Mandy Hendrickson B.A.
Ending of Pride Month – A Reminder
Author: Mandy Hendrickson B.A.
With Pride month ending, we feel it is important to acknowledge the difficulties the 2SLGBTQIA+* community faces – specifically surrounding eating disorders and body image. Eating disorders are not unique to straight cisgender women but are broad across all categories and interactions of society.
Research shows that eating disorders (ED) disproportionately impact certain parts of the 2SLGBTQIA+* community. While gay men are said to only represent 5% of the total male population, it is reported that among men who have ED’s, 42% identify as gay. While more heterosexual women struggle with body image concerns compared to gay men, it is not in and of itself a predictive factor that gay and bisexual men will develop an ED or body image struggles, but rather is an indicator that they are more at risk than their heterosexual counterparts (Strother et al. 2012). Additional to gay men, Black and Latinx folk who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual have a much higher prevalence of eating disorder, compared to their white counterparts.
If you or someone you know identifies as 2SLGBTQIA+* and you are curious how to provide support, here are some helpful tips to remain inclusive and affirming:
Listen – simply listen to their story. Allow them to be the expert of their own experience, and provide support through being curious how they want to be supported (ex. “What can I do? Would it be helpful to research 2SLGBTQIA+* resources together?”)
Use inclusive language – language allows 2SLGBTQIA+* to feel affirmed in their identity; if you are a practitioner, allowing the person to self-identify rather than assuming is key.
Acknowledge how EDs and 2SLGBTQIA+* identities interact – do your own research regarding EDs and the community. Specifically learning about trans and non-binary folk from trans and non-binary folk, since the research currently has major gaps
Work towards inclusivity for all – support companies that acknowledge the diversities between bodies and identities; help dismantle the negative systems and structures that hurt 2SLGBTQIA+* (ex. Correcting family members if they misgender someone).
Acknowledge the abundance of diverse beauties in the human experience. Above all else, be a good human.
Eric Strother, Raymond Lemberg, Stevie Chariese Stanford & Dayton Turberville (2012) Eating Disorders in Men: Underdiagnosed, Undertreated, and Misunderstood, Eating Disorders, 20:5, 346-355, DOI: 10.1080/10640266.2012.715512