If there’s one thing that really gets my knickers in a twist, it’s people not being able to accept each other for who they are. Gay people still face so much prejudice and discrimination in the world, but there’s an issue that I view as being even more damaging; gays hating on other gays for not fitting an ‘acceptable’ aesthetic.
Over the years I have noticed a lot of fursecution and fat-shaming in the gay community, as I’m sure many of you have. I have even been a victim of it on more than one occasion. Whether you’re online and see profiles stating that potential guys must be slim and hairless or seeing fat shaming on the scene, I believe it to be an endemic problem.
Personally I’m a relatively big guy and particularly hairy. There was a time I hated the way I looked and wished I could be slim and smooth. Then I came to realise that I wanted to be like that to please others rather than to please myself. When it comes down to it, if I really hated the way I look I’d do something about it. I like my covering of fur and having a bit of meat on my bones. My partner likes it too, so that’s all that matters.
In the past I have come up against abuse and discrimination from other gay men, mainly on the scene and on apps such as Grindr. One guy told me that I looked disgusting and that the only way I was going to lose weight was if I became bulimic. Another guy on Grindr told me I was a “fat f**king twat” who had no chance. It bothered me at first, but actually it says more about them than it does about me.
In magazines we are fed images of so called hot guys and they are nearly always slim, smooth men, with toned bodies. Although I sometimes like seeing those images, I believe that the constant feed of these nearly naked men is damaging to people’s self-esteem and potentially feeds the fat shamers and fursecutors.
It’s not just in the gay world that this problem exists. If I venture into my local town on a Saturday night there will be lots of people mocking others for being overweight or wearing an outfit that’s perhaps a bit tight and unflattering. It’s the same in the summertime when someone chubby takes their top off or wears skimpy clothing. Personally I think it’s great if people feel confident enough to remove their top or wear an outfit they like, regardless of how it fits. If the way someone looks offends you, look the other way. Or perhaps address the reason why you are offended.
Scrolling through my Facebook news feed also shows up incidences of fat shaming and fursecution. Whether it’s a larger lady with little clothing on or a man covered in body hair, it is further perpetuating the thought that being overweight or hairy is unsexy and acceptable to be the subject of ridicule.
I don’t believe that bullying or the shaming of anyone is ever OK, and it concerns me that so many people focus on what others look like instead of concentrating on the bigger issues there are facing us as a community.
As for what the solution for eradicating this form of bullying is, I don’t have the answer. Perhaps there needs to be body image classes at school or maybe people just need to take a long, hard look at themselves to realize that fat shaming and fursecution need to stop. Either way, we should be supporting and celebrating each other, not continuing with this internal prejudice and discrimination.
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