Advancing Gender Parity Among Young Men

Initiative Healthy Masculinity Initiative
Grantee Partner Boys to Men Tucson
The Healthy Masculinity initiative is about providing a safe space for young men to express their innermost fears and feelings so they can transform their lives and the future for their children.

The idea for the Healthy Masculinity Initiative developed among Tucson social service agency leaders who want to break the cycle of sexual assault and domestic violence by supporting young men, engaging them as allies, and building a community culture in which teenage boys are safe to ask for help, express themselves, and become whole human beings. The goal of this effort is to develop a strategic, coordinated initiative that can fill persistent gaps in services, accessibility, scope, and scale within local efforts to promote health masculinity among boys and men, while advancing gender parity. The Healthy Masculinity initiative seeks to transform the conditions of support to improve outcomes for young men and masculine-identified youth in Tucson. Communities are strengthened when teenage boys are mentored and supported on their journey towards healthy manhood. 

The core groups organizing the initiative are Boys to Men Tucson, Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse, Chicanos Por La Causa, Goodwill of Southern AZ, Indivisible Tohono, and the University of Arizona Consortium on Gender-Based Violence. A larger network of 28 collaborators is engaged, with the expectation of many more participating, including faith-based organizations, native serving organizations, community-based coalitions focusing on at-risk youth, and groups working on criminal justice reform and rehabilitation, as the Initiative moves forward. 

We work with male high school athletes in schools who are primarily Latinx and indigenous. Approximately half of the coaches for the adolescent boys are white men, and the vast majority of the coaches resort to toxic models of masculinity in their interactions with the boys. Many of the coaches believe that having feelings is detrimental to their athlete’s performance on the team, and view displays of sadness/crying/depression as weakness.

Comment from a participant in the Community Readiness Survey

The biggest strength in these organizations is that they operate from a place of love. They have people working within them that believe in the work and the urgency of the work. People that have knowledge and understanding of the changes that need to take place and some methods in doing that work. A community network that continues to develop and grow and in turn provide opportunities for young men and boys to be their full authentic selves.

Comment from a participant in the Community Readiness Survey

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