On Building Coalitions

I had a brief but fascinating exchange on a feminist blog yesterday. Not to get too into the nuts and bolts of the conversation, the takeaway message I received from a couple of the commenters was that men cannot ever be considered feminists, regardless of their positions on women’s rights. The author of the blog was generally kind to me and suggested that the best description for men such as myself was “pro-feminist”, which I think means “someone who supports the work of feminists, but still shouldn’t meddle in the actual movement.”

I offered the example of P-FLAG as heteros who are gay activists and wondered why the same paradigm could not be applied to men who advocate for women’s rights. One commenter told me, “We don’t need you. You’d make a better “ally” by telling other males that women don’t need them, than by trying to insist to us that we do. This is just another way that you males make nuisances of yourselves.”


Some critics of national LGBT organizations make accusations of “mission creep”, saying that groups such as the HRC and the NGLTF need to stick to strictly “gay” issues and that they have no business taking part in other social causes. “We’re not paying dues to the HRC for them for them to take part in Jena 6 protest marches,” said a commenter on a popular gay blog this morning.

Opinions? Women-bashing comments will be heavily moderated on this thread, so don’t even go there. Let’s have a nice respectful discussion on how we as gay people perceive our non-gay allies and how we consider ourselves as allies in other just causes.