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Inclusive Body Positivity Series: The Queer Community
Here at Clarity, one of our main goals is to make a space for all bodies to feel safe moving in whatever ways make them feel happy. You might think that the body positive movement, with its goals of validating all bodies, is already as inclusive as it gets. However, there are many bodies that have traditionally been left out of all movements, and I am going to use the next couple of weeks to highlight a few groups that are working towards body positivity just as much as the canonical movement!
This first week, I’ll be highlighting how LGBTQ+ people, from now on referred to as the queer community for ease, have been on a parallel journey of body positivity that has a lot to offer to the mainstream movement. The queer community has faced many a trial and tribulation, from homosexuality being a diagnosis in the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychiatrists to diagnose diseases/illnesses) to Stonewall, and most recently the highly publicized fights for marriage equality and trans rights. I’ll be doing a separate post on the inclusion of trans and non-binary bodies in the body positive movement, because that is a huge area that needs to be looked at and truly done better by individuals and groups claiming to be body positive. Refocusing on the queer community at large, people that identify within the queer spectrum have endured a multiplicity of specific issues with embracing and feeling body positivity. We will take a look at some of those issues below!
One particular hardship for people in the queer community is whether or not they look and feel “queer enough”, especially compared to more “traditionally” appearing queer people. I myself have struggled with this ever since I came out, since I don’t present as an outwardly queer person (according to societal norms). It’s difficult to feel content and confident in your identity when you are supposed to look or act certain ways, and being in your body can already be hard enough! This is just one thing for the body positive community to consider when welcoming queer people into the fold, as well as body positive gyms. Being aware of pressures on body presentation and body image outside of canonical “fat” or “thin” is really important.
There are many small differences that the body positive community can start to implement that will actually put it on a path to intersectional representation and a more full commitment to supporting all bodies. Online, this can look like making pronouns a clear and non-stigmatized start of every conversation, being careful about assumptions, and lifting up voices that aren’t usually heard in body positive conversations, in this article particularly queer ones. Diversifying your media intake, listening to rather than disregarding queer bodies when they tell you what you can do better, and understnding that you will always be learning how to be body positive are other small things you can do or keep in mind when promoting body positivity as a concept.
For in person spaces like Clarity Fitness, where body positivity is the core of everything that we do, there are other ways to signal that we are a space for all bodies, not just some bodies. Again, making things like pronouns and lack of assumptions just part of the daily routine is one of the easier ways to make your body positivity/everyday life more inclusive. For physical spaces, stickers indicating safe zones for queer people in particular is another small yet easy way to possibly provide more comfort to this community in feeling welcome. Bringing in queer speakers, lifting queer voices with our privileged positioning, and extending hands to queer communities in our local area are all ways that we at Clarity intend to continue to make our body positive message as inclusive as possible.
There are a plethora of queer people who have so much to say about inclusive body positivity, so I’m linking to a couple of articles with great resources and queer people to support below. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns, I’d be so happy to have a conversation about this topic! Stay tuned for next week’s inclusive body positive topic!