opinion

'Why I'll be embracing my waistline and wearing florals this Mental Health Awareness Week'

Body image is inextricably tied to our mental health - it's time for gay men to support each other, writes Daniel Harding

2018-05-16

'Skinny bitch', 'fat poof', 'camp twig'. We’ve all heard the body shaming and stereotypical insults, perhaps even uttered them ourselves, regrettably.

In a scene where we are meant to embrace love and conquer hate, we are constantly up against people (including our own LGBT kind) that continue to bring us down.

Enter Subject A, which this weekend my very good, kind, handsome, married, happy and 34-inch waisted friend (the positive adjectives are endless,) drew my attention to a tweet.

"Dear gays with a waist larger than 32”, - Floral prints just aren’t for you sis. Just because Zara makes them in XL doesn’t mean it’s for you…"

Did it make you laugh? Perhaps it did for some and maybe that was the harmless intention behind it, but for others it evoked anger and despair.

Regardless of my own size or my penchant for floral prints, how tactless that one person put this negative message out into the Twittersphere?

Subject A just hit a large proportion of people who already struggle with their own insecurities and added another weight to their shoulders – not to mention on a week we are meant to be standing together for good mental health awareness.

With London Pride fast approaching I remind Subject A and anyone else who chooses to throw shade onto others, we must stop attacking each other.

We have all made quick remarks that we regret later and I’m sure Subject A will too feel this remorse for any offense caused, but it reminds each of us that being nicer is always something that we need to work on.

We’re plagued with enough internal thoughts when we look in the mirror, or get rejected when no one swipes for us on an app and therefore we need unison rather than divide.

One day your waist may be bigger, your hair not so glossy and your arse trailing behind (sighs), but it’s your right to feel good about yourself no matter what others see.

I remind you all that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and much deeper than what is on the surface.

That tweet is nothing that we haven’t seen before and Subject A doesn’t deserve abuse hurled at them, but it does remind us to think before we tweet.

No matter the comedy or harmless intentions, there are people out there constantly struggling to fit in or size up to stereotypes.

Size of course matters, in every sense of the word, but each size should be loved regardless. We all have our battles.

Floral prints don’t suit everyone, much like shorts don’t suit my flat behind, but please yourself not others – we all have opinions and not all of them are right.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and rather than affecting mental well-being, let’s celebrate each and every one of us. The sun has only just come out, so let’s leave the shade to one side for a little bit.

Wear florals with pride, embrace your waist, and try being a little nicer.

Dear Gays and all LGBTQ+: unite, don’t fight.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs May 14-20. For confidential advice and support call the Samaritans on 116 123.