Fighting Wo.rds: A Challenge to Soudbite Thinking By Michael Dover t's 1988. The Reagan years are drawing to a close, and Vice President George Bush looks vulnerable. Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis, governor of Massachusetts and self-proclaimed author of the "Massachusetts Miracle," are in one of the so-called debates, and it's Dukakis's tum to take a question. "Governor Dukakis," says the reporter, "if Kitty Dukakis [the governor's wife] were raped and murdered, would you want her killer executed? " Dukakis pauses, no noticeable change of expression on his face, then says "No," and proce~ds to give his standard speech on why he is opposed to the death penalty. In November, Dukakis loses the election by a wide margin. A turning point? Maybe, though Dukakis made so many blunders during the campaign it would be hard to specify any single event that might have made a difference. But it stands out as a shining example of how not to talk about public policy. I'm referring not to Dukakis, but to the reporter who asked the question. An appropriate response to this (inappropriate) question might be: "Yes, I probably would, which is why I shouldn't be the one to make that ¡ decision. Because this is a matter of what is best for the state to do, not what will satisfy one person's rage." (Other opponents of the death penalty have answered in precisely this way.) The larger issue is that policy by metaphor is lousy policy. After the S~ptember ll attacks, metaphors and analogies were flying thick and fast. One local columnist likened the terrorists to an abuser in a relationship, deploying this comparison to justify the use of force . When a few voices opposed military action, pro-war advocates characterized them as wanting to "turn the other cheek," as if this were akin to being slapped on the face. When others pointed to aspects of U.S. foreign policy that may have contributed to the rise of terrorism, they were accused of "blaming the victim." And when a flag that had been flown over the ruins of the World Trade Center was raised at the Marine base in Kandahar, Afghanistan, among the words written on the flag by a New Yorker were "It's payback time"more reminiscent of a sports event than ¡ of a human tragedy on a massive scale. During the Vietnam War, when thousands of young men were considering or applying for conscientious objector status, a question similar to that posed to Governor Dukakis was often hurled at them: What would you do if



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someone attacked your (mother, wife, girlfriend, daughter)? I suppose the appropriate answer would be, ''I'd try my best to defend her. I might even fight to kill if I thought I had to. But I wouldn't kill the attacker's mother or wife, or napalm his hometown." But in the climate of that time, I doubt such 'a response would have been understood. There seems to be a pattern here: All these analogies assume that the only reasonable response to violence is more violence-payback. They also assume that what may speak in the moment to our emotions and impulses as individuals-the urge to lash out at personal threats-will work as public policy. And so often, they present the classic man-defending-woman-andfamily stereotype that's supposed to stir the blood and remind us all who's really

in charge when push comes to shove. The movies, American's ongoing mythmaker, repeat this theme: Peace-loving man, driven to the brink by uncompromising evil directed at his loved ones, "finally" realizes that violence is the "only" way and "strikes back. " Think-if you're of a certain age-of Charles Bronson in Death Wish (1974) and its four(!) sequels, and, more recently, of Mel Gibson in The Patriot (2000), to name just two. The main message is that this is what â&#x20AC;˘ we men are really like underneath all that civilized veneer. When the going gets tough, real men hit back. The additional message, though, comes back to the Dukakis story. These analogies, these assumptions about how to respond to acts of personal violence, get used to justify state violence-war and capital punishment, for example. If revenge is the "natural" response to wrongs, why shouldn't that operate at all levels? The trouble is, states and nations aren't individuals. War isn't an immediate visceral reaction to an attack or provocation:

it's carefully planned, rehearsed, budgeted, and managed. When a soldier takes up a weapon, it's because someone decided that he should, not because the soldier flew into a vengeful rage. War is, as the saying goes, an instrument of policy. And so it is with justice. When a crime is committed, an elaborate system of machinery goes into motion, one that is planful, organized, and carefully overseen for adherence to accepted rules and policies. Our hearts rightly go out to the victims of crimes and their families. But we also have a long history of recognizing the rights of the accused and the exercise of due process (it's in the Bill of Rights) . Prosecution and punishment of crimes are not and should not be simple acts of revenge. Vigilantism and lynching can satisfy that craving-but in the past they have often been employed against the powerless, the marginalized, and the politically unpopular. Law, on the other hand, is debated, amended, and voted upon by our representatives, and may be reviewed and modified by judges interpreting it in the light of long-held principles and precedents. It represents to some extent a collective understanding of what constitutes a safe, sane, and fairminded society. Difficult though it may be to explain amidst the shouting and sloganeering, we can talk about alt!!rnatives to violence among nations as well as between people: We can discuss the meaning of justice and ways to achieve it without perpetuating cycles of attack and counterattack. We can examine the question of why, when, or whether the use of military force may be necessary. And we can investigate our prejudices and assumptions that may influence and censor our judgment on matters of life and death. Serious inquiries such as these aren't well served by false analogies or hypermasculine posturing. They need honest, thoughtful human . beings willing to open up to the world as it really is-and can be.

A longtime MRC volunteer, Michael Dover is a facilitator in its support groups and serves as chair of the MRC board.

Domestic Violence Work in Sweden

Women's Peace, Men's Responsibility By Gunnel Sjostedt Karlsson


peration Kvinnofrid-or "Women's Peace," in Swedishbegan in 1996 as a cooperative effort between all the municipalities in the Stockholm region and county authorities like the police, health care, social services, the city of Stockholm, prison and probation authorities, and other organizations (including nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs) to work to end men's violence against women. So far our effort has launched three public campaigns: One directed to women, with pictures only of women, and with messages telling them they are not alone, there is always help, "The worst scars are on the inside," and "A blow at one woman is a crime against all women. " Another is directed to men, with only men in the pictures, and the message that violence against women is men's responsibility. The campaign posters also use the message "A blow against one woman is a cri~e against all women," and "Real men don't hit women." A third is directed to the general public with only children in the pictures. These posters say "Why doesn't anybody ask me, in earnest, how I am?" , "My mother might die! Please, ring the police! ", "I never want to be like Dad!", and "Do I have to see Dad tomorrow?" All these posters bear the words "Men's violence against women also affects children" at the top, and on the bottom, "Combat men's violence against women! Peace for women [Kvinnofrid] is also peace for the children." This last campaign caused an uproar among Swedish men. We received many e-mails and telephone calls, were threatened and called "Nazi feminists" and the like. The interesting thing is that the county governor and the chief of police in the county of Stockholm are both men! They were our best supporters when the medi.a storm was going on. Many men supported the campaign, saying they did not feel attacked, but others thought the campaign was an attack on all fathers. Who was responsible for the posters? Was it a cadre of militant women? Nb, it was a group of professionals-psychologists, psychiatrists, representatives from women's shelters, ~e male network of Stockholm, lawyers, police-both women and men. These people meet children every day who live in families where violence is a part of their daily life.


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"Violence against women is the responsibility of men": from the Swedish campaign Operation Kvinnofrid.

Seeing these reactions, we began to understand why it is so difficult to get men involved in the campaign against gender violence. In Operation Kvinnofrid there are men engaged, but too few. We want more! There is a male network in the police, and one NGO male network in Sweden and one locally in Stockholm that have as one of their goals to help end men's violence against women. But even some of their members were upset by our posters. We think we did right in having provocative messages-but even I, having worked for many years on gender equality issues, was astonished and frightened by the strong reactions and 'hatred we stirred up: Ironically, in previous evaluations Operation Kvinnofrid had

been accused of not being provocative enough. In any case, we're going to continue the struggle to prevent and stop this violence. For the moment, sadly, reports to the police about rape are increasing in the Stockholm region. Incidences of the new crime of violation of integrity (kvinnofridskrankning) are rising. We do not know whether this is due to a real increase, or if women report rape due more to an increased awareness and knowledge about the fact that it is a crime and that help is avaihtble. We continue to invite men and men's organizations to join Operation Kvinnofrid. It must be more a question of sensitivity to and knowledge about the issue of gender violence than . anything else: We who work daily with these questions see more and more how important it is to look at men's situation as well. Men must support men. The formation of men's organizations is very important. That men in words and actions support women when they are being beaten is crucial. That men tell their friends who abuse women that it is not OK is a must. To take action in the schools, with programs for girls and boys to discuss values, is another needed measure. We believe that trying to build a gender-equal society is one way of stopping the violence. Men in families that are gender equal do not hit the women in their lives. But I wonder why so many men become reactive to this issue and take on a sort of collective guilt-when the subject is really only those men who are violent. What kind of message can we put out that would truly make a difference in this issue? There is a catch here: we must be provocative to raise feelings, and since it is the men who are violent we must stir up primarily men's feelings . If we are not provocative, nothing will happen-and then why bother? Is the subject so sensitive that we should not have campaigns at all, but only work with training? Clearly both strategies are needed. Operation Kvinnofrid has two websites, one in English and one in Swedish. They can both be reached via the front web page of the County Administrative Board of Stockholm, 路

Gunnel Sjostedt Karlsson is senior administrative officer in the Gender Equality Division of the County . Administrative Board of Stockholm, Sweden.


Short Shrift By Jeff Kelly Lowenstein




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' ' I 'm tiny," Aidan anno unced plaintively as we sa t down to supper with my wife Dunreith's paren ts. "They measured ~ s at school today I'm the smallest ktdm my class." His shoulders drooped with dejection, and his c~in hovered over the seven circular Ptzza Bttes on hts plate. I hesitated. I remembered all too well how nothing matters more to young boys than size, strength_, and athletic ability W hen I was m seventh grade, my classmates had renamed me "Lowenshort." My powerlessness then to make myself grow taller has rendered all subsequent life disappointments fundamentally unsurprising, because I could not do what I wanted most. I agonized over Aidan's entry into the same troubled territory. Aidan's grandmo ther gazed across the table at him, her eyes filled wtth unadul tera ted love. "Aidan, do you know how much joy yo u gave me when you were born ?" she asked gently, interrup ting my adolescent memories. "I was the first one to hold you as soon as you came out. It was one of the hap piest moments of my life." 路 Aidan's face brightened , as if he had received an uneX'pected gift. "But I'ril still tiny," he z:epeated. 路 "Well , that's why yov should eat your vegetables and exercise, so that you can grow taller," she answered. I took my tu rn. "Aidan, do you remember my friend Sam Mendes from England , who was the second shortest in the class?" He nodded. "And yo u remember the Academy Awards?" He nod ded again. "Last year, at age 34, Sam won an Academy Award, an Oscar, fo r being best director of a movie. " "He was only the second shortest," he snorted dismissively "And who cares about an Oscar anyway?" I chose a topic closer to his heart. "Well Sam does. But anyway, did you know'rhat the greatest soccer player in the world for 10 years, Diego Maradona, was only five feet four inches tall?" "He was only the greatest for lO years?" Aida n asked. "That's nothing." "For some people, 10 yea-rs is a , pretty long time," I said , then played my tru mp card. "Well, there was a very famous man named Napoleo n who conquered large parts of the world. He was only five foot two ." "Yeah, bu t he didn't take over the whole wo rld, did he?" Aidan shot

The author with his son , Aidan.

back. "What about Russia? " My head snapped back as if he had just slapped it. Clearly he had been reading more of Medieval Times to Today in the backseat of our car on the way to school than I had realized . ''I'm not hungry," Aidan finally said, pushing his plate away fr~m him. The single pizza he had bitten mto looked like a small half-moon. "Can I be excused, please?" he asked, then began to cry.

That night, I surfed the Internet . looking for Human Growth Hormone, a hypothetical cousin of Bovine Growth Hormone. In the quiet, I heard him cry out. "Shut up , you idiot! I am not that short! " Aidan's voice cascaded down the stairs to the kitchen where I was working. Dunreith and I rushed upstairs and discovered Aidan tl~rashing abou~ on his bed, in the grip of a nightmare. She lay down with him, cooing and soothing him, and he became still again. I picked Aidan up at school the next day, the door opening to release a stream of eight-year-olds with limbs

and bodies that had exploded like f overgrown weeds since the previous I school year. Standing decidedly r shorter than many, if not all, of his classmates, Aidan walked toward the car. "Can we go to theY, Dad?" he asked for the first time. "I want to exercise." We drove the 35-minute ride to the YMCA in silence. Once at our destination Aidan marched purposefully upstairs to the Youth Fitness Room. He strode over to the 路 stationary bicycle and chose the "Appalachian Ascent" course. Ai~an _ pedaled furiously, arparently hopm~ against hope that wtth each push he d be getting taller. Much as I knew that Aidan's pedaling and weightli~ting would not add a single incl:t to hts slender frame, I did not want to strip him of his hope. Not yet. I also -wanted to le_ave intact his illusion that the world m front of him is the world entire. Eighteen months into being a full-time, I have learned about the ways in which our children's pa_ssage through the same ground we have . previously trod inevitably tngge:s dtm and dusky memories that often JOlt us with their -power. Our task as parents is to sift through those memories, use them to relate to our children, and allow them to use our memories and experiences as lanterns as they make their own paths. In so doing, they shine a light for us to understand our pasts , and our present. Aidan finished his workout and we drove home after he "accidentally" purchased a Kit Kat bar instead of Honey Roasted Peanuts. The air inside the car was peaceful as Aidan's fatigue and sweat mingled with his satisfaction at having begun his epic growth quest. "Hey, Aidan," I said. "I was pretty short as a kid, too. I didn't like it either." His face flared in anger for a minute, then he relaxed. "It's a good thing I'm small and fast at rec~ss." He smiled. "These kids were chasmg me, but they never caught me. And I used my size to dodge them." We caught each other's eye in the rear view mirror. At dinner that night he told us about a friend who was even shorter than he is. Then he said the Pizza Bites tasted better than usual.

jeff Kelly Lowenstein is a freelance writer living in Easthampton, Mass.

Men's Health Goes Mainstream By Peter Baker hree hundred delegates from around the world attended the First World Congress on Men's Health last November in the Austrian capitol of Vienna. Speakers addressed a wide range of issues, including prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, osteoporosis, "andropause," HIV infection, and heart disease; the health of gay men; and strategies to improve the overall health of men. At times it seemed as if there were two events running in parallel. On one hand, there were traditional presentations about clinical issues that demonstrated little awareness of the importance of psychosocial and gender issues in men's health. On the other hand, there were a number of presentations from men's health advocates, mostly from nonclinical backgrounds, focusing on the importance of new genderIssues such as prostate cancer have propelled men's health sensitive approaches to working into the global mainstream as a serious topic. with men outside of the hospital or clinic. As yet, the two "sides" remain outside of a health care system have not begun to integrate their that fails to meet their needs. approaches. However, the fact that There are, however, some both were able to listen to and learn encouraging signs of change. Several from each other at the Congress governments have now recognized suggests that the foundation is being that men's health requires greater put in place to develop strategies and attention. In the United Kingdom, the interventions that could mean that the minister for public health has publicly term "men's health" will soon no stated her interest in improving men's longer seem to be a contradiction. health. In the U.S., Congress Men generally experience poorer established an annual National Men's health than women, and have a Health Week in 1994, providing an decreased life expectancy compared opportunity for hospitals, clinics, with women, experts say. In addition, military bases, and houses of worship prostate and testicular caricer rates are to hold men's health education events. increasing; male fertility may be in Organizations such as the Men's decline; and male sexual dysfunction, Health Forum in England and Wales including erectile dysfunction (ED), is and the Men's Health Network in the common. The male suicide rate greatly U.S. are lobbying to introduce maleexceeds the rate for females. Men also friendly health policies and to develop tend to take excessive risks with their their own health promotion initiatives. health: many drink excessively, smoke, Both organizations are heavily practice unsafe sex, and drive involved in promoting Men's Health dangerously. They are also less likely Week in their respective countries. to seek medical advice if they are The World Congress on Meri's unwell, and tend to see a doctor later Health was the first attempt to bring in the course of an illness .compared together individuals interested and with women. involved in men's health from a wide In addition, the psychosocial aspects range of backgrounds, including of male health are still not accepted or general practitioners, urologists, even understood by many health epidemiologists, policymakers, health practitioners and policymakers. More promotion specialists, health advocates effective treatments for male-specific working for non-governmental diseases (as well as other diseases that organizations, and many others. particularly affect men) are vital, but Speakers from around the globethe impact of treatment will remain from Nigeria, Russia, southeast Asia, limited so long as the majority of men Northern Ireland, arid Australia, to


name a few-presented information illustrating the extent of men's health problems worldwide, including AIDS, lower life expectancy, smoking, sexually transmitted diseases, and poor access to and male resistance to health care. Peggy Maguire of the European Institute of Women's Health in Brussels asserted the importance of gender equity in health, but pointed out that little attention has so far been paid to the impact of gender on men's health. Although being a man might seem advantageous, she said, the very nature of masculinity can cause health-related problems. For example, because men may perform more physically challenging jobs in the workplace, they are at increased risk for work-related accidents. Maguire also suggested that men exhibit risk-taking behaviors such as smoking an~ excessive drinking in order to prove their masculinity. The pressure to appear "hard" can mean that many men are unable to realize their emotional potential, and a fear of appearing weak can prev'e nt them from seeing a doctor. She concluded by advocating that men and women work together on gender and health issues-to exp"lore, for example, how men can be freed from their rigidly defined social roles. Doing so would allow for an exchange of crucial information, and would facilitate developing gendersensitive health policies and practices that will benefit everyone. Ian Banks, from the newly established European Men's Health Forum in London, and a general practitioner based in Northern Ireland, pointed out that men with health problems are more likely than women to have had no recent contact with a doctor, regardless of income or ethnicity. This reluctance to seek treatment means that men often do not obtain medical attention until a disease has progressed. Malignant melanoma provides a good illustration of this typical delay: deaths from the disease are SO percent higher in men than in women, despite a SO percent lower incidence of the disease in men. Banks stated that the health profession bears a substantial responsibility for this delay. Training in medical school has been imbued continued on page 21


Eavesdropping on Bi and Gay Husbands and Wives

What's Love Got to Do with It? By Carl Erikson elationship. What does it mean for any two people? What can it possibly mean for gay and bisexual husbands and their wives, except tension and unhappiness? Its meaning-and the inspiring wisdom developed by gay-bi husbands and their wives in their struggle toward meaning-is revealed in a new book, Bisexual and Gay Husbands: Th eir Stories, Thei r Words, edited by Fritz Klein and Thomas Schwartz (see review on page 22). The book consists mainly of e-mail postings for and from married bisexual and gay men. It is a fascinating eavesdrop on these men and, indirectly, on their wives, talking about and searching for the elements of relationship that will allow their ' lives to be fulfilling and supportive. In the e-mails, they ask themselves and others the most basic questions about real relationship , questions that society (read family, friends, advertising, "common sense," religion, tradition) seemingly turned away from eons ago: • What actions and intentions make a relationship valuable to me? What · is a real threat to this value? Who's more important in this relationship, me or society? • Is love really monogamous? Can I love more than one person? Can I feel loved by my partner who also loves someone else? • Are there rights and freedoms for each of us in this relationship? Is this relationship the core and support of our lives as individuals or does it circumscribe and supersede them? • Is sex the dominant measure of our relationship or is it just one of many valued expressions of it? • Does opr relationship nurture and support the growth and expression, the life, of each of us as human beings or are we pickled in our personal pasts? These questions are not easy. They are made even less easy by society's arguing strenuously, first, that these are not legitimate questions, and second, that whatever answers we find will likely be irrational or immoral and in any event dangerous to society. In spite of these difficulties, many bisexual and gay husbands, with their wives, apparently find answers to these questions, to judge from Klein and Schwartz's book. The answers come from understanding their feelings for each other and how their relationship nurtures those feelings. The only uniformity is that there is not one answer to any one of the questions.



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Each answer expresses the being of each partner and the value their par.ticular relationship has for them. What makes a relationship? Bisexual and gay husbands and their wives seem to say, "Look more deeply into your relationship and identify what the relationship is really ·about and what gives you its real value. Then, work to enhance and protect these core items. Leave the other issues to settle themselves, ignoring what society seeks to impose." When partners do not select identical or at least compatible core items, can relationship be anything more than

just a form , and simply defending that form the limit of the relationship? Is love monogamous?' Partners who consider this question honestly often say, "The question ignores human realities." We each know we can and have loved more than one person at a time. The real question, then, is: How much love for other people by my partner am I willing to let into our relationship? When I feel loved by my partner and the relationship is satisfying me, what do I gain by denying my partner opportunities to express other loves he has? What are the rights and freedoms in relationship? The husbands and wives quoted in Bisexual and Gay Husbands refuse to see relationship wholly, or even mostly, in terms of obligations and prohibitions. They see, above all, the humanness of the particular people in the relationship and the reality and value of their desires, needs, and energies. Only when a relationship allows and

supports these is there intimacy between two people-that is, the relationship has real value to them. The e-mails in this book reveal couple after couple who have managed to put this freedom into their relationship. Is sex the dominant measure of the quality of the relationship? Many of the couples we're eavesdropping on have ultimately found that sex 'is bu t one of many valuable ways thei r love and relationship express themselves. This broader understanding of the relationship, particularly by the wife, often allows sexual relations by the husband with a man to enter the relationship. Does relationship foster growth? One factor that defines the marriages of bisexual and gay men in which their sexuality is accepted is that the relationship allows and encourages the growth and expression of both the husband and wife. Almost constantly from these relationships comes the refrain, "Our relationship is now so much better than it was before we dealt with all this." Even when these marriages end, the attention to the growth of both parties often produces more mature and confident people and a supportive (although not married) relationship. Probably FlO issue will challenge a marriage relationship as severely as the husband coming out as gay or bisexual. It is important to remember that a large number of such marriages do end, bitterly or regretfully, as a result of this revelation. But this is not the inevitable result. A quite different outcome occurs when the husband and wife together are able to examine relationship, and their relationship in particular, and choose to use their individualities to redefine it. This moving of relationship from a social abstraction defined by obligations and prohibitions to an interaction of individualities would, no doubt, benefit everyone in a relationship of any kind.

Carl Erikson is the Mens Resource Centers director of operations, and a writer and textile artist.



AIDS (413) 586-8288 support groups people living with AIDS Project of (802) 254-4444 services, includi



For more information or new entries contact us at (413) 253-9887 Ext. 10


Noon - 2 p.m. l ast Sunday of each month March 31 • April 28 • May 26




The MRC provides bagels, cream cheese, and coffee. Pot-luck dishes are welcome. For Information: 413 253-9887 Allan Arnaboldi, Ext. 10.



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Coming to Terms with White Responsibility for Racist Violence

My People? By Pat McGann Editor's Note: While "Color Lines" is normally written by a person of color, in this issue the author is white. just as the column is not intended only for readers of color, the subject matter that follows , written by a white male ally, is intended to furth er interracial dialogue. We welcome your comments.

t was the white people in the photos got to me most. I that Neil, the director of community education at our organization, Men Can Stop Rape, had been searching the Web for images of lynching to use in our Men of Strength (MOST) Clubs to link racial oppression with sexism and sexual violence. He had found a site consisting of almost a hundred postcards. After viewing them, I didn't sleep well for the next two nights. Even though I grew up in the Southwest, which was as guilty of beating and hanging black men as any other part of the country, where white people saying "nigger" was once as common as cornbread and jalapenos, lynching remained a vague historical fact in my mind-something horrible, yes, but emotionally distant from me. Previously in our workshops, when I spoke about dehumanization as the source of sexual violence and linked it to racist violence by claiming, "It's much easier to beat, to whip, to lynch people if you see them as three-fifths of a human being," I knew I strongly believed what I was saying, but I'm not sure how strongly I felt it. Although many of the photos have that washed-out sepia tint so familiar in old pictures, the images' age becomes irrelevant. In some instances, a single black man, beaten and bloodied, eyes shut, hangs from a tree, .a pole, or an archway; in others, two or three men inhabit the picture, their necks bent at odd angles where the rope holds them. In some pictures, no bystanders are present or only a few white people are, looking up, sticking close to the hanged

man; in others, they flow outside the edges of the photo, hordes of white faces-men, women, children-some looking up, others staring straight at the camera, many happy to be seen, to be documented. Written on the back of a postcard with a picture of Allen Brooks, who was lynched in 1910 in Texas, the state where I spent much of my youth, is this note: "Well, John, -This is a token of a great day we had in Dallas, March 3, a negro was hung for an assault on a three year old girl. I saw this on my noon hour. I was very much in the bunch. You can see the negro hanging on a telephone pole." 路 On the back of another, the photo taken from a May 16, 1916, lynching in Waco, Texas: "This is the Barbecue we had last night my picture is to the left

look anymore."

with a cross over it your son joe." In the writing and the images, there's not only a sense of spectacle, of participating in a carnival-like event, there's also an impression of justice, of moral "rightness": people posing with the evil they have rectified. It's stunning to me that it wouldn't have occurred to them that they might be seen as evil, given the violence they had either just committed or condoned,. There is something so terrifying in the

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pleasure of white people at a lynching; it rattles my bones, makes my chest hurt. And I can barely wrap my head around the fact that they felt it was perfectly acceptable to mail a postcard to relatives and friends with images of the violence, as though they were sending pictures of a picnic or some other everyday social event. As I went through the postcards on the web site, clicking to bring the next one up, I would think, I can't look at this, I can't


on-line. Just go to our website at www.mensresourcecenter. org and click on "Donate Now." It's that simple. (If you prefer to mail a check. send your tax-deductible contribution to MRC, 236 No. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002.)

I have often heard Neil, who is African American, talk about "his people." Looking at the whites on the postcards, I wonder, Are these "my people"? My immediate answer is, No, of course not. I've rejected everything they stand for. But I'm uncomfortable with that quick and easy response, just as I'm uneasy about suggesting I'm free of the negative, destructive influences of traditional masculinity. I might have thought I understood fairly well how the legacy of racist violence affects racial relations todayhow, for instance, lynching is tied to "the black brute lurking in the dark" and what jacquelyn Dowd Hall calls the "Southern rape complex." But now I'm not so sure I really understand-especially if feelings are considered part of comprehension. At Men Can Stop Rape we do an exercise called "Feeling It" to help people experience the emotional reality of sexual violence. After seeing these postcards, I realize a need 'to better grasp the emotional realities of racist violence, to work more at "feeling it." And I need to come to terms with how "my people" are part of that emotional reality, to remember where and what they have done and what made them capable of doing it, to work against forgetting those white faces staring into the camera. Pat McGann is director of outreach for Men Can Stop Rape (MCSR) , the Washington, D.C.-based organization providing training and workshops in the D.C. area and around the U.S. You can contact MCSR at pmcgann@ mencanstoprape.orgl; (202) 265-6530; or The postcards mentioned in the article appear in "Without Sanctuary " on the journal E web site, html.

Reaching Up for Manhood By Richard E. Cookson "Mentoring is a critical activity that can help support children and can make the difference between a child succeeding or failing. It is my belief that the most powerful force in a childs life is a caring adult and that we must get involved personally if we are going to change the outcomes for those children who face the most difficulties." -

Geoffrey Canada

Reaching Up for Manhood (1998) hrough the Men's Resource Center's Young Men of Color Project, I've had the opportunity to mentor young men of color in the A Better Chance (ABC) program. Along the way, I've also been able to learn much about manhood . The MRC is a progressive organization with a focus on breaking down and exploring the social enigmas of masculinity. It's helped me to move away from false images of manhood-the Marlboro Man, the . tough street thug, the sexist "man's rnan"-and move closer to becoming a real man. The ABC program satisfies many of mY o~ aspirations about manhood as well as my desire to be a mentor to youhg 'rnen of color. Working with African-American students at Amherst Regional High School, I've been placed in a leadership role among many impressionable minds, and I hope I'm making a difference in their lives. At first I felt apprehensive about whether I could still relate to them. But soon I knew a connection had been made. Most of these kids grew up in rough neighborhoods and were the topachieving students in their !:!Chools. They were very articulate about how it feels to be a young man of color. Many of their reactions were parallel to mine. Since the spring of 2001, the MRC's Young Men of Color Project has brought a group of these young men to the MRC each week for open discussions about their positions in and attitudes toward society: The group looks at ways to break down racial barriers and to uncover better ways of dealing with them . .Some topics we've covered include "Closing the Gap Between Men and Women of.Color," "Interracial Dating: White Women," and "journeys to a Healthy Manhood: Stepping Outside the Box." Negative stereotypes about young men of color are pervasive in American society: One of the aims of the group is to challenge these stereotypes by going against the "norm," thus shattering preconceived notions so many ignorant minds. After sitting in on many meetings, it's clear these young men are pioneers and social activists in


(predominantly white) Amherst, Massachusetts. They are breaking down negative stereotypes whi,le still being themselves here in the community. As a young African-American male living in a society where I am often viewed as the suspect in a crime, a victim of racial profiling, or having assumptions made that I care nothing about academics (but only about athletics), it feels unbearable sometimes. These negative stereotypes could drive anyone insane. As a teenager, I needed someone to talk to. Since my parents couldn't be there for me 24 hours a day; it was the mentors who made a special connection with me. Through them, I began to realize the true power of rnentoring and bonding. When I was a young, rebellious

adolescent, I actually thought it was · cool to be one of the "tough guys." I would front off as if I didn't care about anything-whether it was my grades, sports, or music. I would purposely deny the fact that I was in the accelerated classes, or hide my ability to play an instrument just to fit into the crowd. It just wasn't cool, the talents I had. Then I wo].lld go to recreational centers or to orchestra rehearsal and find myself actually listening to the coaches or counselors there. They pulled me aside and hammered the notion into my head that "You don't have to be a· thug to be 'tough.' It comes from being a leader and standing out from the crowd that shows character." That idea stuck with me," and has really shaped who I am today. The bonding experiences between my mentors and rn,e gave me the direction and confidence I needed to be a leader, which in the end made me a real "tough guy.'' Since the MRC's atmosphere is· relaxed and welcoming, the group discussions are open and all of us can express our heartfelt emotions. Some

issues may not make everyone feel comfortable. A critical moment occurred when we discussed interracial datingespecially dating white women. When Mr. Harris introduced the topic, the whole roorn-26 men-fell silent for several minutes. The issue is very sensitive for both African-American men and women, and especially for black male high school students attending a predominantly white school. Finally the opinions started corning out: "Some brothers date white women as a symbol of success." "Sisters always feel that we are being taken away from them, but if they would drop their attitudes, then they would have nothing to complain about." "Hey; since we're young, can n-gaz live?! " "If that person you're dating makes you happy, then what's the big deal?" "Why isn't it such a big deal when a black woman dates ·a white man, but when the scenarios are reversed, there's turmoil?" Many· of the young men in the room said they either would date or had dated white women and felt no shame about it. Since the meetings are exclusively for young men of color, subjects such as incarceration, voting empowerment, and dating can be discussed freely: These are issues if left unaddressed could be detrimental to their growth and development. But talking them out, gaining some knowledge of how the systerri works, allows them to see begin how the system can operate to benefit theni.. "The idea of youth rnentoring is ·a very powerful one," writes Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., in The Mir:acles of Mentoring. "And there are many ways to bring young people into the circle of rnentoi:ing as mentors." It was instructive having the chance to be a mentor to the young men in the ABC program. I've learired some things about my own manhood from them. With programs such as the Young Men of Color group·, the links in the chain of mentoring \\jll never be broken.

· Richard E. Cookson is a student in the Commonwealth College Honors Program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a concentration in legal studies and economics. He aspires to be a lawyer.


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Peeling the Onion: Healing Our Righteous Anger.. .


By Charlie Hertan he day before Thanksgiving, I'm driving around thinking about my mother. Tomorrow, a friend and I are meeting at her nursing home for a ritual to mark her decision to quit smoking. These days I have mostly pleasant thoughts about my mom, so I'm surprised when a troubling memory begins to arise. Actually, it's spellbinding. I focus on the memory and the feelings around it: fear, anger, horror, a kind of electric excitement that comes from having all these powerful feelings at once; and detachment, a sense of unreality that sweeps over my mind and numbs my body. I'm having a traumatic flashback. Luckily, after 26 years of working on this, I know what's going on and what to do about it. Specialists have used the "onion" metaphor to describe the process of healing from childhood trauma. The experience of sexual or physical abuse, emotional abuse or neglect has many layers. Many survivors have believed their healing to be complete, only to discover new layers of traumatic thoughts, feelings, or memories that still had a lot of "juice" and needed attention. When I was l2 years old, my mother was reading me a from an autobiographical passage she'd just · written. I remember that she read it quite dramatically, and the essence had to do with her triumph over adversity. At one point, with no special emphasis, she read the following line: "I took a razor blade and slit my wrists and ankles .... " Then she just continued on with · the story. This felt incredibly incongruous, because in my gut a 100megaton bomb had exploded. As my minsf began spinning, I could only say, "Really?" "Mm hm," shEt answered, in the same matter-of-fact, almost proud tone. What I couldn't tell her, of course, was how it felt to hear this. I felt completely numb, frozen and terrified-feelings too overwhelming for a child to articulate. A child needs enormous support and help to get through such an experience intact, but clearly, I was supposed to be the one supporting and congratulating her for overcoming such adversity and writing about it. (I suspect this is why my unconscious unearthed this memory just when I was thinking about an upcoming ceremony honoring my • mother's struggle.) How could I share my feelings with someone who had such little regard for my 12-year-old emotional safety? I'd long since learned that my mother's





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pain and needs were so deep and overwhelming that mine could never compete. I had no right to feel sad, scared, hurt, lonely or abandoned, since the horrors she'd suffered seemed so much worse than my childish experiences. I had learned very well to stuff my needs and feelings in order to be the perfect little listener/helper for my mother. What else did I feel at that moment? Panic. Anxiety. A sick feeling of dread, knowing that my mother had done this to herself. One traumatic sensation is seared into me, so that I feel it fresh even as I write this: a horizontal swath of heat energy, like sympathy pains, radiates across the underside of my wrists and the tops of my ankles, where I" imagine the cuts were. This is accompanied by a feeling of dissociating, getting light-headed and leaving my body, entering a lonely

netherworld of intense, horrible, electrifying, yet somehow unreal sensations. I don't know which was worse: the horror of having to carry this unbearable knowledge-Was she crazy? What else had she done? Was she going to kill herself? Was I safe with her?-or the horror of feeling absolutely alone, tainted , set apart from everyone. I felt sure I' had to carry this secret myself: there was no one in my life who wanted to hear this or could have dealt with it, and besi~es , if I told my father, would he ever let me visit my mother again? So I took the only safe option I could see, but it came with a terrible price tag-I kept it locked up inside my dungeon of childhood trauma. Two other feelings surface only now, as I pull this memory up again. One is incredible sadness that a person I loved so much could feel so self- · hating and desperate as to do this to herself. If I had been with a safe, nurturing adult when I heard this story, perhaps I could have done the

natural thingjust cried. The other newfound · feeling is righteous anger: "How dare you expose a vulnerable child to such talk? Don't you have any idea what effect this will have on his self-esteem, his sense of security, his . fragile, emerging manhood and sexuality, his still very deep inner need for a protective, strong, comforting, understanding mother?" A voice in me · screams out, "Mom, how, the hell could you do this to me?" These words and feelings have emerged only now, when I carry inside . me the strong, nurturing, protective inner parent I've finally become for my own inner child. In my work with survivors, both men and women have told me early on, "I don't have any anger (toward my abuser)." Paradoxically, such statements often conceal a mother (or father) -lode of repressed anger. A survivor who has truly integrated his anger will typically phrase it in much different language, such as "I've come to terms with my anger," "put it in context," or, better yet, "I'm working on it. " In order to get to that point, . they may report that they went through a period of one to three years during which "I was so mad at him (or her) , I couldn't stand to be near him." A wise elder once told me, "You can't renounce a feeling you've never had." Feeling one's survivor anger in all its depth, intensity, and "ugliness" is a prerequisite to coming to terms with it. Otherwise, rage that stems from past trauma often ends up getting misplaced onto innocent others (or one's selO in the present, with tragic effect. ' The powerful feelings associated with trauma are not something we simply "work through" and leave bc:hind. If a combat veteran saw his best friend die in battle, we wouldn't expect him to just "get over it" and "move on." The path of recovery is a lifelong spiritual quest, leading to deeper healing over time. People of inner courage begin this journey by trying to heal, make sense of, acknowledge, and transform their trauma in some meaningful way. This doesn't mean they cease feeling the pain-or the anger. Rather, they integrate the experience as part of

themselves: they mourn, they grow, they rage, and they heal, never forgetting the past, but not letting their lives stay frozen there either. Anger isn't a dirty word; it's a very natural and valuable emotion. But !\Urvivors, because of the nature of t\leir experience, are often radically d"sconnected from their own justifiable anger. They've learned from their abusers that f.t's unsafe to show it, so they stuff it. They've learned that no one in their lives is able to deal with it-or is even there for them at all-so they don't try to express it. They've never seen even the most responsible and "clean" forms of anger, so they fear it when it comes out, and may suffer flashbacks or even dissociate. Our unconscious minds are powerful teachers, with a great deal of wisdom. When the unconscious knows that" we're ready to heal a particular trauma, it sends us a message via memory, flashback, or dream. Once we can deeply acknowledge, feel, make sense of, and safely share the total experience of the trauma, it becomes digested or integrated. The memory still hurts, but it's known, put in context, has a little less "juice." Most important, it no longer commands the power to make us act destructively toward ourselves or others. Another layer of the onion has been stripped away, leaving us closer to reclaiming wholeness. I

Charlie Hertan, LICSW, is a frequent contributor to Voice Male.

Men & Health continued from page 15

with a traditional male culture that makes it harder for physicians, both male and female , to empathize with their male patients. Primary care clinics may also be male-unfriendly places. The reception staff is often female and most have little men's路 health information on display. There is a crying need to change the way health services present themselves to men. Simon Wright, from the United Kingdom Gay Men's Health Network, argued that work on gay men's health should be developed beyond HIV. The evidence clearly shows that gay men experience poorer health in a number of areas, including increased rates of suicide, self-harm, problems with alcohol and drug use, smoking, and a wide range of other mental and sexual health problems. Gay men's health cannot be improved just by distributing leaflets in gay bars. What is needed is a much more sophisticated understanding of the effects of homophobia, including the damage done to some adolescent gay men in schools and within the family. Situations in which gays are denied the legal rights granted to other citizens must also be considered. After the effects of homophobia are better understood, this expanded knowledge must then be transmitted to all health

professionals. The First World Congress on Men's Health was a profoundly significant event. That it happened and that it attracted so much interest from a large and diverse group of health professionals around the world demonstrated that men's health is becoming a serious, mainstream topic. This develo pment was reinforced by the publication of a路 British Medical journal theme issue on men's health that coincided with the Congress (available online at www.bmj .com/contentlvol323/ issue7320/). The "mainstreaming" of men's health is welcome news indeed to those who at times have felt as if they were doing the work in virtual isolation.

Peter Baker has been a mens public health advocate for more than a decade. He has written for Men's Health Journal and other publications. He is the author (with Mick Cooper) of The MANual: The Complete Man's Guide to Life. For more information about some of the mens health issues mentioned in this column, contact the International Society for Mens Health (ISMH) at its Web site,, or the European Mens Health Forum (EMHF) at joe Zaske will return next issue.

Wilderness Canoe Trips Men


Father & Son (or 01\tf mentoring relationship)

Jul\{ 12..20

Jullf 20--27

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Prostate Tales : M en ~ Experiences with Prostate Cancer By Ross E. Gray Men's Studies Press September 2002 P.O. Box 32 Harriman, TN 37748 Ross E. Gray's Prostate Tales: Experiences with Prostate Cancer vividly portrays men with prostate cancer, bringing their experiences out of the shadows where they usually lie hidden. Drawing on extensive research interviews, Gray, co-director of the Psychosocial &: Behavioral Research Unit at the Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Center and assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Toronto, uses stories and drama to recount men's sorrows, crises, struggles, challenges, and triumphs with this quintessential male condition. In the process he presents a strong visceral Men~

Bisexual and Gay Husbands: Their Stories, Their Words Edited by Fritz Klein, M.D., and Thomas Schwartz 505 pages. 2001. Paper, $29.95 Harrington Park Press

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Bisexual and Gay Husbands is an immense collection of lightly edited e-mails from 350 bisexual and gay married men. It provides a fascinating look into the issues these men, and their wives, deal with and the effective and productive responses many of the couples work out to the enormous challenges they face. Every question or hope or situation that a bisexual or married gay man might encounter is put "on the table" in these e-mail exchanges with remarkable honesty and grace. The editors have presented thee-mails "in threads." A thread starts with an e-mail asking a question or raising an issue and then unspools with the responding e-mails. This enables the reader to move through many of the shapes and shadows of a subject with a minimum of confusion. The result is that the reader gains a sense of substance that a mere collection of e-mails would not provide. To preserve the confidentiality of the writers, the editors could simply have stricken their names from the text. Instead, they gave each man a fictional name which is always attached to his e-mails. This

connection to the social realities of prostate cancer and reveals how it affects men in profoundly different ways. Gray's areas of expertise include men's health, qualitative methods, psycho-oncology, and research-based draina. His book is not sentimental; it aims to tell stories that feel true, that honor the courage, humor, and strength of individual men while not hiding from everyday realities including fear, depression, and confusion. Although Prostate Tales is primarily for men with prostate cancer and their families and friends , health professionals will also find it helps them better understand ill men. Further, it is a must-read for anyone interested in innovative approaches to education and the effective communication of research findings. Prostate Tales will be published in September 2002 by the Men's Studies Press, phone (423) 369-2375, fa x (423) 369-1125, www.mensstudies or doyle@

lets the reader gradually get to know many of the writers with a fullness that adds meaning and importance to the men's thoughts, questions, and experiences. The e-mails in the book were culled from approximately 3,000 postings. Most, but not all, of the men are from the United States. Most of the writers are highly educated, many with advanced degrees, and they come from every stage of the bisexual and gay husband situation, from the man who is struggling with his sexuality for the first time to the man who has been out to his wife for decades and with her has established a fully supportive relationship. At several points, e-mails from wives 路are included, adding further and confirming perspectives to a "thread." Although this is a collection of writings and could easily be read in any order, I chose to read it top to bottom, probably out of habit. This made the "threads" organization of the book very effective for me and gave added impact as I came to additional e-mails from the same men. Bisexual and Gay Husbands is a wonderful window into a largely unknown world in which there is much anguish-but also, we discover, a large amount of humane wisdom and action. - Carl Erikson

MRC SUPPORT GROUP PROGRAMS . Open Men's Group- 7-9 p.m. Sunday evenings at the MRC Amherst office, Tuesday evenings 6:45-8:45 p.m. at the Council on Aging, 240 Main St., Northampton. A facilitated drop-in group for men to talk about their lives and to support each other. · Men Who Have Experienced Childhood Abuse and Neglect- Specifically for men who have experienced any kind of childhood abuse or neglect. 7-8:30 p.m. Friday evenings at the MRC. · Gay, Bisexual, & Questioning 7-9 p.m. Monday evenings at the MRC. Discussion group on issues of sexual orientation. · GBQ Brunch- Last Sunday of the month, Noon- 2 p.m. at the MRC. FATH ERING PROGRAMS A variety of resources are available -Fathers and Family Network monthly workshops, lawyer referrals, parenting guidance, workshops, educational presentations and conferences. Group and individual counseling for new and expectant, separated/divorced, gay; step, adoptive and other fathers/father figures . YOUTH PROGRAMS · RadioActive Youth (RAY): Monthly youth radio show on WMUA (91.1 FM); third Monday each month at 5:30p.m. · Young Men of Color Leadership Project, Amherst · Young Men's Leadership DevelopmenUViolence Prevention, Holyoke & Northampton. MEN OVERCOMING VIOLENCE (MOVE) MRC state-certified barterer intervention program serves both voluntary and court-mandated men who have been physically violent or verbally/emotionally abusive. Fee subsidies available. · Basic Groups: Groups for self-referred (20 weeks) and courtmandated (40 weeks) men are held in Amherst, Athol, Ware, Springfield, and Greenfield. · Follow-up: Groups for men who have completed the basic program and want to continue in their recovery are available in Northampton and Amherst. · Partner Services: Free phone support, resources, referrals and weekly support groups are available for partners of men in the MOVE program. · Prison Groups: A weekly MOVE group is held at the Hampshire



County jail and House of Corrections. · Community Education and Training: Workshops and training on domestic violence and clinical issues in barterer intervention are available. · Speakers' Bureau: Formerly abusive men who want to share their experiences with others to help prevent family violence are available to speak at ~c ho ols and human service programs.

WORKSHOPS AND TRAINING Available to colleges, schools, human service organizations, and businesses on topics such as "Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response," "Strategies and Skills for Educating Men," "Building Men's Community," and "Challenging Homophobia," among other topics. Specific trainings and consultation available. PUBLICATIONS · Voice Male: Published quarterly, the MRC magazine includes articles, essays, reviews and resources, and services related to men and masculinity. · Children, Lesbians, and Men: Men's Experiences as Known and Anonymous Sperm Donors, a 60-page manual which answers the questions men have, with first-person accounts by men and women "who have been there." RESOURCE AN D REFERRAL SERV IC ES Information about events, counselors, groups, local, regional and national activities, and support programs for men.

Interested In A Men's Resource Center Speaker? A Workshop or Training? Contact Carl Erikson at (413) 253-9887

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RESOURCES Men's Resources Resources tor Gay, Bisexual and Questioning Men (on page 17} The American Cancer Society (413) 734-6000 Prostate support groups, patient support groups, nutritional supplements, dressings and supplies, literature, low-cost housing, and transportation. Brattleboro Area AIDS Project (802) 254-4444; free, confidential HIV/AIDS services, including support, prevention counseling and volunteer opportunities. Children's Aid and Family Service (413) 584-5690 Special needs adoption services. Counseling for individuals, families and children, with a play therapy room for working with children. Parent aid program for parents experiencing stress. HIV Testing Hotline (800) 750-2016 Interfaith Community Cot Shelter 582-9505 (days) or 586-6750 (evenings) Overnight shelter for homeless individuals- 123 Hawley St., Northampton. Doors open at 6 PM. Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) (800) 749-6879 Referrals available for 12-step groups throughout New England. TRY Resource/Referral Center for Adoption Issues Education and support services for adoptees, adoptive parents, professionals, etc. Support group meetings first Wednesday and third Sunday of each month. Ann Henry- (413) 584-6599.

Internet Resources


Men's Resource Center of Western Massachusetts:

Achilles Heel (from Great Britain): /issues.html

National Men's Resource Center National calendar of events, directory of men's services and a listing of books for positive change in men's roles and relationships. The Men's Issues Page: 100 Black Men, Inc.: Pro-feminist men's groups listing: Pro-feminist mailing list: /profem.html Pro-feminist men's FAQ: Violence statistics: Homophobia and masculinities among young men: homophobia.html

At Home Dad: /athomedad The Fathers Resource Center: National Fatherhood Initiative: The Fatherhood Project: www.

XY:men , sex politics (from Australia): /xyintro.htm Ending Men's VIolence Real Men: The Men's Rape Prevention Project: Quitting Pornography, Men Speak Out: /quitporn.html

Volunteers Needed AIDS CARE/ Hampshire County (413) 586-8288 Help make life easier and friendlier for our neighbors affected by HIV or AIDS. Men are especially needed. Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Hampshire County We are looking for men to be Big Brothers in the Hampshire County area. Big Brothers act as mentors and role models to boys who need a caring adult friend. To learn more about being a Big Brother, call (413) 253-2591 . Planned Parenthood of Western Massachusetts 413 732-2363 Outreach volunteers wanted to help distribute information about Planned Parenthood's services, promote safe sex practices, and rally support for pro-choice legislation at various events. Men's Resource Center (413) 253-9887 Distribution, ad sales and mailings for Voice Male, general office work, special projects, etc. Flexible schedules. ·

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IS THIS YOU? • · • • • • • • • •

• • •

Do you call your wife or girlfriend names? Do you put her down and make her feel bad about herself? Are you extremely jealous? Do you control what she does, and whom she sees and talks to? Have you ever made angry or threatening gestures toward her? Have you ever verbally threatened her? Have you ever punched the wall or destroyed possessions in anger? Have you ever hit or slapped her or the children? Do you tell her it's "her fault" that you behave the way you do?

• •


If you or someone you know can answer "Yes" to any of these questions you or they may have a problem with abuse. Without help, it could get worse. At Men Overcoming Violence, men can learn to change. Call us to schedule a confidential .a ppointment with one of our trained staff. We can . help ... before it's too late.

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CALENDAR Friday, March ·22 -Sunday, March 24 Nashville, Tennessee American Men's Studies Association lOth Annual Men's Studies Conference "Passing on the History. .. Putting Together the Future." Location: Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Information: American Men's Studies Association, 382 Coyote LaneSE, Albuquerque, NM 87123; Tuesday, April 2 -Friday, May 17 Amherst, Massachusetts The Culture of Violence An exhibition, catalog, film series, and education program which examines the pervasive influence of violence in its various manifestations as reflected in contemporary art and culture. The project hopes to advance community dialogue about this critical topic. Location: University Gallery, UMass, Amherst. Hours: Tuesday .- Friday, 11 :00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Saturday- Sunday, 2:00p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Information: Phone ( 413) 545-3670, www. Thursday, April 11, 7:30 p.m. South Hadley, Massachusetts Globalization, Women's Work in the Garment Industry and Corporate Social Responsibility Bettina Musiolek, a Five College Women's Studies Research Associate from Germany, will analyze the labor situation and working conditions of women in the garment industry worldwide. An informal reception will follow. Location: Five College Women's Studies Research Center, 83 College St., Mount Holyoke College. Cost: Free. Handicapped accessible. Information: Claire Chang, ( 413) 5382022.

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Monday, A'pril15, 4:30p.m. South Hadley, Massachusetts The Intersection of the African Women's Movements, Nationalism and the State in Africa Patricia McFadden, a Five College Women's Studies Research Associate from the Southern African Research Institute for Policy Studies, Harare, Zimbabwe, .will analyze the ways in which nationalist ideology ha.s shaped the political, ideological, and structural character of the African Women:S Movement at the nationaVregional and continental levels. Location: Five College Women:S Studies Research Center, 83 College St., Mount Holyoke College. Cost: Free. Handicapped accessible. Info~ation: Claire Chang, ( 413) 538-2022. .

Wednesday, April 24, 6:30p.m. Greenfield, Massachusetts Violence in Youth Sports: Keeping Our Kids Safe and Healthy What sorts of messages are kids getting from recent youth sports events marred by violence by coaches or players' fathers? What can parents do? Presentation and discussion led by Steven jefferson, professor in the sports management program at UMass, Amherst. Cosponsored by the MOVE (Men Overcoming Violence) program and Greenfield Public Schools and open to the general public. Light refreshments. Location: Greenfield Community College-downtown, Room #120-121 , 270 Main St., Greenfield, Massachusetts. Information: joy Kaubin, (413) 7738181, ext. 823. Friday, April26- Sunday, April 28 Pottstown, Pennsylvania Boys, Violence, Schools: Building Bridges - Connecting Differences Sponsored by the Men's International Peace Exchange (MIPE) , the conference is a place to acquire tools and to create support for generating a "peaceful" school. Location: Fellowship Farm in Pottstown, Pa. Information: Men's International Peace Exchange, PO Box 36, Swarthmore, PA 19081; Tel. (610) 872-8178; ·E -mail Friday, April26- Sunday, April28 Cambridge, Massachusetts Imagination and Healing Conference Presented by the Institute for Body, Mind and Spirituality at Lesley University, and featuring Marion Woodman, diplomat, C.G. Jung Institute, and Shaun McNiff, Ph.D. Promoting inquiry, training professionals, conducting research, developing new programs, and providing leadership in the area of mind-body health and education. Registration required. CE credits available. Cost range: $35- $125. Location: Lesley University Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, 29 Everett Street, Cambridge, MA 02138-2790. !~formation : http://www.!


Monday, June 10- Wednesday, June 12 San Antonio, Texas · 5th National Summit on Fatherhood Program highlights of the conference include "Boot Camp for New Dads. " Started over a decade ago in Irvine, California, this program uses a man-toman training approach in which 'veteran fathers orient "rookie" dads who are expecting their first baby. The "rookies" then come back with their babies, continuing the cycle. , Information: about Boot Camp for New Dads, contact Debbie or Susan at (949) 786-3146; Friday, July 12- Saturday July 20 On the river in Maine Wilderness Canoe Trip for Men Week-long trip run by Jody Grose, fo-qnder of Return to the Fire, an organization committed to men accessing their true masculine spirit. Information: description at website, www E-mail: Phone: (203) 7784393 (evenings best). Saturday, July 20- Saturday, July 27 Saco, Maine GAYLA 24 A week-long conference for gay men held · each summer on the coast of Maine at the Ferry Beach Conference Center. During · this week, 150 gay men create an affirming and fun-fille.d community. The inen who attend are both single and partnered, younger and older, gay, bisexual, and discovering. The common .bond is celebrating the joy of being gay and being oneself without fear of condemnation or harrassment. GAYLA affirms gay men's individuality, sexuality,

JohnCoan Process-Oriented Bodywork Process-Oriented Bodywork uses gentle touch and dialoguing with the body's messages to encourage physical and emotional healing on many levels. This process leads to profound new insights into our histories and behaviors, and deepens our unde~standing of who we truly are. 413.586.3472


Friday, May 10- Sunday, May 12 North Oxford, Massachusetts Massachusetts Men's Gathering 26 Participant-led weekend with workshops, sweat lodge, talent show, poetry, fire circle. Barton Conference Center. Information: full description photos at, or call Chris at (617) 282-3521.



spirituality, community, and place in the world. Play on the beach, dance at night, and become friends. GAYLA is time to laugh, hug, talk, learn, risk, contemplate, and rest. Early reservation encouraged. Cost: $555.00. Location: 5 Morris Avenue, Saco, ME 04072. Information: Tel. (207) 284-8612, Fax (207) 283-4465. E-mail Or go to

Saturday july 20- Saturday July 27 On the river in Maine Wilderness Canoe Trip for Fathers (or mentors) and Sons Week-long trip for fathers or mentors and teenage boys run by jody Grose, founder of Return to the Fire, an organization committed to men accessing their true masculine spirit. Information: description at website, Email: Phone: (203) 778-4393 (evenings best).

The Power of Positive Eating O~ganic Fruits

& Vegetables • Bulk Grains and Beans ¢Ji Whole Grain Bakery • Delicatessen • Cafe ~ J.. Organic Wines • Microbrewery Beers ) 'lllllf Natural Meats • Sparkling Seafood W NaiurOJ Health & Body Care • Fresh Rowers

Bread & Circus WHOLE FOODS MARKET Russell St (Rt 9), Hadley, MA 41~586-9932 Hours: Monday- Sunday: 9am- 9pm

Weekly Drop-in Support Groups: For·AU Men Amherst: Every Sunday evening at the Men's Resource Center, 236 N. Pleasant Street, 7-9 p.m. Northampton: Every Tuesday evening, 6:45-8:45 p.m. at the Council on Aging, 240 Main St. For Gay, Bisexual, and Questioning Men Amherst: Every Monday evening at the Men's Resource Center, 236 N. Pleasant Street, 7:00-9:00 p.m. For Men Who Experienced Childhood Abuse or Neglect Amherst: Every Friday evening at the Men's Reso1,1rce Center, 236 N. Pleasant Street, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

All groups are facilitated by trained volunteers.


Tel (413) 584-5921


Konza Massage Deep tissue, sports, structural body work and relaxation therapy for men

Joseph Babcock 413.587.4334 A.M.T.A Member

Please send calendar listings for the next issue with events from June 20th through September 20th, 2002-and beyond for events calling for arrangements well in advance. Please address listings to Voice Male Calendar,, Fax: (113) 253-4801. Men's Resource Center, 236 No. Pleasant St., Amherst, MA 01002. Deadline for the Summer issue is May30, 2002

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The men who attend are both single and partnered, younger and older, goy, bisexual and d iscovering. Our common bond is celebrating the joy of being goy, and being ourselves without fear of condemnation or harassment. We affirm our individuality, sexuality, spirituality, community and place in the world. We ploy on the beach, donee at night, and become friends. GA YLA is time to la.ugh, hug, talk, learn, risk, contemplate and rest.


Meals and Accommodations Mealtime at GA YLA is o chance for fun and conversation with new and old friends. Meals ore served in a large, sunny dining room. Breakfast and lunch ore served cafeteria style. Dinners a re served family style, followed by singing. Vegetarian options ore available upon request. Dormitory rooms and campsites ate available. Rooms are shored by 2, 3 or 4 men.

:;w~i~th~fr~i=e n~d=s~o:r~p.:o.:._:rt::n::e::rs::·~:~;:: Roommate requests a re accepted for those-:~a~tt~e;n;d~~in~g Tent sites ore also a vaila ble in a wooded ~ection of the campus, called the Grove. All bathrooms ore shored, with private shower stalls.

Ferry Beach Conference Center 5 Morris Avenue Soco, ME 04072 Tel. 207.284.8612 Fax.: 207.283.4465 Email: fer

"' Includes room and board (3 meals per day /shared room). Estimate does not include a $40 GA YLA actlvity fee collected upon arrival. You will need very little money once you arrive. Financial assistance may be available for those in need, please inquire.

Voice Male Spring 2002