Today I would like to present and alternative identity for homosexual men that are disgusted or disillusioned with the 'gay' identity and scene. That new alternative is that of an Androphile. Androphilia, or androsexuality, describes sexual and or romantic attraction to men and masculinity.
The author, Jack Malebranche, real name Jack Donovan, argues that Androphilia is a rejection of the overloaded gay identity and a return to a discussion of homosexuality in terms of desire: a raw, apolitical sexual desire and the sexualized appreciation of masculinity as experienced by men.
From the Free Library:
Androphilia by Jack Malebranche Scapegoat Publishing 15608 S. New Century Drive, Gardena, CA 90248 9780976403586, $12.95 www.SCBDistributors.com
Jack Malebranche, the author of Androphilia: A Manifesto Rejecting the Gay Identity Reclaiming Masculinity, is a bisexual man who prefers the company of and sexual relations with men--to the extent that he shares a long-term sexual and personal bond with another man. Yet he emphatically rejects the label "gay" because in today's culture the concept of "gay" has become intermingled with the concepts of feminization, abandoning masculinity, underachievement, and irresponsibility to the lengths of false victimhood.
Androphilia: A Manifesto rejects the baggage-laden gay identity, and calls for humankind to recognize homosexual desire as apolitical.
[He writes:]The Gay Party tells us that we homosexuals must band together to fight against high-school bullies, and to encourage kids to 'come out' and ghettoize themselves into little gay support groups where they can become conversant in Party dogma and avoid ever having to learn to deal effectively with their straight peers....The Gay Party insists we learn that we are victims of heterosexual oppression, and imagine that everyone is out to get us.
Malebranche prefers to substitute the word "androphile" for "gay" to describe himself, as he is an unrepentant advocate of the positive aspects of masculinity and male culture. Androphilia: A Manifesto does not attack or criticize those men (homosexual or heterosexual) who want to emulate effeminate qualities.
The crux of matter is not that men should be forced to be manly, but rather that the majority of them simply are manly, and should not be pressured by the gay culture to despise or reject their masculinity. Nor should a man's sexuality automatically define his hobbies, his politics, his interests, or who can or cannot be his friends. Though readers, regardless of gender or sexual orientation sexual orientation may not agree with all Androphilia has to say, Androphilia is invaluable for its core messages of being self-reliant and true to oneself, and for its frank discussion of whether "gay marriage" (as opposed to less radical measures like domestic partnerships, which are more likely to be successfully accepted nationwide) is needed at all to govern same-sex relationships incapable of producing children who are the biological offspring of both parents.
From Heathen Harvest:
Jack Malebranche was certainly not looking to make friends within the worldwide and ever expanding “Gay Community” when he set about writingAndrophilia. Much like the massive upheaval of Lutheranism, Androphiliathreatens to collapse the “Gay Identity” in upon itself revealing a new ideal by which to lead the homosexual community forward. Jack has come to liberate homosexual men from the trappings of sissydom by revealing the inherent but largely shunned masculinity in many homosexual males.
Written like a man impassioned to rescue his people who have been led astray to wander a barren and desolate domain divorced from their very nature Jack rains down blow after blow on “Gay Culture” breaking away the definitions and inhibitions of social and political agendas revealing the raw and undiscovered force of the true homosexual male identity. It comes as no surprise that such an ambitious declaration would find a home with Scapegoat Publishing whose motto reads “Blame Us.” No doubt with a title like roots. Androphilia – A Manifesto “Rejecting The Gay Identity, Reclaiming Masculinity most of the magazines and publishers within the “Queer Press” would find Jack’s revolutionary ideas to be a threat to their investment in “Gay Culture.”
So what is Jack really attempting with Androphilia and is he successful? With so many books attempting to hand homosexual men theories on identity, community, sexuality, etc. is Androphilia a revealing or relevant voice in the din of self help books and feel good declarations of homosexual elitism? Testifying as a man loving homosexual I am compelled to declare this as one of the most relevant books on the subject of homosexuality that I have ever read.
Jack leads the reader on a journey buffered with historical and social references that trace the progression of attitudes and ideas about homosexuality and the men who participate in it from the glorified days of such masculine homosexual icons as Alexander the Great to the modern day gay ideal of female and feminine idealization. Through various approaches and angels Jack explores the historical / social progression of homosexuality becoming related to effeminate behavior and the eventual progression of homosexual males being defined as something “other” than their heterosexual male counterparts. This distinction has had devastating consequences leading homosexual males to become identified with anything but traditional masculinity in the rag tag rush to establish a new identity.
As naturally masculine homosexual male I found Jack’s book to be the missing link in my own life journey. Androphilia casts out a rescue rope to those of us floating in the ocean of “Gay Culture” adrift and alienated from the deification of femininity and the celebration of all things sissy and trivial. In order to break these stereotypes and liberate the queer community from these chains of self-imposed restriction Jack has had to deconstruct some of the highest held tenants of “Queer Culture” such as the myth that homosexuality is not a choice. Jack discusses how homosexual men in past centuries chose to marry women and have productive families whilst ignoring their homosexual impulses or else acting on them in secrecy. This proposition that homosexuals have choice as to whether they act upon such sexual impulses flies in the face of the “Queer” agenda yet no one can deny that having sex with anyone is indeed a choice driven by sexual impulse.
The book is filled with many such taboo ideas that threaten to deconstruct the current Gay Rights political agenda. Though some may see this as threatening I found the idea empowering that I choose to share my flesh with men rather than being victim to some uncontrollable influence of nurture or nature that leaves one with a sense of victimization. Another revealing discussion is the idea that queer men lack respect in the eyes of their heterosexual male counterparts because they have largely abandoned the ideals and responsibilities of manhood and masculinity thus not making them men in the eyes of other men who shoulder the burden of masculinity. Ideas such as these reveal painful revelations which if addressed could heal the rift and alienation felt by homosexual from society and mainstream culture.
The core theory of the book is the proposition of a new identity titled “Androphile” which describes a male love of the masculine. This Androphileis in many ways the counter image of the modern “Fag”. The Androphileenjoys the company of his fellow man, enjoys traditionally male pursuits and forms of recreation and as an extension of this enjoyment of the masculine his sexuality is also indulged by enjoying the fraternal sexual company of his fellow man. This new “Androphile” identity is exactly what has been missing in the modern gay culture whose only emulation of the masculine is embodied in such staged like productions as the Village People who fall far from an authentic representation of masculinity. Jack is careful not to dismiss the effeminate queer man but rather offers those who fall outside this stereotype a shelter. Jack acknowledges that though some queer men are inherently feminine somehow we have all become defined as such leaving no place in queer or mainstream culture for the masculine identified homosexual male.
In addition to proposing some very compelling ideas and arguments Jack also offers suggestions for homosexual men looking to deprogram their queer / sissy identity and begin exploring their inherent masculine nature. The author discusses the roots of the “queer inferiority” complex and offers encouraging ideas on how to find your niche amongst other men regardless of their sexual orientation. By laying claim to traditional masculine roles, ideals, and responsibilities masculine inclined homosexual men might find that missing something that gay culture threw in the gutter as they stampeded into the mainstream spotlight.
I found Androphilia to be a gripping read. The book flows easily between chapters and the progression is nicely structured leading from one conclusion to another. Concise is another word which applies to the book. Wrapping up at a mere one hundred and forty- three pages Androphilia is anything but excessive. The author trims the fat and delivers his ideas without much waste of the readers time. Though the book is rather short the ideas inside may take the reader some time to digest. Some of the suggestions where so foreign to me I had to set the book aside for a week at a time in order to fully ponder the suggestions and allow my own thinking to readjust to the new ideas. At times I found myself rejecting some of the ideas the author suggesting only to later find myself agreeing after my initial defenses relaxed. And that is nothing to say about the discussions this books has spurred amidst me and my friends.
Lastly, this book is a worthwhile read not only for homosexual men but for any man. It is the first discussion about masculinity of its nature I have ever read and it left me wondering what we have yet to discover about ourselves as men in light of the feminist movement which has published countless books addressing the reality of womanhood.
I thank Jack for going out on such a tenuous limb to write and publish this much needed manifesto and I encourage all the men and women reading this to purchase a copy and allow your hard set ideas about masculinity and self under go the trial of Androphilia! For very dismissive or denouncing review this book might receive in the mainstream queer press it is sure to be held in high regard by the many refugees of “Queer Culture.”
Matt Moody in the Gay and Lesbian Times:
“I am not gay.” Jack Malebranche’s first four words hooked me from the start – an epiphany, a rallying call, a simple declarative statement that revoked the emasculating and encapsulating power of the word, “gay.”
As a manifesto, Malebranche’s Androphilia: A Manifesto Rejecting the Gay Identity Reclaiming Masculinity asserts a point of view I’ve long shared which is that despite my personal sexual preferences, I really have very little in common with so-called gay culture – a culture broadcasted, controlled, and encouraged by the Gay Party, a radically leftist group of past counter-cultural rebels who have now congregated into a truly corporate machine, rolling dollar after dollar into special interest legislation bent in one direction, not open to dissent or self-reflection. It’s a party so desperate for normalcy that it ignores the many problems plaguing its own members – a disparate hodgepodge of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and myriad other confusing neo-liberal labels too complex and arbitrary to list, a party so hungry for acceptance and inclusion that it consistently seeks approval and acknowledgement from a society that would rather see it disappear.
Androphilia as a concept is a rebuttal of the word gay and everything it connotes and promotes. Per Malebranche, “the word gay describes a whole cultural and political movement that promotes anti-male feminism, victim mentality, and leftist politics … gays stand for the notion that sexuality engenders ethnicity and complete social identity.”
Androphilia, on the other hand, is at once a rejection of the gay identity and its clichéd effeminate stereotype, and reclamation of masculinity via the quest for an authentic masculine identity. Not the uber-queer choose-your-own-form-of-masculine definition, which is often just another way to say effeminate, and not the hyper-masculine invention by leather men and bears which is just another form of drag, but a qualified masculinity based on physical, essential, and cultural elements outlined in the text.So the book addresses how reclaiming a masculine identity is necessary to counteract the negative and effeminizing forces of modern gay culture. It promotes a masculine ideal of self-reliance, independence, and personal responsibility through achievement, respect, and integrity. Best of all, the author suggests that men should build alliances with other men, including heterosexual men. Androphile men should develop strong relationships with heterosexual men, not just others with the same preference. Because the fact of the matter is, the forces emasculating gay men are doing the same to straight men. If you disagree, think about the political-correctness of metrosexuality and other gender blending in today’s popular culture. The author’s belief is that only through building an alliance with other masculine men will the tide turn in the favor of reclaiming and establishing a masculine identity again, for all men, yet especially for men who love or prefer men –androphiles.In this age of squalid political correctness, to speak out as a homosexual orandrophile against organizations such as the HRC or GLAAD could be equivocated by some as biting the hand that feeds you. However, the named powerful organizations do so little to counteract the negative characteristics and qualities of the loosely knit and contrived communities they represent.GLAAD glorifies effeminate affectations and representations of gay men as positive developments in the mainstream media. They aren’t. Effeminate gay men on television are like blackface actors in southern theaters during segregation. They do nothing but promote an emasculating stereotype that continues to further weaken gay men in the eyes of heterosexual men. HRC gushes about its achievements in corporations and political campaigns. Each organization touts ephemeral qualities of inclusion, diversity, and the intoxicating idea of equality. Yet anyone who speaks out against either organization out of a sense of pragmatism is castigated, shunned, or patronized for their dissent.Republican homosexuals are treated as villains. Libertarians are scoffed at. Constitutionalists are trivialized. Anyone who doesn’t agree with a feminist perspective is ridiculed. Masculine-identified men are labeled as internally homophobic. But it is worse than that. The current gay “culture” fosters young adults into a world of designer drugs, materialism, body dysmorphia – bigorexia and anorexia, classism and a plethora of other social maladies.The community is, in actuality, a disaggregated and forced collection of people who frankly don’t really like each other that much. Nor should they. If you disagree, ask a lesbian how much she really likes going to a circuit party – and perhaps she could take the kids, too! Ask a military officer how comfortable he or she would feel on a Pride float. Proud of what? The GLBT alphabet soup with all of its anti-war Democrats? Or proud of their service to the country, which seems to matter to gays only if you reached veteran status and came out? Online profiles for horny gay men tout list after list of racial, HIV-status, age, money and political preferences. Gay bars are segregated along the same lines. Do we really have that much in common, or are we just pretending to?The author studies and criticizes the rationale behind the research of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs and his urning theory on homosexuality and argues instead that there should be a more libertarian approach to sexuality, the same approach that resulted in the decriminalization of sodomy laws in the Western world. Greek culture, Roman warriors, and other non-gay forms of male relationships are examined to contrast with the current anti-masculine gay sexuality.Another critical point in the book is how men who disavow gay culture should also remove themselves from what he believes is a culture of victimization and being the underdog. He asserts that if someone defines themselves by their travails, they will never truly be free of them. Most GLBT people these days haven’t faced that much harassment, if any, so gay culture continues to promote a victim mentality even in those who have never been victims.Personally, the vindication I feel in reading this book is that finally, finally, another gay man is advocating what I’ve believed for years: the belief that men who admire or love men should be more responsible, not give into the effeminate gay cultural fad, avoid the personal, career, and social pitfalls common to those who live in a completely emasculated world, and build stronger ties with heterosexual men who share common interests.
The word gay has never described mere homosexuality. Gay is a subculture, a slur, a set of gestures, a slang, a look, a posture, a parade, a rainbow flag, a film genre, a taste in music, a hairstyle, a marketing demographic, a bumper sticker, a political agenda and philosophical viewpoint. Gay is a pre-packaged, superficial persona—a lifestyle. It’s a sexual identity that has almost nothing to do with sexuality.
Androphilia is a rejection of the overloaded gay identity and a return to a discussion of homosexuality in terms of desire: a raw, apolitical sexual desire and the sexualized appreciation for masculinity as experienced by men. The gay sensibility is a near-oblivious embrace of a castrating slur, the nonstop celebration of an age-old, emasculating stigma applied to men who engaged in homosexual acts. Gays and radical queers imagine that they challenge the status quo, but in appropriating the stigma of effeminacy, they merely conform to and confirm long-established expectations. Men who love men have been paradoxically cast as the enemies of masculinity—slaves to the feminist pipe dream of a ‘gender-neutral’ (read: anti-male, pro-female) world.
Androphilia is a manifesto full of truly dangerous ideas: that men can have sex with men and retain their manhood, that homosexuality can be about championing a masculine ideal rather than attacking it, and that the wicked, oppressive ‘construct of masculinity’ despised by the gay community could actually enrich and improve the lives of homosexual and bisexual men. Androphilia is for those men who never really bought what the gay community was selling; it’s a challenge to leave the gay world completely behind and to rejoin the world of men, unapologetically, as androphliles, but more importantly, as men.