Have you ever been made to feel inferior within the queer community based on other people’s perceptions of you? Have you been seen as less desirable because you’re a person of colour in the queer community? Has someone based your attractiveness on your body type?
A universal topic through the queer community is certain perceptions and judgements based on things that an individual often cannot change. We are constantly fed unrealistic expectations and while we try our hardest to live up to them, we often judge others on the way. While the list goes on and on about the issues, we face both within our community and by people on the outside, my focus today will remain on a topic that most, if not all, queer people have faced at some point. Image-based issues.
In 2018 I was clinically obese, peaking at 104kgs and within a year I dropped to 67kgs. Based on personal experience alone, I noticed a huge increase in attention from people in the queer community, particularly gay men.
My worth as a person was quite literally based on an image that people perceived me as and it continues to this day. This brings us to the topic, why is body image so important? Attractiveness, in my opinion, comes from intention, heart and personality and if I were the same in the past then logically, I should be treated the same way now, but things could not be more opposite. Beauty standards in the queer community overall is an issue that we can all work on but for the purpose of my point, I do need to focus on gay men specifically because that is where my experience lays.
There is a stereotype that gay men are very image-based and although am never one to stereotype an entire group of people and prefer to base my opinions on an induvial basis, I have observed first-hand that most gay men truly conform to this stereotype. It makes me ask this question though – Can we blame gay men for this attitude towards image? Yes and no.
Everyone, queer or not is fed to present a perfect image of yourself constantly through the media and we are taught to project that in our real lives and on our personal social media. There is an added layer for the queer community in the sense that we are already segregated by the majority and tend to fall into more focused toxicity.
In a sense, gay men cannot be blamed for what they are taught constantly but we can learn and grow from what we are taught when we know that it’s not good practice which is something that a lot of people refuse to adapt to. Yes, we are taught to conform to these attitudes. No, we are not required to conform to them. This message is universal within all groups, queer or not.
To conclude I want to stress that these issues are not exclusive to the queer community, but we must identify these correlations in a queer specific way. Images change, bodies change, ideals change. The perceptions of how other people view you should not be your focus.
If you personally want to feel good on the exterior, change up your image on your own terms and stop being dependant on outside valuation to determine your self-worth. Some advice, working on yourself independently and knowing yourself fully is the best way to face the multitude of image-based issues that we face regularly in the queer community. Focusing on and educating yourself on an individual basis will project to others and form a more inclusive community altogether.
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Last Updated on Feb 11, 2021