UK: op-ed "The pressure and prejudice we have about body image in the gay community is toxic’

by Topher Gen

The first time I ever heard the term ‘eating disorder’ I was around the age of 11.

I’d dived into one of my mother’s magazines and in the middle of it was an article accompanied by upsetting images of emaciated girls with folded hands and hollow-looking eyes.

I didn’t know what anorexia or bulimia was at that point; all I knew was those girls looked hungry and sad and bony.

After chewing on the information for a while I took away two things from the article: 1) Eating disorders only affect girls and 2) I didn’t want to catch anorexia. Because it was a disease, right?

Nobody bothered to explain to me at the time that you didn’t just become bulimic or anorexic overnight; and thus, I added getting an eating disorder to my ever-growing shelf of childish-fears, sitting it neatly between a smallpox outbreak and having to do ‘show and tell’ in front of my primary school class.

‘I began to weigh myself often…’

I didn’t know it at the time, but that article had planted a seed that would over the years bloat into a glutinous paranoia about my own weight.

The first time I weighed myself I wasn’t yet a teenager. Some pre-pubescent urge to check what I weighed crept in one day and after that I began to weigh myself often.

My mum kept this battery-operated relic from the 80s underneath her bed. Once a week I’d go to her room, kick my shoes off and grow impatient at the ten-second lag it took for the numbers to appear. Read more via Gay Star News