Fatphobia In The Queer Community
Fatphobia is everywhere in mainstream society. From the before and after posts on Instagram, FitnessPal apps on your phone to track each calorie and macronutrient, and clothing choices screeching to a halt past size 16 - society reinforces that fat bodies are bad and unwelcome. Existing in a world that is not made for you is already a reality for queer people. It is doubly so for queer fat people (as well as queer people with disabilities and accessibility requirements). Fatphobia in the LGBTQAI+ community is a queer issue. The rampant gatekeeping exploding as of late seeks only to divide us - why give the TERFS and homophobes what they want and implode from within? Queerness is at the heart of rejecting cisheteronormative, patriarchal notions of what is a “right” body, a “good”, body, or a “correct” body. Ask any fat queer person if they’ve felt discriminated against within the queer community as a result of their weight and the answers will speak for themselves.
As we (hopefully) move forward from the “no fats no femmes no asians” world of thin-white exclusivity into a broader sphere of body inclusion, we need to deconstruct and reconcile our own internal fatphobia. This is entrenched in the psyche early through society’s reinforcement as well as the actions and attitudes of our caregivers. My primary caregiver had a scathing view of their own body and cycled through countless yo-yo diets, Jenny Craig stints, and Weight Watchers counting counting counting. My own eating disorder came ruthlessly early. Now in my 30th decade I’m unravelling what this means with feeding myself regularly, the resulting change in weight, and the interaction with my ever changing view of self. Even my identity in my presentation as queer/nonbinary has been impacted by the resulting change in shape and what this means for the type of clothes I choose to wear. Fatphobic messages are everywhere. In media, in comedy, in advertising. Even in children’s shows. Ursula from The Little Mermaid was a bad bitch who took no shit, but naturally her grotesqueness was synonymous with her fatness.
The radical fat movement is one of liberation, one of independence from the morally corrupt body positivity of Instagram. Radically accepting yourself thwarts the capitalist grip that makes bank from you hating yourself. A shift from socially constructed eurocentric standards of beauty and the fallacy of weight as an indicator of health is essential. Fat shaming doctors mean that people who don’t fit into a societal mould may be denied treatment, mistreated, or avoid going to the doctor. Policing of fat bodies in relation to health is targeted fatphobia under the guise of caring. How many people who harp on about the health effects of obesity are targeting smokers, drinkers, or red meat eaters with the same ferocity? At what point does a narrow, trend-set aesthetic come at the cost of the emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing of people who just aren’t meant to be thin? Thinness isn’t an indicator of health. It is not evident of a moral compass. It does not signify goodness or virtue. Divorcing of fatness and health is essential.
Fat bodies always have, and always will exist. The barrage of negative reinforcement; of dieting apps for children; of calorie counting apps; of diet clubs, of Ashy Bines; of eurocentric beauty standards; of misaligned healthcare; of lack of fashion and lingerie choices does nothing to reduce or limit fat bodies; it only works to vilify them. Restriction is disordered in thin people, yet lauded when fat people engage in disordered eating.
We know that most stores only stock size small to 2xl, and we also know that many, many bodies don’t fit into this narrow segment. We’ve found it remarkably hard to find items to stock that run smaller than an xs, and anything over 3xl. We’ve managed to find some helpful, kind, and supportive suppliers who have gone the extra mile to source a wider variety of sizes, with one even seeking a new manufacturing partner in order to expand their collection. That’s pretty fucking cool. It’s also a bit fucking sad to be honest - the fact that we can’t pop over to a wholesale provider and ask for a design in sizes from 3xs to 6xl as the norm. We’re going to place our focus and support in suppliers who choose to stock a wide range of sizing options. As a store and as members of the community we want to be representative of all sizes, identities, and orientations. Agnes & Edie aren’t the gatekeepers to what is and is not a valid way of being, and so we make space for people to express and explore what queerness means for them in whatever body they bring.
Fuck the fatphobia activists and all round rad peeps you can find on social media are MahMah Timoteo, Siobhan, Annie Rose, A, Alok, Mina Gerges, Jessamyn, Rubén, Enam Asiama, Marquis Neal, Erika Hart, Shay Neary, Nicolette Mason, Beargazer, Linda Gerhardt, Satinelabelle, Stacey, Raine Day, Ady Del Valle, K-Lee, Chrissy King, Plus Size Trans Guy & Annie Segara.
Blogs and Websites:
We tautoko these people for being unapologetically themselves and acknowledge how their mahi is so important (and hard!) in a fatphobic world. Divorcing the intersection of queer and fat identities means reconciliation needs to happen twice. Twice the effort to make peace with one way of being. Queer and fat needs space within our community, and the acceptance of fat queers as both valid and desirable.
If you know any others who you'd like to plug then leave a comment below linking to websites or social media!
Stay rad you wonderful queers,
Agnes & Edie x