Thursday, December 6, 2018

Fear of Men.

 Last night one of the public broadcasting stations came through and I watched a discussion panel type show. The discussion was about men and about how to raise boys. As a side note, I had to laugh because it was a typical left leaning panel of women, a woman who became a man, a man who would loose a battle to a mosquito and an average masculine guy who feels masculinity is a bad thing. Pretty much a group of people that average boys would not be able to relate to. Still not to take anything away from the panel, they made a lot of good points about how boys are raised not to feel emotions and then we freak out when young men show no empathy.

 The thing that interested me the most was a discussion with a young author afterwards. The book is called "I'm Afraid of Men" by Vivek Shraya. A transgender person caught between the world of male and female. The interview was thoughtful and it was good to hear his/her point of view of just trying to survive while being transgender and a person of colour.

 What caught me most was the admission of being afraid of men, the host asked cheerfully if that still was the case, expecting a Hollywood happy ever after answer of "no" and how great it is now; however the answer was "yes, I still live in fear". The truth is that person is still very much a target especially for men. The back of the book reads "Men are afraid of me" and that's true, men would feel uncomfortable and the less thinking type would feel the need to attack, either verbally or physically.

 I haven't read the book yet so I'm not going to comment further on it but I could/can relate. I remember when I was younger, I was terrified of men, groups of guys especially young guys out in the country, if they ever found out that I was gay... I would have been in danger. It's a funny coincidence that I saw this interview because I happened to be at a hockey arena on the weekend watching part of a game. There were some big guys there, I'm a tiny guy, I have always hovered around 125 pounds, I was thinking I would have no chance against them if they decided to attack me, six something and 220 solid pounds with arms the size of my thighs.

 Fortunately that fear is less and less but there are still times when I am careful. When I was with Dan he thought it was funny to make me uncomfortable by holding my hand in front of people; however he was very serious at times when he knew that we could be in danger. Isn't that an interesting statement to make, "when we could be in danger" just because we loved each other put us in danger. I understand Vivek talking about being afraid of men, the truth is if you're going to get killed for being a member of the LGBTQ community, it's not by a bunch of grannies coming out of a quilting bee. Some men are probably offended by the title of the book but those same men want to ignore the facts. The truth is... I have felt that fear also, I can relate, I still do at times, it's very real.


Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Oh the fear is real. Anybody not presenting as a conventional (whatever that is) male or infringing the unwritten social norms that spell out two men should not touch or be affectionate in public is in danger. We can still be beaten to an inch of our lives by any hooligan with too much beer and fear in his system. And he would be let go for ‘lack of evidence’ or by using the gay panic excuse.

anne marie in philly said...

NO ONE should live in fear! and yet we do, as LGBTQ people, as women, as POC. men (white) are trying in vain to keep hold of their "power" and cannot come to the realization that it is slipping away to LGBTQ/women/POC. hence the rise of the nazis/proud boys.

Bob said...

You don't think of it as fear when you can hold your husband's hand in Key West but not in your own neighborhood, but that's what it is, fear.

Michael said...

Great post Steven, and yes, the fear is real.

Old Lurker said...

Hey! It is not just young men that are raised to feel no empathy. Some of us old people are similarly raised and also feel no empathy.

I tend to fear people high on meth or alcohol more than garden-variety homophobes, but I certainly fear men in general.

Christina said...

I've raised two boys. They are both kind, respectful men who live decent lives.
My youngest son is gay, as you know and is accepted by all the family. When I told my aunt , who was 87 at the time that my son was gay she just said "well, nothing wrong with that. Of all members of society they are the last to harm anyone"
I thought it a funny thing to say really.

I haven't told my 86 year old dad as I'm not sure of his response. I suppose I fear that. That he might reject my son.

We all fear something though. I fear groups of youths, both male and female.
Maybe I'm getting old......

Richard said...

I think most out LGBTQ people have felt this at some time in their life. Back in the day, many gay bars were in questionable areas of town and patrons often risked their lives coming and going to the bar.

I had a man hand me a hand gun on the NYC subway late at night on the way home from a bar. I looked at the gun and handed it back to him. I got off at the next stop and waited for the next train. It was a surreal experience.

RB said...

Maybe there is an inherent fear of men deep inside of many gay men. Fear of being found out? Judged? Maybe it's better now, but certainly was real not so long ago.