About CMS

The Challenging Male Supremacy Project (CMS) is a grassroots collective in New York City, composed of men working to end gender-based violence, build transformative justice and contribute to broader social movements. We do this work with support from and in collaboration with local feminist, queer and trans justice groups, as well as Bay Area-based groups generationFIVE, generative somatics, and Creative Interventions.

We are committed to strengthening the capacities of men and masculine-identified people to challenge male supremacist practices, as one part of expansive movements for collective liberation. Central to this process is the creation of structured educational spaces for activists and organizers to develop shared feminist analysis and practice. CMS has led interventions in specific instances of violence, facilitated long-term group work with men, presented trainings and workshops, developed media tools and contributed to building a network of social justice and anti-violence collectives and organizations throughout NYC who are integrating transformative justice into their work.

The Challenging Male Supremacy Project (CMS) began in 2008 as an all-volunteer collective in New York City. Previously, the founders of CMS had each participated in community organizing, media-making and educational efforts focused on sexual assault and child sexual abuse, as well as concerted responses to specific instances of gender violence.

When we began to discuss the possibility of working together, we noticed something that many other people already had: the organizations developing community-based responses to violence were made up mostly, if not entirely, of cisgender women, transgender and gender non-conforming activists and organizers. Compounding our own sense of responsibility, many individuals within these organizations stated their desire for more cisgender men to take on the work of responding to violence.

We realized that we would need to initiate a process of transformative education in order for us and other men to enter into future anti-violence work with shared analysis, capacity and commitment. Accordingly, we facilitated our first Study-Into-Action (SIA) from May 2009 to January 2010, both to bring more men into this work and to meet an expressed need to challenge male supremacy within various NYC social justice communities. After completing the SIA, we shared our work at a public event in NYC organized in collaboration with participants and organizational partners, as well as in workshops and presentations at the 2010 US Social Forum and Allied Media Conference.

Building upon our experiences during the first three years of CMS, as well as the relationships and space forged in the first SIA, we developed a revised SIA program that ran from February to July 2011. The team for this second program grew from the original three facilitators to five, as we brought two former participants into greater leadership roles; the composition of participants also shifted to include trans men and trans-masculine individuals. Throughout 2012, we convened a series of workshops for past participants and their guests, in order to focus on specific topics of interest that arose in the previous SIA.

Since then, we’ve collaborated with friends and allies to create this documentation of our work, continue facilitating or supporting community-based responses to sexual violence, and convene gatherings to build transformative justice knowledge and practice in NYC.


Embodiment, intersectionality and transformative justice are the foundations of our collective work. Informed by these frameworks, we engage men and masculine-identified people to shift our practices toward greater alignment with feminist, queer and trans justice movements. We partner with organizers and groups from within these movements for mutual support and accountability.

Male supremacy is embedded in the fabric of our society and everyday lives. Working towards embodiment means transforming not only our ideas about male supremacy but also how we are in our everyday lives. Male supremacy, as with many systems of oppression, is rooted not only in our society’s institutions and laws, but also in our daily habits of thought, emotion and feeling. Through an ongoing partnership with Generative Somatics, our individual and group efforts seek to shift our embodied and habitual practices toward liberation.

Intersectionality is a framework created by Black feminists, which we use to explore how male supremacy is bound up with white supremacy, heteronormativity, ableism, capitalism and other oppressive systems. As men coming from a range of racial identities, classed experiences and sexual orientations, we build this project as one contribution to the broader struggle for collective liberation. The organizing, healing, artistic and academic work of women, queer and trans feminists of color is central to our understanding of intersectionality in this context.

Transformative justice (or community accountability) holds an abolitionist critique of the prison industrial complex and advances liberatory, community-based responses to violence. We collaborate with and are inspired by generationFIVE, the StoryTelling and Organizing Project, Creative Interventions and INCITE! in building the work of transformative justice and community accountability.

We hold this as collective work, constructed not only by those of us who work together specifically on the project but including all the labor of those who make this work possible.

If you would like to read  more about our work and history, you can check out our chapter from the book The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence In Activist Communities.

generative somatics is proud to work in collaboration with the Challenging Male Supremacy project, and their rare and vital role in supporting men within our movements. They are connecting personal and social transformation at every step. CMS is committed to building allyship of men in an embodied way, not just because it’s the “right thing to do”. Imagine what our movements could be if every male-identified, movement-identified person were a member of CMS.