There is a little girl with a wild temper. She has an intellectual disability and she rages, not against her disability but against anything that she considers unfair. And a lot is unfair. So, there are a lot of rages. She had burned through support worker after support worker. She'd struck many and injured some. It was finally decided, because she had no need of personal support in bathrooms or bedrooms, to hire a male staff. She had not shown anything that indicated that she was better behaved in the presence of male authority, the decision was made that maybe men wouldn't mind being hit so much.
A man was hired. He was a big man with strong shoulders and huge hands. In was with his support that she grew into a young woman who could express her rage in ways that left cups and bones unbroken. She learned to use words. She went from throwing fists in fury to flinging words into the air. From there she learned to direct her anger at an unfair situation and utilize the tools of advocacy.
The man, the very big man, who was hired to be her support was key to all of this. It was he who refused to do compliance training, who refused to work at 'eliminating outbursts'. He felt that she had a right to her anger, that she was skilled a recognizing when she was being treated with less respect or given fewer opportunities because of her disability. He thought this was a good skill. He fought those, mostly, but not always, women, who wanted her to be calm and compliant, so that she would fit better into the system.
The reason he succeeded was not because he was a big man with strong shoulders and huge hands. It was not because he was unfazed by being hit. It was because he had a gentle approach, a strong sense of values, and the ability to teach what needed to be taught.
He was a good man.
I say this because I tire of hearing that 'men are pigs.' This man is one of thousands of men I know that are good and kind and thoughtful. We should know that when one person of colour commits a crime, all shouldn't be blamed for it. When one gay man does something sexually inappropriate, all shouldn't be tagged with the crime. It seems to me that we all understand that - don't we.
I believe that behaviour should be confronted.
I believe that sexist, racist, homophobic, disphobic behaviour is unacceptable no matter who does it or where it happens.
But the behaviour of one does not represent the behaviour of all.
I am a man.
I believe in treating all with respect.
Those two things are not mutually exclusive.
I was called a pig as a boy because I was fat, I learned to hate that name. Now I get called a pig because I'm a man. I find that equally repugnant.
Call out wrong - speak out against discrimination - but in doing so, don't wrongly discriminate.