Men who identify as gay or bisexual have been shown to ‘fat shame’ one another in a higher rates than the straight community, a new survey has found.
Published by the journal Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
, ‘Fat Chance! Experiences and Expectations of Anti-fat Bias in the Gay Male Community’ and is cited as the only study of its kind to measure “weight based prejudice among gay men” empirically.
Referencing two existing studies, researchers explored the issue of fat shaming prevalent throughout the gay community, described in the paper as “anti-fat”, reports Out.
The first study surveyed 215 gay men aged between 18 and 78, exploring “experiences of anti-fat bias” and its correlation to body image.
Over one third or respondents experienced direct anti-fat bias and primarily from potential romantic partners, even though the majority were considered to be within a healthy BMI (body mass index) weight range.
In the second study, the levels of anti-fat bias was compared between a group of gay and straight college aged men, and measured the likely outcome if an overweight participant were to approach an attractive romantic partner.
“Gay men reported greater likelihood that the overweight man would be blatantly ignored, treated rudely, or mocked behind his back if he approached an attractive potential romantic partner,” said researchers.
“These studies suggest that anti-fat bias is a challenge for many members of the gay community, even those who are not technically overweight.
“Additionally, gay men expect other gay men to show these anti-fat biases when looking for a romantic partner.”
In this month’s edition of Attitude
, our anonymous columnist Fatty Gay tackles another aspect of fat shaming, where gay men’s indulgence in overeating serves as a way to “protect the shy, sensitive and wounded” inner child.
"Tommy and I had become close, most of our school presumed we were boyfriends, but we never actually were. When I finally came out at 16, I turned up to a local gay youth group and wasn’t that surprised to find Tommy there," he writes.
"That cemented our friendship, and soon we saw ourselves as each other’s Thelma and Louise. Now, officially out to each other and part of the youth group, we stood on the threshold of a new grown up world of gay bars and meeting gay men. This terrified me more than anything, so I continued to binge eat, eventually hitting eighteen stone. I’d worked so hard to find acceptance at school being Fatty Gay, but how would the gay scene and other gay men take to me?
"I was about to find out."
Share your own story with us as [email protected].
You can read the latest instalment of ‘Je Suis Fatty Gay’ in the current issue of Attitude – available in shops now, to order in print from newsstand.co.uk and digitally from attitudedigital.co.uk.
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