About Dr. Minor | Interviews

Interviews

Dr. MInor has appeared on talk shows and has been interviewed in on-line and print media. Read below interviews with Dr. Minor about his work and writing.

 

 

 

 

BlogTalkRadioListen to Dr. Minor's Interview about When Religion Is an Addiction on HAMS Blog-talk Radio

July 7, 2011


As I Am Radio

Listen to Dr. Minor's Interview on
"As I Am.fm" Radio

May 27, 2010


Dr. Minor interview on Whosoever.org
"When Religion Becomes an Addiction : An Interview with Dr. Robert Minor"

November/December 2007


 

Interview on Sirius OutQThe Michelangelo Signorile Show Interview with
Dr. Minor about When Religion Is an Addiction

SiriusOutQ, August 15, 2007


Dr. Minor interview on Whosoever.org
"Raising Up Prophets to Society: An Interview with Dr. Robert Minor"

May/June, 2005

TOP OF PAGE


Dr. Minor interview in Echo Magazine (Phoenix, AZ)

More than Minor considerations
KU professor tackles limits of gender roles in Scared Straight
By Liz Massey

For Dr. Bob Minor, being "scared straight" is something far more harrowing than the 1970s video series of the same name, which was designed to keep teens out of jail by having convicts describe the horrors of incarcerated life. Living a "straight" life requires an incarceration of our humanity, he might say.
    Minor, a religious studies professor at the University of Kansas and openly gay columnist for the Liberty Press Kansas City, set out to write Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People and Why It's So Hard to Be Human, after a decade of leading "Understanding Homophobia" workshops for church, civic and activist groups throughout the Midwest. The issues of homophobia (which Minor defines as "fear of closeness to our same sex") and anti-gay oppression are rooted, he asserts, in the "straight" role, which is installed like software and is the dominant "operating system" for American culture.
    "Straight" doesn't refer to heterosexuality, Minor says (although it is the only acceptable sexual orientation); rather, it is the set of expectations and rules that place men on top in this culture, as oppressors of that which is not associated with being a "real man." Everyone else, including women, children, gays and others defined as "non-men," are beneath them, defined as victims.
    I talked to Minor, who was the professor for a religion class I took many years ago at KU, by phone and e-mail about the themes covered in the book.
Echo: "Opposite sexes" is a term almost everyone uses to describe males and females. What, in your view, is wrong with this phrase?
Minor: "Opposite" implies that there are only two distinct genders, not recognizing all of the possibilities that are transsexual and intersexual. It also keeps men and women separate with the belief that they cannot understand each other. In addition, "opposite" is more than just saying these two binaries are different. It implies being "opposed" to each other.
Echo: What does it mean when men relate to each other as oppressor-to-oppressor, as you say all men are conditioned to do?
Minor: It means that a man will have deep fears about making himself vulnerable to another man. That does effect gay male relationships around intimacy and trust.
Echo: Do women ever relate to each other in that role?
Minor: Women "should" relate victim-to-victim under this model. That means they will either compete to be the best victim of the sexism, or will have difficulty accepting valuing from their female partners and the value of self-worth. They will be missing that male approval at a deep level.
Echo: You mention in the chapter on how the straight role is installed that you believe studies of 4-year-olds that purport to show that gender roles are "natural" actually demonstrate how effective the conditioning is. What do you think a non-straight-conditioned childhood might look like?
Minor: It would be more "child-like." In our culture, with its adultism, that sounds like a bad thing, but remember that acting "grown-up" means following the conditioning.
    [Children] would be free from the limiting roles and thus free to pursue whatever talents they have. Boys could express their nurturing abilities and girls could express their power and strength.
Echo: What can we do to avoid installing these gender roles in our GLBT-parented children?
Minor: First, GLBT parents need to recognize that they are whole and compete human beings. The only reason our society needs to claim that children need a father and a mother is so they can have models of the dysfunctional, conditioned gender roles. But any person who is showing their total humanity can model what it is to be a full human being to a child. That's all a child needs.
    We need to be parents who are also activists. Besides rejecting gender stereotypes we impose on our children and other straight-acting approaches to child-rearing, we would need to model how to change society. Children ... need to see how to be agents of active change.
Echo: When you discuss "how to be gay" in your book, you use Urvashi Vaid's term "virtual equality" for the way gays are treated — and perhaps are striving to be treated — by "straight" society today. Why is that?
Minor: The victim role causes us to settle for a virtual equality, not a real equality. It causes us to make new closets such as (repeating the statements) "I'm just like you except ..." or "I just happen to be gay." It causes us to hide our sexuality and the fact that we are sexual beings. We settle for crumbs and not full valuing.
Echo: You spend a lot of time describing how many in our community are living the "gay victim" role, as opposed to actually being the target of anti-gay hatred. How different do you think our political organizing would look without this lens of victimhood?
Minor: We would be more effective, less angry, less burned out, have less fighting among ourselves, have less drama in our community. We'd assume the best of each other and act on that basis rather than expecting the worst.
    We'd look more powerful and self-sufficient to the straight community — which would make them face more of their homophobia. We'd have fewer addictions. And we'd be more playful as well.
Echo: How can gays support all people as they step out of "straight" life?
Minor: We have to be public about rejecting the gender roles. We have to end sexism because it is the key idea. And we have to be gentle on ourselves as we do it.

November 23, 2001

TOP OF PAGE


Dr. Minor interview in Gay Today about Scared Straight

October 1, 2001

TOP OF PAGE


Dr. Minor interview in Gay Today about Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society

November 1, 2003

TOP OF PAGE


 Dr. Minor interview in Midwest Times (Kansas City, MO)
 
Dr. Robert Minor: Gay & Healthy In a
Sick Society

Local Author releases groundbreaking new book

by Gaby Vice, Staff Writer.
 
I have had the distinct privilege of having Dr. Robert Minor as not only a friend, but a mentor and colleague, for over two years. Bob is one of those rare human beings who is so comfortable with who he is, and as a result so human and inspiring, that it is hard for his many great qualities not to rub off on those around him. After reading Gay & Healthy, I sat down with the good doctor and asked him a few questions.
Gaby Vice:  Why did you decide to write Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society?
Robert Minor:   I have gotten a lot of requests for reprints of my columns that appear monthly on the critically acclaimed GayToday.com and in Kansas' Liberty Press. In addition, this collection allows a larger audience to react to them. I've been writing the column since 1998 and never missed a month. The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. I also have an email list of people who receive it around the country every month and then forward it to others. I'm excited about LGBT people thinking more seriously about their own value and importance (because they are LGBT) to our society.
GV: How is it different from Scared Straight?
RM: First, the chapters are much shorter, but also it's written to LGBT people to raise the issues that affect us, not to sit around and complain about what the radical right is doing, but to reflect on our reactions. Scared Straight was more of a book that you read from beginning to end, one chapter follows from another until the final chapter suggests a solution. It's been very well received and was a finalist for two awards: a Lambda Literary Award and the Independent Book Publisher Award. You can pick up Gay & Healthy, read a 1100 word chapter and put it down. You can read by topic if you want. I think that's part of why it's been catching on so quickly and hasn't even been out a month.
GV: Can you briefly tell me what Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society is about?
RM: The main theme is that LGBT people are poised to change the world, to get society out of the very sick condition it's in. There's nothing wrong with anyone that has to do with their sexual orientation. The problems we have and that we act out on other LGBT people are a result of society's conditioning, the same conditioning that keeps heterosexual people in the critically ill, straight-acting closet that ultimate destroys them. Our problems tell us about society's sickness and its very sick institutions. LGBT people are fine. Society is critically ill and in denial about it.
GV:  Who is your target readership?
RM: Lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and transgender people. I hope women will read it even if it's by a man. After all Scared Straight is used as a textbook around the country in Women's Studies courses. I'm going to James Madison University in Virginia in late January to meet with students and faculty who use it.
GV: What do you most want people to come away with after they read it?
RM: I want LGBT people to really value themselves and their insights. I want them to be more creative and stop valuing and aping straight society. I hope they will see that they live in a very sick society and are healthy in comparison. That's just the opposite of what society wants us to think about ourselves. Society wants us to believe that we are the problem and that we have the problems they don't have.
GV: How have you changed since Scared Straight, and is this reflected in the new one?
RM: I've become even more convinced that LGBT people can be a healthy alternative to our society's sickness about sex, relationships, friendships, and much of the human condition, if they don't decide to blend in and hide behind the same straight roles that heterosexual people are more and more finding stiflling of their humanity.
GV:  How has the LGBT community & its issues changed between books?
RM: I think we've become more complacent because of some of the strides we've made. I think we are more divided (which mirrors the increasing divisions of the larger society by class, race, gender, and age). I think we've become more sophisticated in our addictions but no less addicted. And I think we've become more homophobic and sex-phobic. We're still having as much sex as ever but finding it less satisfying because our society is so sick about sex and it's rubbed off on us.
GV:  You're doing a fair amount of promotion for Gay & Healthy. Do you enjoy that and where can people meet you while you promote the book?
RM: It's a chance to meet people, some of whom have read Scared Straight. And when they come up to you and say how important it was to them, that's what gives me great satisfaction. Promotion of Gay & Healthy started in the beginning of November, when the book first appeared, at Palm Springs Pride, then Miami, and next Atlanta. Most of the promotion will be next year. Of course, my recent night at the LGCC-KC this month was special with the proceeds going to the Center.
GV:  Where can people buy Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society?
RM: It's on line through the usual sources, through my website (www.fairnessproject.org ) and soon in the usual stores such as In the Life and Barnes and Noble on the Plaza. When the Center store opens, it will be there too, I hope.
GV:  On a completely different matter.. The Center is going through some very exciting growth.. as president of LGCC-KC, can you give us your take on these exciting developments and what the KC LGBT Community can expect from the Center in 2004?
RM: I'm excited about the changes and all of the people that are responsible. When Jamie Rich and I shook hands in the summer of 2001 and said "I'll do it if you will" and when we opened up the facilities on November 1, 2001, we had hope that the Center would be seen has having a unique value to the community and its many LGBT organizations, but did not envision the fast growth and outpouring of support. People have come forward to contribute their ideas and talents, and their financial resources. The Center began as a clearinghouse for information but has really become a center for the community. As President I can sit back and watch the many involved people contribute. With the addition of a Coordinator of Youth Services and a Coordinator of Community Services, there's so much more we can do.
GV:  Anything else you would like to add?
RM: Just "thank you" to so many in Kansas City and around Kansas and Missouri for all the great local support I've gotten. There are too many to name. That's been so important to me. I remember my back home  family wherever I am around the country. I couldn't be located in a better place. And, one of the happiest things has been that my publisher allows my partner, Gary, to design the covers and layout for the books. That's an unusual situation in the publishing world. So, Gary's talents are a part of all that I do-- and that couldn't be nicer.

November, 2003

TOP OF PAGE