The Feminist ‘Him’: A Panel of Male Perspectives
In college, I went to a Take Back the Night march with some of my friends (mostly female) from our Students for a Democratic Society chapter. There was solemnity and sharing, but also passion and speeches; by the end of it we found ourselves worked up and ready to keep moving. So I followed the organizers on a continued march around campus, holding signs and chanting slogans. We went to all the campus greens, and even into some dorms. In one of the dorms that many of the athletes lived in, a number of men came out into to hall to see what all the noise was. They had a range of reactions, but I remember someone asking “What the **** are the guys doing with them?”
All I could think to myself was, “what wouldn’t guys be doing with them?” I grew up a UU in a religion that taught me that my ideals as a male were not muscularity, but the universal ideals of justice, equity, and compassion. Thus, marching in solidarity with those who felt our campus was not a safe or equal place for them was natural, a given. But I’ve found that “duh” is not a crowd-pleasing answer when I’m asked why I identify as a male feminist. And I have found that my story is part of a vast and powerful array of male feminist voices. Despite their vastness and power, we nonetheless rarely enough hear from them in our movement. I remain very curious as to what other male-identified feminists have to say.
That curiosity was the impetus for a session that the Young Adults @ General Assembly (YA@GA) group will be hosting next month in Portland, called The Feminist ‘Him’: A Panel of Male Perspectives. This lay and clergy, multigenerational, multiracial, GBTQ, female-moderated panel will provide a spectrum of answers to questions about how the male-identified individuals on it came to identify as feminists, what their experiences have been as such, and what those things mean for creating a more feminist faith movement. We live in a culture where many men ask “what’s the guy doing there” if they see a male-identified person at a sexual assault awareness march or a reproductive justice rally. Holding one’s ground as a male-identified feminist in that environment takes a sense of community and solidarity that we must continually work to build.
The panel is taking place Thursday, June 25th at 4:45pm in the YA@GA space during GA. We hope to see you there!
As of August, Rev. Jonathan Rogers will be the Acting Associate Minister for Lifelong Learning and Growth at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta. In haiku form, his beliefs are: ‘Universalist, process theologian and, feminist mystic.’