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All posts for the day June 5th, 2011

In the Shed

Published June 5, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”

John F. Kennedy

This is a cautionary tale of conformity by men to the narrative of the idealized masculinity, which requires some to find sanctuary in the closet or shed, As men, we seemingly adhere blindly to this myth as if some article of faith and in turn readily impose it on all. It is the root of all oppression, discrimination and subjugation in society.  The previous post concluded by drawing an analogy between the closet representing the oppression of queer men, and the shed of heterosexual men. This post provides some reflections the premise here is that one man’s closet is an others’ shed and sometimes you might find a closet in the shed. While both represent a prison, they also provide a sanctuary through a weird sense of anonymity.

The issue to free men from these sanctuaries or prisons means we have to challenge the need for their very existence. During the 20th century, masculinity faced a crisis its status as a sacred cow downgraded through critical inquiry by its detractors i.e. cultural diversity, women, and queers. The outcome of this inquiry masculinity is found wanting, more bravado than substance that actively seeks to maintain Anglo-European heterosexual able-bodied male individual, collective and institutional privilege.  Even in the diverse reality of their lived experience, men and their allies still hold doggedly to the fraudulent idealized model of manhood.

The question here is

Reform or Revolution

Coming out of the Shed the road towards a new way of

Knowing and Doing Manhood?

30 years

Published June 5, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

In Memory

Of

all who have died from HIV/AIDS

their Families, friends and communities who miss them everyday

On this the

30th Anniversary

Circus

Published June 5, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

Barnum & Bailey have nothing on the three-ring circus that is Australian politics in a recent piece titled Courage and cowardice in politics the@rainbowreporter shares some commentary on how the greatest show in Canberra may shape Queer Oz.

In ring 1, bring on the bumbling or was that brawling clowns Abbott, Hockey and Turnbull vying for centre ring with some subtle and not so subtle pie throwing or are they grenades. This trio seem looked in some to the death competition for the Conservative leadership while putting on the mask of party unity which often slips in showing their real intent. The Clown Posse has no real leadership other than that motivated by personal interest this is a policy free zone obsessed with oppositional politics for its own sake.

In the centre ring, it is the PM trying to manage a team of prancing ponies with competing interests her intent is not that obvious in its execution. Her words and actions seem not that coordinated, leaving the audience somewhat bemused by her intent. Standing there in the middle it seems the ponies have the whip and a bridled Gillard endeavours to perform a range of tricks. Gillard does not seem to have the political skills and fortitude to manage these competing interests being dependent on the factional powerbrokers, regional independents and Greens to retain government.

In ring three, you have the Queers caged by historical persecution and institutional discrimination roaring out for these politicians to address our needs and basic rights. It is not as if the Rainbow Nation is unable to articulate these needs or reticent in doing so because we do this well. However, these calls fall on deaf ears of politicians concerned more with their own power struggles and in retaining privilege rather than dealing with issues faced by their constituents.  The question here is where there is a lack of leadership and political intent where do we turn now.

NO

Published June 5, 2011 by Michael C Leeson

#no2bullying #no2homophobia #no2suicide

On the news of another teen suicide due to homophobic bullying, it seems appropriate to make some comments. In clarifying, it is not clear whether the teen involved identified or not and no assumptions or implications are being made here. This is about our business in enabling kids to be who they are, unlike our detractors wanting to indoctrinate them through cohesion in conforming to some dated concept of gender identity.  We know the issues for the Rainbow Nation our susceptibility to bullying, mental health issues, substance misuse, and suicide.

Kids (25 & under), it matters not how they identify LGBQ, TT, I, SSA or Str8, that is not our business keeping them safe is our business. The point here is that all kids experience homophobic bullying no matter their gender identity and/or sexual ordination . This situation exists because of the narrow conceptualisation of gender or more precisely privileged masculinity as the default, which enforces compliance to  a specific set of social norms through bullying.

We know this from our individual and collective stories, this abuse in all its forms (i.e. physical, psychological and social) and the lingering deep emotional pain of rejection. Our expertise lies in the lived experience of bullying because of who we are young people seem more vulnerable to this violence. At a time in life full of discovery, confusion and contradiction, they face the excoriating pressure to conform or suffer social sanctions  and possible marginalisation.  In this time, some feel so isolated and disempowered they choose to act on their thoughts out of desperation resulting in their suicide.

This situation is not acceptable if we stand-by and let another young person bullied because of whom they are and is murdered because of the dysfunctional nature of gender. At some time as a society we need to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough what do we value more an insipid idealized masculinity or our children. As a community, the Rainbow Nation has a greater stake here in addressing bullying, homophobia and suicide equally, because they represent our oppression, persecution and marginalisation. As individuals, we have a duty to make this a better place than when we arrived, to stand up against injustice, be a good neighbour and keep people safe.

Please if you are, experiencing suicidal thoughts or feel emotionally unwell follow this link  or call Lifeline on 131114 (in Aus).