San Francisco CA: Men in Maternity
This title was prompted by three experiences: my work in the area of Gender Expansive Africa Radio (GEAR); the project by Justin Moran titled Black men in makeup; and the Southern Poverty Law Center published papers on race and ethnicity.
The Merriam Webster defines precepts as a command or principle intended especially as a general rule of action or an order issued by legally constituted authority to a subordinate official.
Social theories about cultures can be summed into: Patriarchy; Matriarchy; Filiality; Culinary; detente; defense; Mortality; Immortality; Eternity; Productivity; fluidity; and Deity.
Cultures borrow from each other. The other day I was listening to a short documentary on the origins of words such as veal, beef and venison into the English language. It was interesting how war, conquest, trade and travel have made up much of the English words. Africa and the Arabs have given English such words like Safari and Jumbo. For more on words: https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/wonderful-word-history-evolution.
The reason I am writing this is to join the conversation is parallel in what is happening in USA between the White Supremacists (WS) and Black Lives Matter (BLM). There is the argument that in affirming that Black Lives Matter, it is clear one is negating all other lives. That they do not matter. On the African continent heterosexuality and homosexuality are at polar ends. I am aware sexuality is just the tip of an iceberg of human nature. To define someone as heterosexual or homosexual is like describing one’s car by its wheels (my four wheeled). This tendency has led to a disruption of avenues for dialogue and social relations in Africa. For more on BLM: https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2017/08/economist-explains-15?fsrc=scn/gg/te/bl/ed/.
It has led to a narrow definition of humans to be the accepted binary typing. One is either Cisgender or Transgender. Already this means they have made Cis the affirmed, normalized, baseline and standard. Cis is the norm and the rest are opposites, negated, opposing and warrant no respectful regard. This has been the root of all disparaging. It also has allowed many in power positions to think that sexuality must be more mutable to the side of heterosexuality. Some religions have led this conversation and with it the hate foot-print.
What has been missed are those who are either Cis or Trans. These are the non-conforming or gender non-conforming. To a Cis gender ( the one whose assigned sex is in congruence to the gender and roles) in a Patriarchy community on the African continent, the first reaction is why there are those who do not project as normalized male or female. If at all those gender non-conforming are engaged in conversation, then the curious one wonders why they chose (note how it is easier for one to think that one’s sexuality is chosen like one going to a grocery store and pick up a bar of soap) to be quiet when they should be talking and vice versa. Mostly, the curious one has the power over the non-conformist (so written for the flow of this write up).
Power play in spaces of our communities should not be taken for granted when engaging people of any kind. To fairly hear both sides' cases policy, laws, norms and lore should not give more advantage over the ones who are already at many losses. This creates privilege and exclusionary contexts which fuel imbalances.
Peculiarities should be explored. In fact, masculinity should be exorcised of its fears through trying out feminine things and vice-versa. It is for this that I went out to look for friends who could work with me on the project I called “Men in Maternity.” I hope you enjoy it.