Closing the gaps for true gender representation in politics, business, education and all other roles that need women has become a struggle for centuries now. We hunger for greater participation among women as a way of recognizing their full potential.
But with structural changes that bend towards equality still seems far from being fully realized, the same people who are supposed to be part of the solution are sadly reduced to being part of the problem instead. That’s why in workplaces, we still hear stories of women qualified to take over higher roles but are repeatedly denounced and undermined.
In recruitment, for example, human resources personnel often commit unconscious bias against women and people of color, social class and different abilities. When it’s become the norm because we fail to confront such an issue, we dismiss the years of painstaking hard work that women have pushed forward to attain equity and justice and change the thinking that a woman’s place is only in the kitchen.
When the New Women’s Movement was organized in the 70s, lesbians were part instrumental in launching the call for liberation against oppression, violence and discrimination that grew from the patriarchy. Feminism’s meaning became more understood by civil society and women clamored to gain control of their bodies and raise their voices to influence social change.
Similarly, LGBTQIA+ related movements have grown together with the call for fair recognition of women’s rights. Gay men, for instance, have been oppressed too because homophobia still exists. We also challenge the notion that traditional masculinity must remain dominant or else men are bound to lose their power and control.
When men are purported to use and abuse their positions and status, we all lose the fight in allowing people of any gender to effect positive change in society.
And so, here’s where women’s rights and LGBTQIA+ rights intersect: the need to ensure equal treatment, participation and tolerance to challenge and suppress the brutish sexism that pervades our culture.
As gay men, Stefan and I celebrate individualism and self-empowerment just as women (and men!) do. We push for women’s rights against being ignored and marginalized just like how we march to put forward the gay community’s rights against discrimination and abuse.
We are partners in advancing the belief that sex and gender should not define and limit our roles and contributions. We acknowledge the importance of gender identity to liberate us from the stereotypes that have been the basis of gender-based discrimination that affects women, gays, queers and others. We must be recognized based on skills, experience and potential contribution and not on our looks or what we wear.
In this respect, when we vow to be critics against unfair heterosexual dominance, we also support feminists in their struggle for recognition and justice.
Gay and feminist movements are known to be steadfast supporters of each other’s causes. As allies in addressing biases and discrimination, gay dads like us refuse to be silenced when it comes to addressing gender-based struggles.
Here’s how we support the feminist movement.
Fighting for gay rights won’t be effective unless we are knowledgeable about the issues that our community is facing. Likewise, we stay informed on how women continue to fight for their rights. We engage in open communication and lend an ear when women call out men in moments of unfair authority.
But it doesn’t end there. Men who may not be violent or discriminators but are hesitant to act cannot be powerful agents of change. When we recognize and uphold women and gay rights the way we want our rights to be affirmed, we nurture an inclusive culture.
We encourage women to speak up and be heard in the workplace without being judged. We lobby for more roles for women in male-dominated industries. We support our female colleagues to be at the front-and-center of our workplace here in Canada.
And oh, we don’t engage in mansplaining. We hate it when men explain to a woman (or any gender for this matter) in a condescending, all-knowing manner.
And where does this begin? By recognizing their voices at home, we bring out their confidence and build their self-affirmation that they are ready to conquer the world.
Traditional domestic roles bring out the worst in men when they refuse to do their part in household duties from cooking to child-rearing.
As two fathers sharing these responsibilities, Stefan and I believe that regardless of one’s gender, couples become more productive and loving when it comes to working outside and inside the home.
Women and the LGBTQIA+ community have long been victims of vilified treatment in the form of sexual harassment and verbal abuse. But the fact is, we know our place. We deserve respect. And that’s why we don’t just sulk in the corner when we hear sexist and derogatory comments. Even diminutive nicknames are a no-no.
That’s why we speak up for ourselves or on behalf of others. Any inappropriate behavior cannot be tolerated.
Aside from our wonderful mothers, we also respect the contributions of other women in society from astronaut Roberta Bondar to music icon Alanis Morissette. And there have been many women who made a mark in corporate leadership, sports, sciences and technology, education and medicine that deserve admiration.
These women justify the need for representation to push past boundaries and inspire girls and boys to pursue their dreams.
Toxic masculinity can be defeated if we partner awareness with solidarity and action. As gay dads, we have also been exposed to patriarchal, misogynist and sexist actions by society. Women likewise have long sought to challenge these constructs to gain respect and equal footing in society.
When the LGBTQIA+ community challenges unfair gender roles and gender-based discrimination against women, we are also advancing our causes against normalized harassment and patriarchal abuse that have denied so many of us.
When men are allowed to exploit their power and influence, we become complicit in keeping individuals of all genders from creating meaningful transformation in the world.
As gay dads, we understand the importance of supporting feminism and encouraging gender equality. We believe in open communication and creating an inclusive culture by recognizing and upholding women's rights. We actively support women's voices by advocating for more roles for them in male-dominated industries, and discouraging mansplaining.
We also fight against emasculation by challenging traditional domestic roles, and we don't tolerate misogynistic comments. We look up to female role models for inspiration and motivation, knowing that by standing together in solidarity, we can help create meaningful transformation for all genders.
Together, let us keep challenging unfair gender roles and working towards a better world.