Mr. Hetero Contest Part One

Yep, I travelled an hour by car with my very pregnant friend C. to the Mr. Hetero Contest held in Worcester, MA. So much to report on this event, but I don’t have much time right now. (I’m on chemotherapy patrol this week–damn cancer!)

Really it was a fascinating time. In essence Pastor Tom Crouse created a safe space for heterosexual men to be goofy and play around with what it means to be a heterosexual man.

It was like a straight drag show, where straight men let their hair down and explored their straightness and to some degree their maleness. They loosened up their straight-jackets just enough to relax and have some fun.

Of course they don’t need a Mr. Hetero event to do that but so often straight white men feel constrained in expressing themselves and rarely take the opportunity to look into their heterosexuality and masculinity.

I spoke with Pastor Tom after the event. He asked, “Was it mean-spirited?” I responded, no, I didn’t get that sense, but I did sense a lot of fear. In much of what Pastor Tom said about having to be politically correct and in their aggrieved cry to take back the rainbow (“We’re taking it back!”) I heard fear. Fear that something valuable is being taken from them, that rights are being denied, that some power and privilege they feel they’ve enjoyed has evaporated.

Hey, rainbows are big. They cover the whole sky. Really, there is enough rainbow to go around.

I have loads more to say, but wanted to get out a quick post. But as always in my travels, I met lovely people, funny people, people worried that their needs will not be met.

I also saw and heard dangerous messages. Some of the most dangerous and desperate acts are committed out of fear.

More later. Oh, and you can read Worcester Independent’s Mike Benedetti share his detailed account of the event.

This post has 10 Comments

  1. Michael Ditto on February 19, 2006 at 11:28 pm

    Chemotherapy? Cancer?

  2. Peterson Toscano on February 19, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    Yeah, Mike, my mom is going through a second round of cancer right now. She had treatments a year ago, but the damn stuff came back.

    She has treatment all this week. This will be the third set of treatment in 9 weeks. I’ve been able to get over to see them for each one. I hang out with her and my dad, help with the driving (about 180 miles round-trip each day) and sit with her during the chemo.

    Of course we all appreciate any prayers anyone would like to offer on her behalf.

  3. Anonymous on February 20, 2006 at 3:44 am

    >>but I don’t have much time right now. (I’m on chemotherapy patrol this week–damn cancer!)< < Hmmmm, am I the only one that doesn’t know what this chemo refernce is about? Is there an earlier post where you spoke about it? Just concerned…and a bit puzzled…

  4. Willie Hewes on February 20, 2006 at 8:42 am

    Thanks for the quick report. It sounds like a good thing done for the wrong reasons. Hope your mom will be OK.

  5. Jimbo on February 20, 2006 at 10:32 am

    Some of the most dangerous and desperate acts are committed out of fear.

    Reminded me of something my father said. He was in WWII and at D-day but avoided discussing it – the memories were too raw. One of the few things he did say:

    “People do terrible things when their lives are in danger”.

  6. Bob Painter on February 20, 2006 at 3:17 pm

    Glad it bombed.

    Thanks for going: eager to hear more…


  7. Boo on February 21, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    From Pastor Crouse’s blog it appears he may have asked you about that hate just so he could crow that “a homosexual activist” told him it wasn’t hateful.

  8. Peterson Toscano on February 21, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    boo, I wondered the very same thing. Interestingly enough he did not share all I had to say including how much fear I sensed in the room that night and my reflections on what that fear was all about.

    Although he encouraged people to ask gay activists what we thought about the event, he did not share our names on his blog. Perhaps he really doesn’t want folks to contact us.

    BTW, I met a man who posted here as Holland’s Opus who signed his name Pat to one of his posts. I put two and two together and introduced myself.

    He came in third in the competition and I think attends Crouse’s church. I enjoyed meeting him and his wife. Very nice and warm towards me and they seemed sincere.

  9. Contemplative Activist on February 21, 2006 at 10:18 pm

    Sorry to hear about your mum – I hope the chemo goes well

  10. Jimmy O on February 22, 2006 at 4:07 am

    I assure you that none of this was done out of fear, but out of love of the Lord! Don’t look too far into this contest guys, there was nothing hateful or fearful in any aspect of any of it.

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