I wrote this post on Fat Intersectionality for radfatfeminist.co.uk as a guest post on what it’s like being a fatty and being a lesbian. I absolutely loved writing this piece and I think it might be my most favourite post ever so I’ve also posted it here. Please visit radfatfeminist.co.uk and read through her own excellent work, and of course follow her on all the social media outlets – she really is awesome and I’m so happy I’ve had the opportunity to appear there!
Here are two facts about me.
1 – I am a size 20-22 woman, and I am fat.
2 – I am also a lesbian.
Yes that’s right, not only have I made the choice to be a happy-in-her-own-skin fat woman (God forbid), I am also gayer than Boy George in a tutu at a sauna in East London.
Both of these normal describing words for who I am, unfortunately for me, carry quite large social stigmas. And not only do I face sideways glances and comments from general society, I also face comments from the sub-sections of society that I currently call my home.
One of the big things that I, along with many other gay people, have to contend with is coming out. I’m not just talking about that first big nail biting, hoping your parents don’t ostracise you to another continent kind of coming out – oh no no no, it doesn’t stop there. Every new person you meet, whether its a new acquaintance or meeting the boss, you have to make the choice on whether or not to play the secret game that all gay people play – To Feign Straightness or Not To Feign Straightness, that’s the real question.
If you’re extremely lucky like me and you live in a society that is relatively accepting of homosexuality, you’ll come out on a daily basis. I actually enjoy dropping the G bomb (Girlfriend) when people ask me if I’m in a relationship, and what my Boyfriend/Husband does. If you’re also a non-stereotypical looking lesbian like me, you’ll also get the usual look of utter shock and surprise followed by “oh REALLY? I would never have guessed…”, the patronising “good for you!” or the even more classic “WOW, you don’t even look like one!”. Then you have your non-verbal coming out stories – just walking down the street holding my girlfriends hand carries looks of shock/disgust/admiration/envy/delete as appropriate.
Now factor in being a fat woman. I write a fashion blog for fellow fatties. I’m confident in my own skin and I push boundaries with my fashion as a result of my blog. That means you’ll sometimes see me in all over print, or wearing skinny jeans, or rocking a bikini, or wearing white, or horizontal stripes – just generally being a fashion rebel and wearing all the things that mainstream media have told fat girls not to wear so we blend in to the background and not get noticed. As a result of my utter CHEEK at being different, I also have a daily coming out story as a fat woman. Just as a gay person holding hands with their significant other gets a sideways glance, so does a fat woman with confidence. Just as you get the normal phrases from unsuspecting straight people when you tell them you’re not quite the same as them in the bedroom department, you also get the odd “good for you!” and “but you don’t even look all that fat” or the even more classic “you’re not fat, you’re beautiful!” (like that isn’t possible for us fat ultrababes anyway).
But it isn’t just your cis-non-fat-person that you get this from, ladies and gentlemen. As a lesbian, I’ve experienced first hand the difficulty of being a larger woman fresh in the Gay Scene. As a younger, newly outed lesbian in her first ever gay bar, you’ll imagine yourself in a sea of athletic women with undercuts, dodgy half top-knots, white tshirts and skinny jeans. On first perceptions as a younger lesbian, all the “cool” clique are relentlessly athletic. Believe me, you haven’t seen abs until you’ve seen them on a twentysomething lesbian in harem jeans and a crop top.
The lesbian world can be a daunting place for someone just starting to dip their toe into the big gay pond. If you open up the pages of any well known lesbian magazine, you’ll find photos of well defined stomachs with short haircuts and gritty attitude. You’ll also find the odd photo of feminine women, and rarely (usually when specifically featuring them) you’ll find larger celebrity women such as Beth Ditto gracing the pages, but there is no denying, the lesbian masses want to see things that they aspire to – and unfortunately, the media do still try to push this view of being thin, desirable and fashionable to our younger generation.
What I would love to see is your run of the mill, larger than average, non-athletic, girl-next-door-with-a-pizza-habit woman adorning the fashion feature pages. I want to see young lesbians who don’t fit the stereotypes we play up to, staring down at pages upon pages of women just like them prancing around in the latest fashions, getting papped at the cool LGBTQ night in the local bar and stories of fat, happy women with their girlfriends – because god forbid we actually find love. It’s not just the general public we need to look after, we need to make our fat gay sisters feel comfortable in the environments that are created for their comfort as a gay woman.
So this one is for my fat femmes and my delicious dunkin’ dykes – you can already celebrate your sexuality, so celebrate your body. Change those preconceptions of those around you by being PROUD of who you are – every single jiggly part of you, and lets inspire our younger generation to do so as well. Nothing blocks the hatred and ignorance of others like the love you have for yourself and your community.
Let me know what you think of this post by commenting below!