We’re told we live in a patriarchy. That men control everything. That our lives as men are so much easier because we are men. Few voices are heard expressing the pressures on us in a way that empowers men. I want to be one of those voices.
What do you care about? What can I help you with?
That’s my purpose in this column. I want to help men, straight men, gay men, bi men, old men, young men, in the middle of all of the above men, to feel empowered to release the bonds that hold them back, find their dreams and make them real.
As a gay man, who just turned 50, who has spent the last 17 years fighting for the rights of fathers to see their children, of boyfriends against baseless restraining orders, and for husbands who are being taken advantage of in a court system that rewards victimhood, I have a perspective on what men need and stand for.
I’m often asked why is a gay man fighting for fathers. Fair question. Perhaps it’s because as a man of a certain age I’ve always felt like an outsider, even though as a well educated, white male in this society I supposedly run everything; as a gay man I’ve often felt disenfranchised, put down and alienated. I relate to the powerless fathers who have their children taken from them for strategic reasons in a custody battle that is really all about money.
Maybe it’s because I’m gay that I am able to make a man feel comfortable enough in my office that he opens up to me about his pain and fears. I’ve lost count of the number of men who have cried in my office, and as we reach the door, they grab me and hug me with a fervor that they probably don’t display with their straight friends. I hear their fears and fantasies. They share the stories of sexual abuse as a kid, and they tell me of their kink as an adult. I am the ultimate confessor for many men – so I have an understanding and insight that many others don’t have access to.
I want to empower men because I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog.
I think that’s a very American trait. We like to take on bullies. Whether that is on the schoolyard or the global stage. I know from my own experience being bullied in high school for being gay that I am especially sensitive to the harm that it does. I recall the pain and frustration at not being able to fight back at my tormentors. It fueled an internal fire of shame, and rage, that I tried to quench with alcohol and self sabotaging behaviors for years.
What I’ve learned as I fought my battles and heard their confessions is we are all far more alike in our fears, insecurities and shame – and we don’t need to hold on to any of it. Most of it is garbage that we picked up along the way out of some misguided belief system that we learned from the TV or the locker room. Some of it does come from real abusive backgrounds and we need to confront, clean up and clear out that old messaging to free up the mental and emotional space to build the life you want, deserve and can have.
- I want to help men get going on the empowerment process.
- I want to lift them up when they are scared and down.
- I want to walk with them on the road to success and personal fulfillment.
I’ve been doing it for 17 years as a family law attorney and now I’m expanding into the bigger audience to help more men with this column.
I’ll be writing about my battles and journeys. How I see the changing role of men today and what the pressures at that we don’t normally talk about.. From physical empowerment like weight training and yoga, to my journey from a carboholic to paleo-ish. There will be an element of spirituality, and healthy ego development. We need to talk about sex and sexuality, financial and emotional goals because those issues often hold men back from fulfillment. My role as a mentor opens up opportunities to write about what we all need. I want to talk about what you want to read. So let it rip. I want to hear from you about your needs. So feel free to shoot me an email about your thoughts and what you want explored.
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