Finally: A ‘safe space’ for fat gay men at U.C. Santa Barbara

Finally: A ‘safe space’ for fat gay men at U.C. Santa Barbara
Eric Stonestreet (right) may not be gay, but he plays a gay man on TV (credit: Entertainment Weekly).

And here I thought there were no strictures if you’re gay.

Guys who like guys are welcome to the fold regardless of race, height, girth or any other defining features. At least so I thought.

Time to think again: “To be fat in a thin-obsessed gay culture can be difficult,” begins the description of an event to held next week by the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. The write-up continues:

Despite affectionate in-group monikers for big gay men — chubs, bears, cubs — the anti-fat stigma that persists in American culture at large still haunts these individuals who often exist at the margins of gay communities.

The event will center on a discussion of the book “Fat, Gay Men: Mirth, Girth, and the Politics of Stigma.” Aauthor, Jason Whitesel of Pace University, will be on to press flesh (shake hands, that is) with males so afflicted.

From Campus Reform:

To help students learn more about the issue, Whitesel “delves into the world of Girth & Mirth, a nationally known social club dedicated to big gay men,” which the description later states “has long been a refuge and ‘safe space’ for such men.”

Although not a member of the group himself, Whitesel is “a partial insider as a gay man,” and “offers an insider’s critique of the gay movement, questioning whether the social consequences of the failure to be height-weight proportionate should be so extreme in the gay community.”

Really? You’re a fat queer (their term), and you’re going to trust some skinny dude to talk you through your turmoil? Hell, you might as well go straight!

The microaggression (or is that macro?) known as fat-shaming has been touched upon in these pages before. In 2013, for example, the Council on Size & Weight Discrimination, a fat advocacy group, went medieval on the Boy Scouts of America after the group announced that that year’s national Jamboree would be off limits to scouts with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher.

 

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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