Margaret Atwood wrote: “Men are afraid of women laughing at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”
And Sister Unity commented on Facebook: “As a gay man, I have held the latter fear all my life as well. Homophobia is rooted in the same misogyny. Maybe mine is: ‘Homophobic men are afraid gay men will turn them on. Gay men are afraid homophobic men will kill them.'”
Indeed. I’ve been consciously and unconsciously thinking and translating ideas like this one from Margaret Atwood all my life.
Thank you, Sister Unity, for your timely reminder. So much is about policing sex and gender. Many queer people — especially those who are transgender — challenge gender norms by their very being, which in turn undermines male privilege. And that really really really pisses some people off.
As a person who identifies as non-gender-conforming but who spends a lot of time passing for something-like-male, I’ve had a lifetime to reflect on the ways that male privilege has benefited me and the ways I remain attached to it — as well as the ways that it sickens the deepest roots of my soul. And that process never ends.
We’ve got to work on this, people! All of us, with all the consciousness, openness, and non-defensiveness we can muster. And it won’t happen without the majority of male-identified folks taking part, listening, and growing.
I feel blessed to know many guys who are doing this, and who taught me, at a time when every fiber of me believed otherwise, that men can be a good, loving, and necessary part of my life, and that I can love and make positive the parts of me that are masculine as well. May it be so one day for all of us, whatever gender we may be.