TMC Administration Notes - August/September 2015

Letter from the Chair

It might seem obvious that masculinity is at the heart of TCMC's mission, but what exactly is masculinity? A dictionary isn't much help, usually suggesting things like physical strength and boldness as representative characteristics. Does this mean you aren't masculine if you don't have these traits? And isn't trying to find even one characteristic common to almost half of the planet's population a little ridiculous and a more than a little pointless? Because what could more than 3 billion men possibly have in common?

I've been thinking about gender identity since Caitlyn Jenner went public with her gender transition. Whatever masculine means, Bruce Jenner was probably the epitome of it. He won the 1976 Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, and with it the informal designation as the world's greatest male athlete. Bruce Jenner was masculine to the max. So what does it mean when a figure so masculine transitions to being a woman? Does knowing that Bruce Jenner suffered from gender dysphoria for most of his life before his transition in some way negate his earlier masculinity?

Regular readers of this column know that I am extremely skeptical of definitions of masculinity created by organizations with something to sell. If a beer company thinks they can peddle more beer by declaring that "real men" behave in a way that includes drinking more of their product, you can bet that is exactly what they will do. But saying it doesn't make it so. Leaving aside the fact that a definition created to lump men together so they are easier sales targets has no basis in reality, what is the point of trying to find characteristics shared by all men? If not to sell them more things, it would only seem useful as a way to identify outliers who aren't quite masculine enough.

All of which brings me to an inevitable conclusion: forget about masculinity because there is no such thing. Some men are short and strong and some are tall and unable to bench press more than 10 lbs. Some men are cautious and aggressive while others are fearless and shy. Some men are ruggedly handsome but have a lot of self-doubt about their looks, and some men would not be considered good looking but carry themselves with plenty of confidence. The point is, all of us are men, all of us are worthy of being recognized for our strengths, and none of us should hold ourselves up to a contrived standard of what it means to be a "real man." Focus instead on being true to yourself. If we really need a definition of masculinity, how about this: being a real man means embracing who you really are and not trying to change aspects of yourself that don't fit someone else's definition of masculinity.

Joe Szurszewski
Board Chair


Library Corner

–– Jim Heaney, Librarian

We have a unique and extensive collection of books on men's and general topics which can be checked out by members of the Men's Center. Our periodicals include:

  • Fathering Today
  • Men's Health
  • Men's Journal
  • Lavender
  • Transitions
  • Voice Male.

The books in the Men’s Center Library are sectioned off into 14 categories.  These categories are: Fathers, Children & Families, Fiction, Gay & Lesbian, Health & Therapy, Humor, Men’s Movement & Masculinity, Men’s Stories & Poetry, Miscellaneous, Relationships & Friendships, Reference, Relationships & Friendships, Sexuality, Spirituality, Valued Elders, Women. 

The Men's Center is proud to have a signed copy of Timothy Young's recently published To the Palace of Kings. Timothy is very active in the mens movement. This is the book which was referenced in the last Men Talk.

The Men's Center Staff and Key Volunteers

Office Manager -- Randy Genrich
Office Assistant Mgr-- Bryon Wistrom
Anger Mgmt Director-- John Hesch
Office Volunteers -- Rick Charlson, Jim Heaney, Dick Madigan
Librarian -- Jim Heaney
Donation Pick-up Volunteers --
See chart in kitchen area

Board Chair -- Joe Szurszewski
Board Vice Chair -- Tom Weaver
Board Secretary -- Norm Petrik
Board Treasurer -- Rick Charlson
Board Member -- Jim Heaney
Board Member -- Ken Knoll
Board Member -- Andy Mickel
Board Member -- Damon Starks
Alternate -- Todd Fogelberg
Alternate -- Harry Greenberg
Alternate -- Malik Holt
Alternate -- Dave Webb

MenTalk Editor -- Bill Dobbs
MenTalk Production -- Bill Dobbs
MenTalk Here/There -- Andy Mickel
MenTalk Advertising -- Bill Dobbs
MenTalk Mailing Coord -- Scott Benson
MenTalk Labels/Database -- Scott Benson

Program Committee, Chair -- Norm Petrick
Wednesday Present Coord --Randy Genrich

Wednesday Present Publicity -- Rick Charlson

Finance Committee, Chair -- Rick Charlson
Finance Committee Chair -- Rick Charlson
Fin Comm Grant Writer -- Malik Holt-Shabazz
Fin Comm Memberships -- Andy Mickel

Outreach Committee, Chair -- Rick Charlson
Pride Festival Coord -- Damon S and Dave W
Media Publicity Coord -- Rick Charlson
Outreach Booth at Shows -- Randy Genrich, Andy Mickel, Malik Holt-Shabazz
Librarian -- Jim Heaney
Web Site/Technology -- Bill Dobbs, Andy Mickel, Ken Knoll, Joe Szurszewski
E-mail Responders -- Scott Benson, Rick Charlson, Bill Dobbs, John Hesch, Andy Mickel, Joe Szurszewski

Anger Mgmt Director -- John Hesch
Anger Mgmt Grant Writer -- Bob Anderson
Anger Mgmt Publicity -- John Hesch
Anger Mgmt Steer Commit -- Bob Lundberg, John Hersch, David Giancristforo
Anger Mgmt Facilitators -- Tom M, Michael K, Jim K, John H, Art H, Bryce K, Pat G, Dean G, David E, Hoske R, Cory C, Michael I, John C, Lee C, Norm P, Bob L, Bob A, Harry G, Howard B, Tom F

Support Group Coord -- Norm Petrik
Support Group Database -- Dave Webb
General Men's Issues -- Randy G, Jerry O
Addiction Busters -- Tommy J
Gay Issues -- Pat K, Bruce K, Ranslow Z
Transitions --Scott, Richard S.
Divorce/Uncouplng -- John M, Greg D, Gerry W
Sexual Trauma & Abuse Survivors -- Jerry B, Kathleen M
Bi-Men & Gay Issues -- Leo P, David W, Damon S.
Healthy Sexual Boundaries -- Bobby S, Tommy J
Healthy Sexual Boundaries East -- Bobby S
Healthy Sexual Boundaries Tues -- Rich P, Bobby S, Tommy J
Retirement -- Norm P

Call our Office Manager at 612-822-5892 and ask how you can help.
We have been a vital part of the Twin Cities community for decades,
and almost all of our services have been provided by volunteers like you.