op-ed, Pride Celebrates Being Seen—But What If Body Dysmorphia Makes You Want to Hide?

Leather and mesh. Pride season always drags these materials from the depths of my otherwise bland closet. I’m not so unlike other people in that way. Pride is a queer Halloween of sorts: a liberating campiness hovers over the whole thing, blurring the line between clothing and costume. The result is an opportunity for earnest self-expression that doesn’t carry the same risks, because it’s offset by a sarcastic wink.

But at a strobe-lit party, standing shoulder to sweaty shoulder with bodies that move more gracefully than mine, I’m reminded why I prefer these clothes on other people. I’m wearing a sheer top, like hundreds of others in the room. But I swear the light is hitting me differently, and I swear my love handles are giving me away, and my costume feels more like a disguise. It doesn’t express. It deceives. I wonder if people can see right through me. I wonder if people are taking one look at me and thinking, “Oh, hon.”

That might sound paranoid, but that’s what body dysmorphia is: constant paranoia of being seen. In my mind’s eye, my body is a funhouse distortion, shifting and warping in grotesque ways, and the world around me becomes a wilderness of mirrors. I see other people, whose proportions are fixed and whose angles create definite shapes, and they seem entirely unbothered by having a body. I see them, and I think to myself, what would I do if I could move through life like that?

I wondered if other people shared similar anxieties when Pride season comes around. First, I asked writer Mathew Rodriguez from Mic, a queer Puerto Rican who considers himself a person of size.  Read more via Slate