Please Be That Guy! 7 Men Who Are Transforming Masculinity

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 12.57.17 PM

Jamie Utt offers a list of seven guys who are turning their backs on old stereotypes to be advocates for equality.

Lately I’ve been seeing a pattern. More and more men are standing up to misogyny, to sexual violence, to street harassment, to victim blaming, to rape apologia, to sexism.

Despite the noise created by the ignorance in the Men’s Rights Movement, a tide is shifting.

On every college campus and in every high school where I work, I meet young men who are passionate about creating a different masculinity.

In short, there are men who are acting like this:

So I wanted to take just a minute here at Change From Within to highlight some of those amazing men who are leading this transformation of masculinity, men who I admire tremendously and who inspire me to be a better man on the daily.


Darnell Moore


As I sit here trying to write about Darnell, I find myself erasing and rewriting my introductory sentence over and over.  It’s impossible to describe this man.

I’ve long been a fan of his writing and speaking, and I had the opportunity to meet with him recently, and I cannot describe the humble power this man possesses in words.  His kindness and generosity are only surpassed by his brilliance.

As a public intellectual on issues of race, sexuality, and gender, Darnell is leading men to imagine their positionality in the world differently, moving toward an ethic of love and brotherhood rather than dominance and control.

Check out his recent Ted Talk:


Fivel Rothberg


Fivel is a father, filmmaker, and activist who uses his own powerful stories to help men understand the work we must do to transform ourselves as part of transforming masculinity.

His film House Devil, Street Angel is an autobiographical documentary that tells Fivel’s story of his struggle to raise his son to know a different, nonviolent, positive masculinity.

On a personal level, Fivel is a caring soul, a man who is passionate about making this world a better place and who makes you feel like a family member in that work from the moment he meets you.

Fivel is currently working on a documentary about consent and positive, healthy sexuality, so keep an eye out for that.

In the mean time, check out the first of Fivel’s film that I ever saw:


Kai M. Green


Kai is a filmmaker, poet, and Ph.D. candidate who strives to build a more inclusive understanding of gender and masculinity through his art and scholarship.

Though I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Kai in person, I am proud to boast that I get to write alongside Kai at Everyday Feminism where his writing inspires me to think differently about race, gender, and healing.

Check out the trailer for his documentary “It Gets Messy in Here” here, and watch his interview with Me and My Bois below.


Emiliano Diaz de Leon


I first met Emiliano when he delivered an amazing keynote on engaging bystander intervention in Spanish-speaking migrant communities at the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence’s annual prevention institute.  Simply put, he blew me away.

Ever since, I’ve been learning from him through his writing, activism, and work with the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.

Most definitely read his writing at his blog, and follow him on Twitter to learn from this brilliant man working to build a more non-violent understanding of masculinity.

Check out Emiliano speaking at a SlutWalk rally in 2011:


Jackson Katz


One of the more formative male role models in my life has been Jackson Katz.  I first came across Jackson’s work when I was a first year in college, and it blew my mind.  I had never heard a man talking about masculinity the way that he does.

What’s most inspiring about Jackson’s work, though, is how accessible he makes the conversation for men from all sorts of backgrounds.

To understand how easy Jackson makes it for men to engage in the conversation of feminism and transformative masculinity, look no further than his viral Ted Talk:


Jeff Perera

Jeff Perera

Jeff Perera is an author, speaker, and activist who challenges men to leave behind outdated understandings of masculinity to build a more inclusive, loving, and non-violent gender identity.

Another man I have yet to meet face to face, I am regularly inspired by the work that I see Jeff doing.  Founder and Editor in Chief at Higher Unlearning, Jeff empowers men to be the ones to hold men accountable for their actions and words.

Check out Jeff’s recent Ted Talk:


Carlos Andrés Gómez


Carlos is a poet, actor, author, and speaker who calls on men to think more critically about what it means to “Man Up.”

I first came across Carlos when I saw him perform his inspiring poetry with Andrea Gibson in Denver a few years ago, and I’ve been learning from him ever since.

Most recently, I was inspired by this piece of his that was published in The Guardian (and actually prompted me to write this blog post).

Check out his Ted Talk on the concept of “Manning Up:”


Whether we’re talking about famous poets or intellectuals or our fathers or classmates, it’s time we start lifting up the brothers who are calling for a different masculinity, a more inclusive masculinity, a more non-violent masculinity.

Take this as a call to action.  Take some time to thank a man who you’ve seen do something, whether big or little, to build a better masculinity.

Originally appeared at Change From Within

About Jamie Utt

Jamie Utt is a diversity and inclusion consultant and sexual violence prevention educator based in Minneapolis, MN. He lives with his loving partner and his funtastic dog, Chloe. He blogs weekly at Change From Within. Learn more about his work at


  1. Tom Brechlin says:

    I’m getting tired of “preaching to the choir” I don’t know of any men who reads GMP who would disagree that men shouldn’t disrespect women. But I do know a lot of men who read GMP who want to hear more about the moves being made to not only acknowledge the level in which men been abused but also a plan of action get the information out in the world and DO SOMETHING about it. Warren Ferril has been and when you look at this clip, you’ll see what MRM’s are up against.

  2. wellokaythen says:

    Sorry if I’m being way too literal here, but I refuse to “be” anyone else. I try to be more like people I admire, but I will never be them, and I should not attempt to be them. Ask me to try to BE LIKE these men, but don’t ever tell me to BE someone else. I prefer to be myself, and hopefully I can learn from other people as I go along.

    Meanwhile, the phrase “That Guy” is most commonly used as a kind of insult today.

    • I think that’s a part of the problem. Instead of bring straight and honest and to the point on behavior there is a desire to either “reclaim” a phrase or come up with the next hip phrase.

      Honestly speaking Jamie is on to some really true and solid stuff here. But by trying to package it into something hip and meant to go viral the message can get lost in translation.

      (And yeah that cheap shot at MRAs, congratulations you just unnecessarily attacked some folks. And for what?)

  3. “Despite the noise created by the ignorance in the Men’s Rights Movement, a tide is shifting.”

    There you go, showing your own ignorance by insulting the MRM. Considering the MRM is pretty much the only group even bothering to talk deepy about issues affecting men, Don’t be that guy who dismisses it as noise.

    “More and more men are standing up to misogyny, to sexual violence, to street harassment, to victim blaming, to rape apologia, to sexism.”

    Me too, many of whom are MRA’s. Feminism does not hold a monopoly on equality, it’s important for both genders to have a movement dedicated to their struggles.

    “To understand how easy Jackson makes it for men to engage in the conversation of feminism and transformative masculinity, look no further than his viral Ted Talk:”

    We need far more than just feminist views of masculinity though. And considering more often than not I am told, and see others get told that men should not be in the feminist movement except to be an ally to female issues, I am wondering if the feminist framework is really right to disucss masculinity?

    Love him or hate him, Warren Farrel has done quite a lot for men so I shall thank him. Glenn Sacks too has helped men, Ally Fogg is also getting male issues raised too. Toysoldiers for his tireless effort against sexual violence, Glen Poole for his work on advocating for men and boys.

    AS a side note, have you ever seen women call for an end of their violence against men like Carlos’s article on CiF? I see a plethora of men’s chivalrous attitudes towards protecting women, fighting against male perpetrated violence towards women yet absolute deafening crickets by women doing the same to stop their violence against men. Statistics clearly prove it’s a major issue, so if equality were really the goal then it should be very easy to find articles of women telling other women to stop being abusive n violent, even campaigns similar to white ribbon…surely it’d be easy right? Or maybe we have a very long way to go towards equality when currently the major push is near universally that of helping one gender alone under the guise of equality. And yes this paragraph is directed at every single woman, just as countless comments are directed at me and other men to speak out against male-perpetrated violence against women. Do not let us stand alone, we too bleed, we too suffer great amounts of violence, homicide, sexual, physical, and mental assault against us. Write articles, speak up against violence women perpetrate against men, hell everyone should speak up against any violence to anyone, because that is true equality, something we do not reach by myopic views on tackling only 1 genders problems.

Speak Your Mind