The Precious Self-Esteem Our Boys Need to Survive

anthony carter

by Anthony Carter

To all the boys who may or may not be queer. The boys picked last in sports but first for the latest in fashion, entertaining, and tasteful decorating. The boys who couldn’t catch a football but instead could clean a bathroom until it sparkles and offer serious, heartfelt care to a sick sibling.

I salute you.

I salute us. In this culture, our gifts go unrecognized or at worse, get criticized and mocked. I salute all the boys like me who were different. Yes, we are here to stay and more importantly will be leading the revolution when the time comes.

Did I mention the time is now?

We are through waiting patiently for the all powerful “they,” whoever the they happens to be this week, to allow us the privilege to “be.” We have been quietly watching from the sidelines learning to survive a very hostile world that is not ready for us.

However, no one is ever fully ready for change. It pretty much sneaks up on you.

As a young boy and now older adult, I have spent my life seeking kindness. I witness so much cruelty, domination, and coercion in the world.

What are boys and men like me to do if there is no urge to dominate or be dominated? What to do when we would rather have a great conversation and a cup of coffee than an opportunity to one up a friend or colleague?

In this world, the thinking man is a problem man. As a person seeking kindness, it becomes difficult to hold out for this seemingly unattainable entity. It seems almost an impossibility trying to survive amidst a world that seems so set on destroying everything that you are.

Almost impossible is not the same as impossible.

Those of us who have survived childhood and didn’t give into the self-hatred that is so seductive when you don’t toe the line, know a thing or two about not only surviving but thriving. Within the harshest of circumstances, human beings hunger for and create beauty.

As a man/boy learns to thrive beyond a prescribed masculinity, we totally thrive by repeatedly creating beauty.

Our refusal to stop being, doing, and developing the things that sustain us is the most important step in revolutionizing our thinking, our relationships and our planet.

Hurray for the a-holes that bullied us and bravo to all the young males who survived it, didn’t recreate it, and learned how to not stop simply because a wall of sh-t fell on their heads.

Anthony Carter is a writer, actor and teacher. He is adjusting to life on the West Coast after years of being a theater rat in NYC.  He was recently interviewed for the premiere issue of Proud to Be Out (an online magazine) where he discussed gay bullying, self esteem issues and how to support our youth in their efforts to be recognized for their greatness. He can be reached at his website,




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