Note: I specifically don’t use the words “coming out” here, because that unnecessarily co-opts a narrative long held by the LGBTQ community. That said, there are, of course, people who are both LGBTQ and fat, myself included.
So, you’ve found fat acceptance and fat positivity and you’re ready to publicly acknowledge it. What does that look like?
For me, it looked like writing a blog post and publicizing it to my Facebook page back in 2014 after years of proclaiming it in less personal, but perhaps more public ways on Twitter. My thoughts have shifted and grown since that post, but you’re welcome to check it out here if you’d like.
Whether you’re announcing it in person or via social media, proclaiming you are fat positive (whether you are fat or not) can be an empowering moment. It can also feel very scary!
I don’t have any perfect advice on the subject, but I have some steps that I hope make it easier.
- Share how you understand/define fat positive.
- Share why being fat positive is important to you.
- Set boundaries for responses.
- Enforce those boundaries.
Let me expand a little bit on each of those suggestions.
How do you define/understand fat positive? My definition of fat positive is included in my pinned post here. I don’t use the term body positive because it is watered down fat positivity, and I think it’s done more harm than good. However, you might feel safer/less controversial using body positivity as an introduction. If so, here’s an article that might help, 15 Definitions Of Body Positivity Straight From Influencers & Activists by Alysse Dalessandro.
Why is being fat positive important to you? Here are some possibilities that you’re welcome to plagiarize.
- Being fat positive is important to me as it enables me to push back against the way fat people are discriminated against in society.
- Being fat positive is a journey that leads me into healthy relationship with my body.
- Being fat positive empowers me to be embodied and happy.
- Being fat positive encourages others to get free of fatphobia and fat hatred.
How do you set boundaries for responses? Whether in writing or conversation, here are some possibilities.
- I welcome supportive responses.
- If your response is unkind or unsupportive, please keep it to yourself.
- If you’d like more education on this subject, feel free to check out this site or (insert article of your choosing) for more information.
- If you’ve got nothing nice to say, say nothing.
- I’m not going to argue or defend myself, so please refrain from confrontational comments.
How do you enforce those boundaries? Obviously, it will be different based on whether you’re having a conversation or putting it out there in writing. Some possibilities include:
- Deleting any unsupportive comments.
- Ending the conversation.
- Thanking people for positive or supportive (or neutral) comments.
- The Underpants Rule by Ragen Chastain may come in handy.
Maybe you’ve publicly claimed fat acceptance and/or fat positivity for years, maybe you’re new to the concept, or maybe you’re somewhere in between on the spectrum of possibility. Wherever you are, I support you. If you’re ready to proclaim that you’re fat positive, I hope something here is helpful.
If you have ideas, suggestions, or experiences you want to share, feel free to message me in the comments, through the contact page, or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!