June 30, 2022

Resisting Man Box Culture with Christian Lopez

Christian Lopez joins Jonathan and Britt for an illuminating conversation about how men can learn to embrace vulnerability, softness, and gentleness in order to share their tender hearts, resist the patriarchy, and be better human beings. But most importantly they discuss all sorts of ways we can practice loving kindness in the face of cognitive dissonance, bigotry, and bias.

Join us on this wild ride, as we delve into the tough stuff and plumb the depths of our souls. You won’t want to miss it!


JOIN THE NOT GOING QUIETLY COMMUNITY:

https://www.notgoingquietly.today/

https://anchor.fm/notgoingquietly

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuDTpuU_60qvQhb1aOp8o9g

https://www.facebook.com/notgoingquietlypodcast

https://www.instagram.com/ngqpodcast/

https://twitter.com/ngqpodcast

Subscribe to the Not Going Quietly newsletter for behind the scenes, updates, sneak peeks of new episodes, and positive queer content: https://insights.notgoingquietly.today/

FOLLOW OUR GUESTS:

Jonathan Beal

https://jonathanbeal.substack.com/

https://www.instagram.com/_jonathanbeal/

https://www.youtube.com/jonathanbeal

https://www.tiktok.com/@_jonathanbeal

https://www.jonathanbeal.com/

Britt East

https://www.facebook.com/brittdawsoneast

https://www.instagram.com/britteast/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTGeWrvrfCAlq4oUPiEBTHQ

https://www.linkedin.com/in/britteast/

https://twitter.com/britteast

https://www.britteast.com/

Transcript

Jonathan [00:00:02] Welcome to Not Going Quietly the podcast where we inspire growth, beaten biases and get into all sorts of good trouble with co-hosts Jonathan Beale and Britt East.

 

Britt [00:00:11] No topic is off limits as we explore ways to help everyone leap into life with a greater sense of clarity, passion and purpose. Enjoy.

 

Jonathan [00:00:19] So get ready to join us. Just and courageous conversation, because not going quietly starts right now.

 

Britt [00:00:30] Hey everyone, welcome to Not Going Quietly the podcast for outraged optimists and heartbroken healers all over the world where we excavate all sorts of Syrian troops in the name of radical togetherness. I'm your host, Britt East and I'm here with my fantabulous co-host, Jonathan Beale. Jonathan, how the hell are you today?

 

Jonathan [00:00:47] I am cured. Obviously, I'm in a different location because it's me. And so there's always a different background. But I'm good. I'm good. And the weather's awful and it's, you know, good. How about you?

 

Britt [00:00:59] I'm the same. But we say the same thing every episode. I feel like because I'm in Seattle, you're in the UK, the weather's always horrible and it's almost over. Yeah, yeah, that's great. Well, I'm so excited to dive into our show today. I've been looking forward to this for so many weeks. I cannot tell you. One of my favorite people is on with us today, Christian Lopez. And we're going to talk about masculinity and what it means to be a man and what could be more what could be a more perilous topic than that these days. But we're all friends here, so it's going to be good and we're going to get into some really delicious, juicy stuff. So so let's dove in. Christian is a former baseball player and a professional baseball player who has now transitioned to the other side of the sidelines as a coach. But that transition was far from smooth or easy. Baseball wasn't just what Christian did for decades. It was who he was from the moment he began playing the game. At five years old, after he retired, Christian had no idea who he was or what he wanted to do without the words baseball player as his title. He tried his hand at becoming an actor, but decided that wasn't where his heart was. He tried to become a firefighter, but that ended in rejection. He tried becoming a life coach, but the fear of starting his own business terrified him. He went the corporate route, but he realized 8 hours a day at a computer was making him miserable. Finally, after a decade away from the game he loved, but also the game that contributed to his biggest heartbreak, he has come back full circle and decided to become a baseball coach and sports coach full time. Now he is on a mission to not only teach younger generations about the game he loves, but to help them realize they are more than just baseball players. They are good enough just as they are, and hopefully help them avoid the pitfalls and heartbreaks that he suffered. Christian Lopez, welcome to the show. We are thrilled to have you. How's it going?

 

Christian [00:02:58] Hey, what's up, guys? Thank you so much for having me, man. I should have now listening to that intro, I was like, man, I should have cut it down for you a little bit. That was a lengthy intro. But but it was so nice. It was so nice to hear somebody intro you like that. You know, I'm so used to on my podcast introducing people like that. So it was nice. It was nice to be in the in the in the other seat and hear that about myself. But yeah, thanks for having me, guys. I'm going to try as hard as I can not to look out my window and see the cloudless sunny sky and 70 degrees. Perfect. But I'm going to try really hard. Not to mention that blisters, man. It seems like it's gloomy where you guys are at, but I mean, you can't be this perfect Southern California weather. So I'm going to try try really hard not to mention it.

 

Britt [00:03:46] You know, I was going to be nice today, but that went out the window.

 

Jonathan [00:03:49] Yeah, the gloves are off, so.

 

Christian [00:03:51] Let's do it. Let's do it. Let's get in the ring.

 

Britt [00:03:55] Christian, you know, I'm a I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm a former professional classical musician, and I packed it in a couple of decades ago for all sorts of reasons for a corporate career. So I relate to what I'm inferring is your anguish and self-discovery at making these gut wrenching decisions, to set aside your dreams and having the courage and bravery to try all sorts of new things. Where did you find that courage to face up to the reality of your situation and implement whatever changes that you deemed necessary?

 

Christian [00:04:35] So in all honesty, I found that courage through my wife, through my family, through my friends, through the through the circle of people that I've surrounded myself with. If it wasn't for them, I would have been able to muster up that courage. No doubt in my mind, you know, it was because of their support, their love, their ability to see the best in me when I couldn't see it in myself. Because of that, I was able to muster up that courage. If it was just up to me and myself. I don't think I would have been able to do it. So, I mean, a big a big slab of that of that love and of that a big piece of that goes goes to them. Because without that, I wouldn't have been able to do it. So just my team, it's my team, you know, and I was a, I was in sports for a long. Long time and I was part of teams and I have the greatest team in my family and then my wife and and the people that I surround myself with. So they get a big a big part of that.

 

Jonathan [00:05:39] I really love that. And so any reason, if you've stopped me straight into the masculinity thing and I'm like, I love that because there's, there's, there's an element of accepting this support and accepting that love. And, and not only that, but leaning into it and asking for it and all of that wrapped up. And, and I see in my own experience a transition into being able to accept it, but being told that the lone wolves, but from a very early age and that we shouldn't accept support, we shouldn't lean on that and we shouldn't be vulnerable. I don't know that I have a question. Maybe it will appear at some point, as it often do, I suppose. What is your what's your experience with that?

 

Christian [00:06:33] Yeah. Like you said, I don't know how it is in the, you know, in England, which I think that I believe that's where you're from. Jonathan must make a mistake or correct me if I'm mistaken, but I'm sure. I'm sure it's it's very similar there, where you're where you're you're born a man and you're a young boy. And from a very young age, you know, you're taught these things like, hey, this is what a boy does. This is what a boy doesn't do. And especially, you know, I I've said this multiple times specially for a guy like me. I grew up my family's Cuban. I grew up in a Latino community that was number one. And then I grew up in a sports environment, you know, as an athlete my entire life. So being in those two arenas, those are two arenas where you're taught from a very young age, hey, you, you you got to be tough here. You can't show your weaknesses. Hey, you got to show your strengths. Hey, this is what a man is supposed to do, and this is a man's role. And these are women's roles. And we don't intertwine and we don't there's no, you know, gender neutral neutrality. There's none of that. You're a man. You do this, you don't do this. There are women. They do this. They don't do that. So so, yeah, that that was something that I had to overcome later in my life. But I was very lucky in the sense that I had a very, very close bond, close connection still to this. They do with my mom had a younger sister. I had all throughout my life, I've had a lot of female friends. So I was always, you know, I can be the macho, tough guy, jock athlete, super, super competitive, super athletic. But I also had a big part of me, if not just as big or if not bigger, that I was very sensitive and I was very soft and I was very intimate and warm and affectionate and caring. And I think I got that from my mom, from all the female friends that I had. So that was a big a big part of me. But even though I had I was I was a little bit more in touch with my softer, more feminine side than most men. It was still was still tough to overcome those those norms of, hey, you don't cry, you don't talk about your feelings. You aren't sensitive. You don't do this, you don't do that. So it took me a while to overcome. But that that part of me, that softer side of me, that's that's who I really am. That's why I've always been. I just kind of got away from that a little bit, and all I had to do was just return to that real, authentic part of me and let all that facade of, like, I have to be a tough guy and know all the answers to everything and be super macho. And I was just like, No, that's not me. I'm I'm more I'm more of this guy. I'm more of a sensitive type man. So, so just learning to let go of that facade, take off that mask, if you will, and just be my my true self.

 

Britt [00:09:15] I follow a bunch of active activists and men's work on Instagram and other platforms. And folks like Mark Green, I've noticed a term to coined a term called man box culture to describe the constraints that you alluded to that our capitalistic patriarchal society imposes on men to remain disconnected and affectionate and beholden to perpetuate the system of dominance sales and marketing, frankly, you know, just think about the way we gender all human connections as quote unquote feminine. And then we, on purpose by design, teach each other that anything feminine is inferior. And then we wonder why men struggle with relationships. I mean, that's being patriarchy, if nothing else. And, you know, I was hoping to you know, one of the things that delights me about you is that you're vulnerable and brave enough, courageous enough to claim your sensitivity. And what you alluded to is kind of a feminine side. What has that cost you in this man box culture?

 

Christian [00:10:41] You know what? And in terms of something tangible, I don't really think it's cost me anything because I've always been really good at surrounding myself, like I alluded to in the beginning with really good people and my family. Of course, they're great and my wife is great, so it hasn't really lost me anything. I don't think tangible. I would say what what it has lost me is, is authenticity and and being real and being real in front of my friends, in front of coworkers, stuff like that where, you know, a lot of times when I was, you know, still adhering to those norms and there's still situations where I struggle to really be authentic because maybe I don't know somebody that well, maybe I'm trying to make a good impression or something like that. You know, I still struggle with it when it comes to like, you know, somebody says something, you know, maybe a little misogynistic or maybe a, you know, a joke that goes a little too far or something like that, you know, just to kind of not be the one to speak up, you know, I struggle with that. You know, you don't want to be that guy that says, Oh, man, we can't say jokes around here. What are you too sensitive? What are you to joke and stuff like that? So I still definitely still struggle with that. But if anything, that's what it's cost me an opportunity to really, truly stand up for myself and what I believe in, even though it might go against the grain, even though it might go against what that group I'm in at the moment, what they believe. So maybe it's cost me opportunities like that, but anything tangible like relationships or job opportunities or friends or anything like that, I don't think it's really cost me much because again, I've made I've done a good job of surrounding myself with good people and people that don't, you know. And it's not to say that people that I surround myself with agree with everything I say or believe everything that I believe in others. There's really good friends that I have that see the world differently than I am, and we need more of that. Like we're too many of us are stuck in our own little bubbles where we have that echo chamber of like we just hear the things that we want to hear and see the things that we want to say. We have to be better about surrounding ourselves with people who have different perspectives, because there's people who see the world differently than me that I surround myself with. And they we might get into a really deep conversation. I'm like, Oh, you know what? I never I never I never saw it that way. I never saw it from that perspective. And it opens my mind up to solely a totally different way of seeing the world. But but, you know, if, if there's been situations or people or coworkers or teammates that, you know, I just, you know, you just don't feel that vibe and feel that connection with someone. I just don't make it a point to hang out with them or spend a lot of significant time with them. You know, I just kind of like to let those relationships or those acquaintances also kind of go by the wayside. And the ones where I feel that bond and I feel that connection and I feel like we can really have deep conversations. Those are the types of relationships that I nurture. You know, as my wife, obviously best friends and coworkers and teammates like that, those bonds that I really feel, I feel like I can have an open conversation where I can be vulnerable, where I can see things that aren't quote unquote unmanly or that are quote unquote unmanly. I can say them to those friends or to those people or to those teammates or coworkers. And I don't feel like I'm going to be looked at differently. I don't feel like I'm going to be judged. And those those are the types of relationships that I think all of us should aim to to foster is those relationships where you don't have to hide behind a mask, you don't have to hide who you are. You can say who you really are. The other person might not agree, and that's totally fine. That's totally cool. But just because they disagree, they're not going to make you feel like an ass about it. You know, those are the types of relationships that I think I've done a really good job of of, of fostering.

 

Britt [00:14:21] You know, you're in this sacred position now where you are coaching young boys and men and you have male friends, and so you are serving as a role model in all sorts of facets of your life. And I and you've had this amazing support network and foundation to explore, you know, all aspects of your energy and your being and, and to explore ways you can share that, even as even as you struggle in various moments to resist the patriarchy. As you were saying, I can't help but wonder, how can we support all men and boys in practicing, flexing or strengthening their muscles so that they can vulnerably share their tender hearts?

 

Christian [00:15:05] Just give them a space where they can really, truly be themselves. And you don't you don't make them feel like crap about it, because I think that's what you know, I think that's how we start off as young boys and as young girls, as just young people in general. We start off like if you just that's that's the part. And one of the parts I love about working with young kids so much is because when I'm around them, you're like, there's there's no I can drop can I drop some curse words on here? Yeah, there's no there's no bullshit, you know, there's no bullshit with these young kids like they are who they are. They're not pretending to be somebody cool. It isn't until they start to get a little bit older that, you know, we start to tell them like, hey, you can't do this. This is this is a no, no, this is wrong. Like you're going to make us look bad as your parents, yada, yada. But when you look at young kids are so authentic. They're so they're so real. And I as a coach, as a mentor, as somebody, you know, a little bit older than them, I want to foster that type of environment where I was like, Hey, you can be exactly who you are, but also mixing in some discipline and some, some structure, because I think there's too much structure and too much discipline. You raise kids who are afraid to be themselves or so they're so terrified of really speaking up and really being themselves that they hide that and they bottle that up for so long. But then if it's a little bit too loose and there's no structure and there's no discipline, then, you know, kids just do whatever and they get away with things and they they they think they can do whatever they want without any consequences. So I try to find that nice balance of discipline and structure, but also letting kids be kids and letting them be who they are. So for me, just just fostering an environment because I coach anywhere from like two year old kids all the way up to high school kids and, you know, just really fostering that environment. I especially focus on it with my high school kids because they're a little bit older. They're young man. They've had, you know, 15, 16, 17, 18 years of, hey, you're a man, this is how you act. So they've had they've been, you know, for lack of a better term, indoctrinated into that, like, man box, masculine culture, and especially in that arena. I really want to be that type of coach. I'm not a yeller, I'm not a shouter. I'll get loud when I need to, but I want to be that type of coach where when they walk into that dugout, when they walk into that locker room, they can really, really, truly be who they are. And they don't have to be afraid of it. They can come up to me and talk to me about anything, whether it's baseball, whether it's relationships, whether it's home life, whether whatever, whatever it is. I want to be that type of coach because the coaches have had the biggest impact on me were those type of coaches that didn't make me feel like an ass. If I messed up, did it make me feel less than if I said something? You know, if I opened up vulnerably now, they made me feel like I'm a person. I'm a human being. You're no better than me. I'm no better than you. And that's that's what I want to foster as a coach, because I don't know. I think that's the best way, you know, you can it doesn't matter what you teach or you teach math or history or science or whatever. I think it all starts with that, with that culture, that environment of, hey, you can be exactly who you are, you can mess up, you can say dumb things and we'll learn together. We'll grow together. That's the type of environment that I want to foster with my, you know, with my kid, with my with my players and just the kids that I coach.

 

Jonathan [00:18:24] I am and really love all of that creating space, especially for young boys to become fully rounded men or whatever they want to be, whoever they are. And and I'm going to go kind of really into the. The biggest stuff now. So bear with me. But I see so much anger and so much hate. And so much entitlement and so much fear and. Privilege in young men. That leads to really deep misogyny and and problems of. How do I describe it. Of. I don't know, just anger. Anger in men because because they didn't know how to express themselves, because they get caught in in the boxes and are taught by role models that are less than ideal, who are espousing ideas of can you have men leading or men being in control or men being in charge, especially white men, white cis men? And how do we how do we move out? Right. And this taught me that's going into my brain is taking me into into culture stuff. Really think it's great that we get to support kids now from getting stuck and following that path. But how do we how do we. How do we support men today who are there in and coming out of that in in dropping that in being able to express themselves.

 

Christian [00:20:18] Yeah. Again, it goes back to fostering that environment. It's funny. It just made me think of something that, you know, my wife always, you know, makes fun of me for. But, you know, my wife's a lot more introverted than I am. She's she's outgoing and she's got a great personality, but she's a little bit more introverted than I am. I'm like, I'll strike up a conversation with anybody. I'll say hello to anybody. So we'll be walking her dog around the neighborhood and I'll just randomly smile at people and say hello and be like, Hey, how you doing? How's your day? Hey, you know? And my wife just like, that's that's not her. She just doesn't she just she's just like, I want to walk my dog. I want to come back to our place, and I want to relax on the couch and with my dog and pet and watch, you know, the TV show, whatever TV show we're watching at the moment, watch them. Ozark. So she always, you know, kind of makes fun of me for that. Like you, you love talking to everybody and you say hi to everybody and I do. And part of the reason that I enjoy doing that is because you never know who you're going to be walking or walking across, you know, while you're walking your dog out in the neighborhood. And that simple smile, that simple hello might be the bright spot of that person's day and might make them feel like them. Nobody has looked me in the eye today. I haven't made an authentic connection with anybody today in that split second, even though it might not be a deep, authentic or a deep connection. Just looking somebody in the eye and giving them a smile and giving them a hello, it might it might cheer them up and might be like, oh, okay. I that person just said hello to me. I don't even know who that was. But it's danger. A stranger acknowledged me. A stranger made me feel like I was seen again. Maybe it's not super deep. Maybe it's just for a split second. But you never know. You never know what that act of kindness, just a simple smile and a simple hello might do for somebody. That's why when we were going through this pandemic and we had to wear these masks, I struggled so much because I love smiling and connecting with people. So I went. I had this mask on. I tried really hard to, like, smile with my eyes, so they obviously couldn't see me smiling. But I would like really try to squint my eyes like I was smiling really hard so people can tell like, okay, is this guy just staring at me or is he smiling at me? So so that's something that I that I really try to do. But, you know, Jonathan, going back to what you just brought up about the Incel community, probably like a couple of years ago now, my wife and I watch a documentary about some incel some some people in the Incel community. And, you know, I had only seen what I had what I'd seen in the news and media and heard and stuff like that. But watching this documentary, it really opened my eyes. And, you know, it's not to justify any of the things that some of these some of these men in these incel communities do, because they do some really, really terrible, heinous things. But watching some of the guys in this and how they go into their lives and then how they how they came to be in these communities like it really made me it really made me feel for them because at the end of the day, they're no different than you and I than us on here. They are no different than me being on a baseball team. They're no different than a kid getting sucked into a gang. They're just looking for connection. They're looking for connection. They're looking for a sense of belonging, which every human being at our at our core, that's what we're looking for. We just want to feel loved. We want to feel supported. We want to feel like we're part of a group. And that's what those guys are seeking, you know, being part of a group seeking some connection. And. And you fought them for that? No, we all we all we all crave that. That's that's part of being human. Some people find it in on sports teams. Some people find it in their community. Some people find it with family, whatever it is. You know, I'm and just watching things like that and listening in and things like that, it makes me just so damn grateful for the family that I was raised with, for the wife that I have. Because I for not for one single day in my life have I ever felt that I wasn't loved and I didn't belong. From the day I came out of the womb till this very day that I'm speaking to you guys, I have never felt like I didn't belong, you know? And that's what these guys are seeking. They just want to feel like they belong. Like somebody sees them, like somebody. Somebody loves them and supports them. And can you blame those guys for that? I can't. You know, again, it's not to justify some of the actions that they do because they want somebody to do like they're like, hey, look at me, I'm here. And sometimes they go about it in really, really terrible ways to get that attention and to get that love and to get that support that they're seeking. But I can't blame them for that, because I I've struggled with, like, you know, not loving myself and not feeling loved, even though I've been surrounded by so much love and support. There's times where I've gotten into dark holes where I'm like, Man, I'm not good enough. Nobody loves me. Nobody sees me. Like, where? Where am I in my life? And that's what these guys struggle with. So again, going back, Jonathan, to your question, is just building that place where they can be themselves, where they feel, where they feel seen. That's why I try to go out of my way to say hello to people. It might not be a grand gesture, but it might be the one thing in that person's day that that that makes them feel like, damn, I was seeing a stranger. A stranger. Acknowledge me. Look. I mean the eyes and smiled at me. You never know what's what spark, what fire that little spark can cause.

 

Jonathan [00:25:22] Yeah, I think that you kind of really there's a thing about male suicide rate as well and that being a kind of a loneliness epidemic among young men and. Yeah, I tell you, I think there's a there's a tendency to either and or dehumanize the people in those in those places and communities when actually what we want to be doing is actively humanizing them. Right. Mm hmm.

 

Britt [00:25:50] Yeah, but, Christian, I think you kind of wrecked our podcast. That was so beautiful. I mean. Guess, you know, we're we're a large percentage of our audience is queer. And so we know, you know, when you said that you have never gone a day without feeling loved, it was all I could do to keep it together, frankly. And I suspect that there's a lot of listeners like that. And I'm reminded of the Pride Parades before the pandemic, where YouTube videos were being passed around. And I'll I'll put this in the show notes. Everyone can see it where a straight dad got the idea to walk through the pride parade just on his own with the t shirt that said Free Dad hugs. And the response that he got from the queer people in that parade vitrectomy. I mean, seeing it on YouTube, like just what one guy could do with free hugs and how there would be there were people in their thirties, forties and fifties who lost it because they had never been hugged by their father or it had been years or for whatever mixture of reasons, they were brought to their knees based on the T-shirt of a stranger. And what I couldn't help but think about in your beautiful story was your simple, radical acts of kindness and the way that you are exuding this energy a signaling, safety and humor and love to broaden the range of masculine expression and implicitly challenge everybody who meets who they might be. Getting one set of messages all day from society that is maybe even further bolstered in their family life. And then they come across you, whether passing you, like you said, on the street, or if they're one of your kids that you're coaching and you challenge them with love just by exuding who you truly are. You're goofy, kind, sensitive, playful, fun, energy that is so beautiful. And I would love to find ways to help. US to support more of that, to foster more. But, you know, there's no more violent segment of society than straight men. And when you layer whiteness on top of that, it's really scary. And so even those of us in the queer community, those of us who've been deeply injured. By straight men. Straight men? Because I believe we're all in this together. That means the answer comes from all of us. I want to celebrate all that you're saying and all of who you are, but also find ways to surface how we can support more of that. How can we how can we foster more Christians out there? Hmm. Hmm, hmm.

 

Christian [00:29:01] Man, it's tough. It's. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know the perfect answer to that. But, you know, I'm doing the best I can. You know, I mean, with all the, you know, crazy stuff going on in the world constantly, I've, you know, over the past, you know, maybe a year or so or a few months or so, I've just made it made it a point to really disconnect from, you know, media and like even, like, social media and stuff like that, you know? My my wife works and works in news works in media. So if anything really important is going on, I know, I know. I'm gonna to find out about, you know, I know I'm going to find out about it and I'm going to hear about it. So, you know, and this isn't you know, this isn't to say I don't care about what's going on in the world around me because there's so many important issues that are going on in the world around us. But, you know, it's it's it's like, you know, it's like it's like, you know, somebody attempting to climb Mount Everest is just like you look at that mountain and you're like, Shit, how the hell am I ever going to climb that? What you got to do is like, what can I do? I can take one step at a time. So it's kind of, you know, the bigger world picture is kind of like my Mount Everest. And, you know, I've always been a type of person like, oh, I want to do some good in the world. I want to change the world. I want to have a big impact. But, you know, sometimes I think if you look at it from a bigger picture, it's daunting and it's scary and it's just like, how am I? How how am I me? Who am I to like change the world, you know? But you know where it starts. It starts with that little five year old that I'm going to go coach today. You know, it starts with having an impact on him and creating a little world, our own little world where he can be himself or she can be herself. And then hopefully, you know, that causes a ripple effect to the rest of the kids in that class. And hopefully five, ten, 15 years down the line, they grow up and they think, man coach Christian, he was really cool. Coach, you know, I want to be a coach or I want to have an impact on somebody's life just like the same. You know, the coaches that I've had in my life have had had an impact on me that same way. So I've kind of refocused my, you know, my, my view from like, hey, let's let's change the world. It's impact the world. No, let's change this little kid's life. Let's change this little girl, this little dude's life right here. And then tomorrow let's change that little kid or that little girl's life. And no, tomorrow will change his parents life, you know, make them see their kids a little bit different, you know, give them a different perspective on their kid. Like, Hey, your kids are really good kids. Take it easy on him. You know, he's he's not going to be a superstar athlete at seven years old. Just let them be himself or let her be yourself, you know? So just creating these own little worlds instead of looking at the bigger picture, that's the way that I go about it. And honestly and you know, to keep it just short and cliche, just be myself. And hopefully by being truly, authentically myself, I can encourage other young people to do the same thing. And it's you know, it goes back to, you know, I think, Jonathan, when you guys mentioned something about being a leader, you know, for me, being a leader isn't being a disciplinarian and yelling at kids and keeping great structure and doing all our stuff, being a leader to me, in my opinion, as being vulnerable, as being that guy that other people look up to and be like, You know what, guys, I fucked up. I'm sorry, my bad. I'll be better. How can I get better? You guys tell me, how can I get better? You know that to me as being being a good leader is not being afraid to fail. Not being afraid to say, you know what I sucked up? I need a little help from you guys. I might be the coach and I might be the leader, but what do you guys think? What do you guys think we should do? Let's let's brainstorm. Let's all get together and think of a good think of a good plan or a good strategy moving forward. That that to me is a good leader, not being afraid to mess up and admit your mistakes and admit when you messed up because that lets other people know if he can mess up, then it's okay for me to mess up, you know, and not making them feel like crap when they do. And that's how you learn. That's how you grow. You grow by messing up. You don't grow by being perfect that every single thing you do because then you don't. You never learn how to deal with adversity. You never learn how to deal with failure. I tell all the kids that I coach, I don't care if you fuck up. I don't care if you mess up. Because when you mess up, that means, hey, we can learn from something. Okay, let's take that message. Hey, this is what you did. Really good. But this is what you can work on. Let's work on it. Okay? But if you never mess up, then how do you ever learn? How do you ever grow? So I tell my kids all the time. Don't be afraid to mess up. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. That's what I get. That's how that's how I try to foster a good world.

 

Britt [00:33:27] I mean, I would love to be on your baseball team. That was amazing to work with. What do you think now? Obviously, I mean, you're a straight guy. You're not going to speak on behalf of all Street guys. We're not expecting that. And but what I am asking you is, based on your experience, especially in the locker room, which has kind of been, you know, a cliche as a hyper masculine behavior, what that means, what do you think it would take for strength cis men to widen their apertures of experience and really get to know queer people to to see us more than just their wacky next door neighbors adding color to their lives. But to see us as fully realized human beings. What would it take for a straight guys to go to queer movies? To go to queer experience queer art, to read queer literature, to have some sense of intercultural curiosity, to know what it's like to walk in our shoes immersed in the bias and bigotry we've experienced, to acknowledge that we have sex lives, and that if those sex lives make you uncomfortable as a straight person, that that's your issue, not ours. What would it take to more fully see us?

 

Christian [00:34:37] To take a trip to West Hollywood and go to the Abbey and just go dance all night with with a bunch of gay men around you. Like, I've had the best times at the Abbey and like some of those places in West Hollywood. Just don't be afraid to immerse yourself in a different culture. And in my opinion, this is just my opinion. There's no fact or science behind this. But in my opinion, I think the men who have the most homophobia are probably some of the men who maybe have a little, you know, homosexuality to them. And it's not to say that they're I don't know. It's not to say that they're gay or straight or whatever. They're just like they have some curiosities, maybe. But I just don't I don't understand that maybe somebody can help me understand this, but I just don't understand the extreme homophobia and the hatred and and just some of the nasty things people say about the gay community. It's just like, why? Why? They're just men who maybe love men or maybe want to have sex with men. What's what do you care? How is that messing up your life? How is that destroying your life? Why do you care if they're happy and they're not doing anything to ruin your life? Stay out of their fucking business. Why do you care? Why do you care? But I really I really think that a lot of men who have deep, deep, deep homophobia, there might be something in there that they need to explore. And but the thing is, we, you know, especially a lot of the very evangelical super religious communities, they make it a sin and they make it wrong and they make it nasty to be homosexual. So I think a lot of these guys, a lot of men might have these repressed homosexual curiosities, but they never act on them because they're like, no, I'll go to hell, or my parents will do so. Me or my community will to sell me. Would you rather be someone who you're not and be accepted by your community? Or would you rather be be really yourself your entire life and maybe find a whole brand new community? I just I don't know. I've never understood that. Maybe maybe it's growing up with with a sister who's gay, you know, maybe it's having that, you know, that exposure my whole life. But I've never understood it. Who love whoever the hell you want to love like I've never I've never even like seen I don't my sister is gay, but I never when I think of her I don't think of gay. I just think of she fell in love with a woman with an awesome woman. And that's how she fell in love with gay straight. Doesn't matter. She's just a human being who fell in love with another human being. And she happened to be a woman, you know? And I just don't I don't know. I just I don't I don't understand. I don't get it.

 

Jonathan [00:37:15] There's something in there that I want to share on. And whilst I think that, yes, there's there's a part of us that tends to push against things that are very similar to who we are. We hate the things in others that we see in ourselves. Right. And and and there's a part of me that wonders if it's dangerous to to play the game of, well, they hate it, therefore they must be it. Because I think there's a part of that that creates and sows even more division and furthers the gay agenda as well, which gives them more ammunition. And so whilst I absolutely agree that there's a there's a lot of repression going on and that perhaps there is a place that people get to look, I think there's there is a danger that in using that kind of language that it can it can be weaponized and actually create more harm. I don't know. I just wanted to present that as now I don't know what you think it is.

 

Britt [00:38:22] I think based on what you guys are saying, it sounds like an affordability issue, like let's take rightness and wrongness out of the equation to have a more interesting conversation. I suspect in our society of straight supremacy, white supremacy, male supremacy and box culture, dominance, capitalism and the stew that we all find ourselves in. Many people think or assume, rightly or wrongly, that they cannot afford to know queer people, to see queer people, to engage with queer people lest they incur the cost of street supremacy, which is punitive and dangerous.

 

Christian [00:39:06] You know, another interesting thing that I'm sure we talked about when when we did my podcast together, Britt, but you'd be surprised at some of the some of the things that that happen in a clubhouse, in a locker room with 25 naked men. Like there's there's some things in there that, you know, and then you see some of these men go out into the world and they're like super straitlaced and they're super macho. And I guess like, motherfucker, I just saw you swinging your nutsack, like, in the in the locker room, like a helicopter in front of 25 men, like. Doesn't mean that. Doesn't mean you're gay, but it's just like, come on, like. You. Come on. I know you. And I know who you really are. When nobody else is watching and when nobody else is watching. Except maybe your 24 brothers. That's who you really are. Exactly who you really are.

 

Britt [00:39:58] Exactly. Because the cost is not incurred. It's a sacred space. And whatever happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. I have slept with enough straight guys to know that there's a full range of sexual desire out there, regardless of what culture you identify with. And I can't help but wonder and this is a provocative question meant with love, because you were earlier, Christian, alluding to the deal breakers like you were saying earlier in the podcast. Let's find more ways to rule people in rather than rule them out, which is a beautiful sentiment. And I can't also help but wonder that. If our straight allies, coming from a clear perspective of our straight allies, are in part responsible for queer phobia. But because of all the behavior that they excuse on a daily basis. Mm hmm. Rightly or wrongly, because whatever they can afford, whatever they think they can afford, if their boss says something homophobic and they say, Well, I can't lose this job, so I'm going to let that comment fly or whatever. If our straight allies are in part for bolstering this this queer phobic system, the street supremacy that we find ourselves in, what should we as queer people require of what are the deal breakers? And you can play this game with anything, with white supremacy, with male supremacy. What should we require of each other?

 

Christian [00:41:29] Just just uncomfortable conversations, because a lot of these conversations are going to be very, very uncomfortable. But from those uncomfortable conversations, I've had them multiple times with multiple people, especially with my wife. You know, you get into you got into tiffs with your significant other and you might not speak for a whole day. And then you're like, man, fuck them. And they're like, Fuck you and like you like, you know, like, man, I don't want to have this conversation because I know there's a lot of shit that she's going to say and there's things that I have to say and it's going to be so weird and so awkward. But what I found with my wife is whenever we have, you know, whenever we get into our fights, into arguments and we have those tough, uncomfortable conversations, they friggin suck in the moment. They're they suck because she's telling me things that I don't want to hear. But I know I need to hear because I know they're true. And I'm telling her things that she needs to hear and she doesn't want to hear, but she knows they're true and like nobody wants to be in that uncomfortable situation. It sucks. But after we have those conversations, our relationship, I just feel like we're closer together. We, I don't know, it just. It just brings us closer together. And it, it it prepares us for, you know, later on down the road, like, hey, we just had an argument about that. We had a tiff about that. She told me she doesn't like this. I told her I don't like this and like, all right, let me be a little bit more conscious about this. So just having those really tough, vulnerable, uncomfortable conversations and I don't know how I think it's one of those things where you have to just jump in like there's no there's not really any preparation for I'm sure there is. But in my experience, it's just like you can't really prepare yourself for a tough conversation. You just got it. You just got to speak up. You just got to do it. And just, you know. Fostering environments, fostering cultures where we can have those tough conversations and just open up to each other and get us to realize, like, gay, straight, bi trans doesn't matter. At our core, we're just human beings who want to be loved. I know that sounds cliche and I know it sounds very Bernie brownish, but it's true. At our core, we're just human beings that want to be loved, you know? And if we can find that common ground, I think we could be a lot more. I don't even want to use the word tolerant because why do we need to be tolerant of other people? We just need to be accepting and we need to be loving and we need to see that you're who you are, what you look like, or what type of person you want to marry or have sex with. I'm going to see through that and I'm going to see into you, into your heart. You're a human being. You're a dude. You're a woman just like me. You want to be loved and you want to be you know, you want to have a community and you want to have all the things that I do, everything else. It's just other things that make you up. But I want to know who you are at your core. And I think if we can foster environments and foster cultures where we can really make that happen, I think that's the best way to go about that. So so yeah, I mean, it's, it's, it's going to be tough. I'm sure there's strategies and curriculums and structures to, to make that more feasible and easier to, to do. But I think it just starts with like just taking a look in the mirror and being like, who am I? Like, how can I be myself? Start with yourself. And I think because I think if you don't start with yourself, you can't really have vulnerable, uncomfortable conversations. Because if you don't know who you really are and what you really stand for, then how can you expect other people to bring that same honesty and vulnerability to the table? So you have to look in the mirror and start with yourself and be like, Who am I? What do I care about? What do I stand up for? And then just bring that to other people, bring that to conversations, and hopefully they can feed off that same energy.

 

Britt [00:45:16] I love what you said there about. And I would I would love to think that there are spaces out there where straight guys in particular. I mean, it's really gay. Guys could be in there, too. But I think straight guys in particular feel so safe with one another behind closed doors, they could come to one another and say, Gosh, there's this gay guy at work and I'm really struggling and just have so many opinions about him because this is how I raised and this is like, you know, what am I going to do? I would love to think that there is this culture of safety in some relationships out there where the straight guys feel like they're in a brotherhood, where they can vulnerably share their the judgments that they're carrying, the sack of rocks, they're carrying on their backs so they can start to take out one rock at a time and start to find the freedom from the man box culture and this weight that they're carrying around and can say, you know, how can I get. How can I get over this homophobia? Or How can I get over this misogyny? I hate the way that I talk to my girlfriend or I said something that was really rude and I just don't know how to stop. I hope that some of that's out there. I know street supremacy is everywhere and it's penalizing guys and preventing them from doing this and making it so unaffordable. I love the idea of starting with yourself and then radiating that sense of, you know, signaling safety so that people feel they can come to you. And then slowly you build a network and a group and that group grows and grows. And that's, I think, how cultures are changed.

 

Christian [00:46:48] Mm hmm. Yeah. And, look, not to get too into, like, the the politics and all of it, but it starts at the top. You know, if you have if you have leadership and you have people in power and in government who are, you know, trying to pass some of these ridiculous laws that go that clearly are meant to demonize and to belittle the the gay community, the trans community, the you know, when we have people in leadership like that who aren't willing to be open minded, who aren't willing to have those tough, uncomfortable conversations, it's going to be really tough. It's going to be really tough. So so how do we how do we get those in power, those in leadership, to be a little bit more open minded, to have those uncomfortable, vulnerable, vulnerable conversations? But, you know, I think I think instead of, you know, instead of looking at leadership like, hey, something needs to be done at the top, which I wholeheartedly agree that something needs to be done at the top. But if that's doesn't seem to be changing, it doesn't seem like we're getting much headway with with the leadership and those that are in power started at the bottom, you know, started at the bottom, started with these five year old kids. You know, and that's and that's where I go back to instead of looking at the bigger picture and how can we effect change instead of starting at the top where it's really hard to get to, you start at the bottom. You start you start fostering these environments and these cultures where you make these young kids feel safe. You make these young feel, kids feel connected. You make these young kids feel loved. And it's look, it's not about you know, I'm sure a lot of people will listen to this and be like, oh, you just want to be soft with these kids and give them participation trophies and all this shit. No, that's not what it's about. It's about making a kid feel loved and feel accepted and feel supported because that's what I got as a kid. And I'm so grateful for it. So grateful for it. And it's not it's like, you know, going back to coaching, it's not about, hey, I'm going to give this kid a trophy even though he they went 040 450 in the season. No, it's not about that. It's just about letting them know, hey, even if you go over 50, you never get a base set. You never win a single game. I still love you. I still support you. You're still you're still little Billy, whether you won 100 games or you lost 100 games, or whether you hit a thousand, whether you hit zero K, you're still Billy. You're and I still love you for you. I don't care what the hell you do on the field. You know, just last night, we had a banquet with our high school kids, and I told them and I've told them this before, but I said it in front of the parents. I don't care if we never win another single game here. I don't care if we ever win a championship. I don't care about any of those things. If these young men that we have right here in front of us, if they go on to be good dads, good husbands, good sons, good brothers, good uncles, good employees, good whatever it is, if they are if they go on to become good men, that's what I care about the most. Because if they go on to make, you know, play in college and play professionally and make a ton of money and they're super successful, but they're fucking assholes. I don't want that. I don't want to even associate myself with them. I'd rather they go on to become really good men in the world and in their community. That's what I care about the most. And that starts with fostering. That environment is like, Hey, we care about your accolades and your awards on the field. I care about who you are as a person. Now, if you're a bad ass on the field, then you go play in college and you go make a ton of money professionally and you're a really good person. I mean, I can't ask for anything more than that. I can't ask for anything more than that. So just fostering that environment, just building good, authentic, real men. And I think if we start with that or if I focus on that. I mean, that's all I can focus on because that's the only thing that's in my control. Everything else, what they go on and choose to do in the world, whether they go on to become good men or bad men, I can't really control that. All I can do is foster a good environment where hopefully they can really be themselves and just authentically connect with other people. Because I believe if you really genuinely connect with other people and you build that empathy, it's going to be really hard for you to be an asshole to somebody else. Yeah, there's going to be days where you get upset and you get mad and somebody cuts you off and traffic and you're having a bad day. I totally get that. But if you really foster an environment of empathy and love and connection, it's going to be really hard for you to look at someone else. It's going to be really hard for you to look at a gay man and be like, I fucking hate you because you sleep with other men and because you like other men. It's going to be really tough to do that because if you do, if you develop that empathy, you're going to be like, shit, man. He just he just. He fell in love with the dude. These are dude just like me. He's no different than I am. He just loves dude. So what? So what? He's a man just like I am, you know? And I just. I just want to. I just want to foster an environment like that. That's. That's my main. That's my main goal.

 

Britt [00:51:34] Or even if he is really different, he still gets a space to live in as much dignity and all that. You know, I think what you're saying, and I'm the language from a queer perspective, is why it's so important to invest as queer people, to invest in straight men. And that's going to be a controversial statement on this podcast. I get a lot of letters from people who complain when we talk about togetherness. I'm like, Well, you're in for a long road because that's the whole podcast, you know, because we're not going to change straight people by demonizing them, by shaming them, by blaming them. Yes, we need to build up queer culture, queer people and invest in that as well. I'm not saying and I'm certainly not saying to disregard or set aside all of the harm that straight men are inflicting on us on a daily basis. What I'm saying is that until we invest in them, unless we invest in their full personhood, they will never have the broad range of the expression, the sense of safety and security, the platform that Christian was talking about, to cultivate that sense of curiosity that flowers into empathy and understanding so that they then can see us as fully realized, complex individuals. Like I was saying earlier, unless we invest in straight men and help them feel safer and secure and know that their love is safe and secure from all facets of their life, then they're just never going to be able to afford the required work, the requisite effort to make this change. And that's why I love what you're doing, is because you're investing in this community. You're you're you're providing that implicit contrast, creating those pain points when they hear one set of rules about man box from their dad and they come to you as their coach and they experience a whole other side of manhood, there's a contrast in that contrast for some of your kids might be painful and challenging and cause them to question everything they thought they knew. And that's so beautiful. And that's how we create these safe spaces. And then that's how we start this ripple effect. That's my idea, honestly.

 

Christian [00:53:55] Yeah. No, no, I love it. I love it. And, you know, one of the things that I try to foster to, you know, through my podcast, through my coaching or whatever is especially with young boys, is just like, hey, it's okay to be emotional, it's okay to cry, it's okay to get upset. It's just like it's not it's how it's, you know, being curious about why am I crying? Why am I so upset right now? And then, you know, talking with them like, Hey, what's up, buddy? Why, why? What's going on today? Why he's so upset? Why are you crying? You know, and it's not like, why are you crying like a rhetorical thing? It's just like, hey, why seriously? Why are you crying? Why are you so upset? And a lot of time I've had, you know, little kids open up to me and they're like, I'm upset because you got the ball first and I didn't get to get it. And, you know, I try to break it down from like, buddy, it's okay. It's okay. Like, it doesn't matter if you get the ball first, you get the ball, second, you're still going to get it. We're still we're still going to participate. And then sometimes I'll just, like, whisper in the air and be like, Hey, you know what? Coach's favorite balls, a second ball. Anyways, that's fine. You know, just making them feel like, hey, it's okay, it's okay. And, you know, one of the, one of the things that makes me laugh the most is, you know, when when men are talking about like, you know, women, women either being in power or having more power or running businesses or being in government or running the country or whatever it is. You know, one of the things that cracks me up the most is when guys see like, oh, women, women can't women can't run the world. They're they're too emotional. I was like, dude, every all the all your anger and all your rage, where do you think that comes from? You think that's rational? You think that's logical? That comes from some. Deep seated emotion, maybe some insecurity, maybe some repressed trauma, traumatic childhood trauma or something, I don't know. But we're all being human is being emotional. Like, it's like I think us men have that have it so twisted that like everything we do is so logical and it's so rational, maybe to a certain extent. But there's so many things that we do when we scream at our wives and we scream at our kids. You think that's rational? No. That comes from deep place emotion, where you're frustrated and you're angry and you're lonely and you're I don't know, you're there's so many emotions there. And we need to just not that shit us because we're just as emotional as women are. We're humans. We're all humans. We're not robots. We're built on emotions and our feelings. But, you know, we've learned from a very young age, like no men. We're not emotional, we're rational creatures. They're emotion. That's all feminine. That's all women. That's all gay men know we have them, too. And the quicker we can realize that and the quicker we can accept we operate based on emotions as well. I think the more we can do some good work and make some good, good decisions and take some good actions because we'd be able to look in the mirror and be like, Oh shit. Or Is that emotion coming from Oh, it's coming from that. And the more inner work and the more we can look in the mirror at ourselves as men, I think the more the more good we can do. But I think we're so outward focused, we forget to go inside and be like, Hey, what's really what's really bugging me? Why do I have these weird pent up feelings about certain people in my community and just do a little investigating into that? But I just it sucks when like men are just like, Oh yeah, women are too emotional. It's like, what? That, that statement is probably coming from an emotional place. Like, do something, do some digging in there. So that's why I throw that out there.

 

Britt [00:57:08] Christian, we could talk to you all day. It's just them.

 

Christian [00:57:11] So I knew this was going to happen. I know I knew this was going to happen. We're going to reach the end. And it's just like, man, I still know.

 

Britt [00:57:17] It's such a pleasure to see you again and talk to you again. I want you to know that you have so much medicine to give these young kids. And this is true of all street guys out there who find the courage to be tender and soft, even if just for a moment to share their tender hearts and explore their vulnerability. Even if just with one or two people, even if it's just behind closed doors that is so potent. Given everything that you've lived through as a straight cis man, that is your gift to the world. Your vulnerability as a straight SAS man is your gift to the world. And you are healing so many people out there, Christian, that you're probably not even aware of. These kids that are on your team are just you know, I'm sure they're so enriched by the experience and we've certainly been enriched by talking to you. Thank you so much.

 

Christian [00:58:14] Yeah. I appreciate you guys. Thank you so much for having me on. I knew this was going to be a great conversation. And, you know, it's great when you go into something like this and you don't really have to prep and you don't have to really think about like, oh, what questions are they going to ask and answers am I going to give? We can just go like from like you said from the very, very beginning, this is going to be a casual conversation. This is what we need more of. We need more conversations like that, especially across the don't you call it a gender. Whatever line, you know, like gay men and straight man, we need we need more of this. We definitely need more of this. And just like I said, at the end of the day, does it matter who you're married to, who you're dating? It doesn't matter who I'm married to or who I'm dating. We're men with men in this world. We're human beings in this world. And that that is the jumping off point right there that makes us more in common than any other label. So so just just the willingness to have me on and have this conversation. Man, I'm grateful to you guys. Thank you.

 

Britt [00:59:08] Awesome. If you're in the L.A. area and you need a baseball team to play on, we're going to give you Christians and so you can find them in the show notes. Scenes just would be an amazing coach for your kids, you know, if you're in that area and it's just amazing, guys. So thank you so much, Christian for everything. Listener You've made it through another episode of Not Going Quietly. I'm so proud of you for sticking with us to these vulnerable, intense, heartfelt conversations. It's just been a wonderful time. I'm so glad you joined us. I'm your host producer with my fantabulous co-host, Jonathan Beale. Thank you so much. Take care. You've been listening to. Not Going Quietly with co-hosts Jonathan Beale and Brett East.

 

Jonathan [00:59:50] Thanks so much for joining us on this wild ride. As we explore ways to help everyone leap into life with a greater sense, clarity, passion, purpose and joy.

 

Britt [00:59:58] Check out our show notes for links, additional information and episodes located on your favorite podcast platform.

Christian Lopez Profile Photo

Christian Lopez

Baseball Coach

Christian Lopez is a former professional baseball player who has now transitioned to the other side of the foul lines as a coach... but that transition was far from smooth or easy. Baseball wasn't just what he did for decades, it was who he was from the moment he began playing the game at 5 years old.

After he retired, he had no idea who he was nor what he wanted to do without the words "baseball player" as his title. He tried his hand at becoming an actor, but decided that wasn't where his heart was. He tried to become a firefighter, but that ended in rejection. He tried becoming a life coach, but the fear of starting his own business terrified him. He went the corporate route, but he realized 8 hours a day at a computer was making him miserable. Finally, after a decade away from the game he loved--but also the game that contributed to his biggest heartbreak--he has come back full circle and decided to become a baseball and sports coach full time.

Now, he is on a mission to not only teach younger generations about the game he loves, but to help them realize they are more than just baseball players, they are good enough just as they are, and hopefully help them avoid the pitfalls and heartbreaks that he suffered.