"I am pleased to announce the creation and publication of the Diversity and Equality statement which will serve to clear any doubts about the inclusive nature of International Men's Day. We must make genuine efforts to avoid divisions and fragmentation of the global men’s movement. Only when we are united and enlightened, we would be empowered to assist and ready to embrace the rest of humanity." -- Jerome Teelucksingh, 2011
DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY STATEMENT We encourage every man, woman, girl and boy in the world to join us in celebrating men and boys in all their diversity on International Men’s Day (November 19th).
We recognize that there are a broad variety of laws, values and viewpoints around the world that affect different men, in different countries in different ways. There is also a diversity of opinions about those laws, values and viewpoints which are held by the many different men, women, girls and boys throughout the world. As a day of observance we place our focus on that which unites humanity- giving everyone who wants to celebrate International Men’s Day the opportunity to help work towards our shared objectives which we apply equally to men and boys irrespective of their age, ability, social background, ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, religious belief and relationship status. Those objectives are:
To promote positive male role models; not just movie stars and sports men but everyday, working class men who are living decent, honest lives.
To celebrate men’s positive contributions to society, community, family, marriage, child care, and to the environment.
To focus on men’s health and wellbeing; social, emotional, physical and spiritual.
To highlight discrimination against males; in areas of social services, social attitudes and expectations, and law.
To improve gender relations and promote gender equality.
To create a safer, better world; where people can be safe and grow to reach their full potential.
2011 Press Release by The Men's Network welcoming IMD Diversity Statement
The theme of this year’s day of international observance is Giving Boys The Best Possible Start In Life. Any UK individual or organisation that wants to mark the day in 2011 should contact the UK co-ordinator Glen Poole of The Men’s Network – at [email protected] – or register at the International Men’s Day website.
“We welcome this confirmation of International Men’s Day’s commitment to celebrate the positive contribution to society of all men and boys and to highlight the different kinds of discrimination that men and boys of all backgrounds can experience”.
On Racial Tolerance - by Jerome Teelucksingh
A mission to include the excluded by J. Teelucksingh - March 2011
“Critics of International Men’s Day want to know “which men” are being talked about. Is International Men’s Day talking about Rich Men? Poor Men? Black Men? Brown Men? Indian Men? Men in the Global South? White Men in advanced capitalist countries? International Men’s Day speaks to all Men- Rich Men, Poor Men, Working Class men, Homeless Men, Middle-Class Men, Black Men, Brown Men, Indian Men, Asian Men, Aboriginal Men, Men in the Global South, Men in Third World Countries, White Men in advanced capitalist countries- and the women who love them.” (A “Teachable Moment” on Men’s Issues, In Search of Fatherhood Summer 2010, p.40)
These powerful words were written by Ms. Diane Sears, the United States Coordinator for International Men’s Day. It aptly captures the inclusive nature of IMD. The special Day is not designated as International Poor Men’s Day or International Chinese Men’s Day. The important word in International Men’s Day is MEN. And, what is more important is that children, girls and women are part of IMD. Maybe in the future the term ‘gender movement’ could be used as efforts are made to reduce the gap and polarization between the men’s movement and women’s movement.
We need to remember that IMD is not a small party or private home owned by a few or one person. The gates and doors of IMD are open for all. We need to always be there at the doors and gates of IMD and also ready to welcome men and women who are willing to assist with efforts to create a more caring and humane world.
Some persons might use moral, legal and religious arguments to justify the exclusion of certain men from the men’s movement. This is certainly the wrong approach to promote unity and harmony. What would happen to the excluded men? They would continue to be neglected, form their own separate movement or join a separate group. If they form a group or movement, this will exclude us. And, the divisions among men would continue to exist.
Why would IMD want to exclude men or boys who are different? The creation of the Equality and Diversity Statement in 2011 was another visible attempt to reinforce the inclusive nature of IMD. Even if this statement had never materialized in 2011, IMD should be interpreted as accepting everyone. Some will argue that including men with different lifestyles or in certain professions would tarnish the image of IMD and send the wrong message. IMD does not promote any particular lifestyle or job as ideal, acceptable or the norm.
There will be no signs of progress if the men’s movement sets ‘straight’ and ‘gay’ against each other, or promotes judgmental labels such as ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’. Should we ignore a small group of men and women because they do not conform to the rest of mainstream society? Should we ignore this small group because they comprise only 1% or 2% of the world’s population? If IMD excludes this group, then we must ask ourselves- is IMD promoting unity? Once we begin to exclude some persons then in the future we will find reasons to exclude others. The killing of persons or denial of jobs because they dress differently, adhere to different religious beliefs or have alternative lifestyles, should be concerns for supporters of IMD. Supporters of IMD should discuss if we can include everyone and not compromise the 6 Objectives of IMD.
IMD should be that haven for men who are marginalized, bullied, humiliated, ostracized, mocked and ridiculed. Even if it is only one day of the year (19 November), these excluded men must feel included, welcome and proud to be male. Again, I want to highlight a relevant statement by Ms. Sears in her 2010 article, “International Men’s Day provides a welcome antidote to the mixed signals about manhood and masculinity, disrespect, and lack of recognition that many Men throughout our global village encounter” (p.40).
International Men's Day Stands For ALL Men. By Glen Poole - 2011
The biggest - and most vital - challenge of the International Men's Movement - is to take stand for a world that works for everyone - every woman, man, boy and girl and it starts by including every man and boy - and that includes those that are clearly committed to working with men and boys and yet seek to exclude others from the International Men's Movement
It is perfectly legitimate to run an organisation that focusses specifically on one group - black men, gay men, christian men, right wing men, left wing men etc etc etc etc - and as a movement we can support each other in becoming leaders for our own chosen communities
And then there is the broader movement - embodied by IMD - which stands for ALL men - it stands for unity - it stands for a world that works for everyone and everyone is included
Now that's a challenging concept for people who believe that their political, religious or philosophical way is the "right" way and that everyone else "should" do it that way
And the way that IMD will really make a difference for me is when we can say to every group - go and do it YOUR way - do it loud and proud and take a stand FOR what you believe in - but please do it in a way that isn't ANTI anyone else
You can be PRO one religion without being ANTI another
You can be PRO black without being ANTI white
You can be PRO marriage without being ANTI other relationships
You can be PRO dads without being ANTI mums
You can be PRO gay men without being ANTI straight men
You can be PRO men without being ANTI women
You can be PRO women without being ANTI men
So let us be proudly PRO all men without being ANTI women or men we don't like.
And let us be proudly PRO our own particular community of men and our own particular viewpoint, without being ANTI any other community of men and any other viewpoint
At The Men's Network in the UK we proudly stand or every man and boy in our city fulfilling their greatest potential - whatever that is - it is a daily challenge, but it means we work constantly to include everyone and exclude no-one - and it means working with lots of other groups who don't have such a broad reach as us and helping them do the best they can for whatever particular group they are focussed on.
And what we've learnt is what I've said above - while the black/white, good/bad, right/wrong paradigm is very naturally human - it doesn't work and it is at the root of all wars.
And so the practice of being proudly PRO a viewpoint or group without be ANTI any other viewpoint of group does challenge our humanity - AND it is a game worth playing - a certainly a game worth winning
IMD has great, great potential so long as we all do whatever it is we need to do to keep on embracing and including ALL men - especially those we don't agree with.