Today will be a sensitive topic that everybody is guilty of at one time in their lives, regardless if you identify as LGBTQIA+. For the community’s focus, I will only talk about it within my community, more specifically with gay men. We have all, at one point in our lives, made a judgment of a person based on what they looked like. I am not talking about race in this situation, even though that is an issue I will touch on later. These judgments are based on what you see right in front of you. I’m going to dig more specifically on the issue of weight.
Do you notice in most Pride celebrations or even gay bars, some groups usually have the same look. Either being skinny, muscley, attractive, etc… At times, you feel like you are back in high school as these groups observe every ounce of your appearance.
Did you know that with all of the population of individuals who have checked into a rehab facility for eating disorders, 5% are male? Of that 5%, 42% of those men identify as LGBT. Gay men are seven times more likely to report binging and twelve times more likely to report purging than heterosexual males. Why are these numbers so high?
According to the same statistics, the most common reason these gay men admit to eating disorders is community standards.
Well, coming from experience, as much as the LGBTQIA community begs for acceptance and love from society, we have a long way to go with accepting each other. I had had my fair share of comments made to me about my appearance. My weight was one of them. It’s funny because I was very skinny in my early twenties when I actually gave a shit about what people thought of me. I stayed skinny due to some genetics, excessive drinking, and skipping a lot of meals. I cared so much about what people thought of me because I just wanted to be accepted, even loved. I would do whatever it took to make that happen as far as appearance is concerned.
Back when I was single, you would look at dating profiles, like Grindr. This was the only social outlet when it first came out that was also used to find friends (not too often, since there is one main motive on this app.), and on this app, there would be profiles that would literally say, No FATS! I understand that everybody has a sexual type, but why promote it? Why put it front and center on the profile to lock anybody out of a general conversation?
The sad reality is this: The community bases their interactions with people based on if they are physically attractive more than their character qualities. Even though they may or may not have a future with them sexually, they base the opinions on that. Trust me; I have had my share of conversations with these people back in the day openly admitted to these statements. I am aware that not everyone has these mentalities. This is more frequent in the young adult categories and slowly fades with age but never completely. Some may disagree with that statement because the older we get, our ability to give a damn about other people’s perceptions fade. It’s not noticed as much.
Now, I’m not saying that I am a saint with this either. I made my share of judgments when I was in my early twenties for the same reason, but only for dating purposes. I shorty realized soon after that the people you cast judgment on have feelings too and struggle to survive in this harsh world we live in to feel loved for who they are. We all have our moments of ignorance and immaturity. After all…we are human!
Let’s not put down people based on being overweight, forcing them to be crushed and feel unwelcome and potentially causing them to make the poor decision to have an eating disorder. You are not only looking like a complete jerk, but you are endangering the victim’s life. Yes, it’s the choice of the individual to go on this dangerous path. But you are essentially pulling the trigger! Causing somebody to skip a meal or purge not only validates their destructive choices but causes long-term problems with their health. Why can’t we make friends for who they are instead of what they are? Can’t we make friends with people who aren’t fit, have a great time with them, and let them go home and eat whatever they want to when it’s all over?
I compare many what the younger community handles conversations with each other like “Mean Girls.” There are cliques that don’t respect each other. They belittle people based on small, unnecessary qualities that shouldn’t matter. There are more qualities that the community judges each other apart from the size, which I will be tackling little by little with each new post in the coming weeks.
Here’s another fun fact! Gay men who feel connected to other gay men have a lower eating disorder rate, suggesting that having a sense of belonging to a community has a “protective effect.” So, let me make a suggestion…make everybody feel welcome despite their appearance and drop the immature shallowness that our community keeps shedding!
We need to normalize body positivity and only allow individuals to choose to lose weight for health reasons and not because of societal standards. Every person in this world has a quality of character that is essential for you to learn from, both positive and negative. So cut the crap!
Next Sunday, I will tackle another part of the image subject that gets discriminated against in our community. Stay tuned!
Also, my debut novel “Cardinal Rules” is out for preorder! Go to the Books tab, and order your copy for my release in March!