As many of you know, the first International Conference on Men’s Issues is being held this weekend. As I said in a recent article, this conference
This is scheduled to be a truly historic event. Never has such a gathering of human rights advocates from such a wide array of backgrounds come together under the same roof.
Much like the braiding of steel threads which come together to create a much stronger cable, this weekend we will see various groups and advocates – which had previously existed only in isolated and vulnerable fragments – come together and create a sense of solidarity, of community.
And that critical step – building an alternative community – is the first and very important step in creating an alternative culture.
I am currently en route to the conference and will be in attendance this Friday and Saturday. Although there will undoubtedly be attendees who are averse to advocacy of the human rights for men and boys, I do not think any protest will occur like what happened at the University of Toronto.
It is entirely possible, of course. But I doubt it.
I think it far more likely that posers will attempt to impersonate, strawman, and frame the movement as something it is not. Censorship and even criminal behavior just isn’t working for them anymore, so they will have to start trying different things.
I would like to remind anyone attending the conference of some important suggestions.
Do not wander alone on the grounds outside the conference. Remember the death threats to the Double Tree hotel where the conference was to be held previously. Better to be safe than sorry.
Also, we are entering into a highly politicized atmosphere where very little happens that is not deliberate. Be careful of what you say and how you say it.
If protesters get in your face, don’t indulge them and respond in kind. If you feel your blood begin to boil, that is when you know you need to check yourself. There will be plenty of security there. Let them do their job.
There are many other suggestions I can make, but those are some big ones. For those who cannot attend there will be a live stream of the conference, and an official conference Twitter feed will also provide regular updates.
I would also like to bring attention to the fact that this is not the only such event being held for men and boys this weekend. On the 27th and 28th the Texas Consortium for Male Students of Color will be hosting the UT Male Student Leadership Summit at the University of Texas at Austin.
I have gone to their Latino male symposia for the last three years (my report on them can be found here). This year there will be no such symposium, with this consortium-hosted summit taking its place.
If you would like to stay up-to-date on various men’s issues conferences, symposia, seminars, lectures, and workshops across the western world, please see the AVFMS page which hosts a list of such events.