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Let's Talk About Body Inclusion in Pride Month Celebrations

June 19, 2024 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

Pride Month is an exuberant, meaningful occasion for queer folks and their allies, but in order for all members of this global community to feel embraced as their full selves, we must prioritize body inclusion in Pride Month celebrations. Otherwise, we risk further disenfranchising those who could benefit from these safe and joyful spaces the most. Let's talk about Pride Month and body inclusion.

Why I Want to Discuss Body Inclusion in Pride Month

I am bisexual, and I was terrified to come out. But as a cisgender woman in a committed straight relationship, my queerness is neither visible nor under threat on a regular basis. I can determine whether or not to share this facet of my personal identity with whomever I choose—a privilege that our society denies to countless others. I am also a small person with an able body, which means I often see representations of myself in Pride Month campaigns.

I love this time of year, but it's not just for those who reflect my demographic. Pride Month is for all shapes, sizes, abilities, genders, orientations, and skin tones across this beautifully diverse rainbow. Body inclusion in Pride Month celebrations is important.

A Lack of Body Inclusion Is Not What Pride Month Should Represent

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus (LGBTQ+)   folks with intersectional identities are more likely to face discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion.Those inequities could manifest as racism, ableism, transphobia, or body shaming, both from mainstream culture and non-inclusive LGBTQ+ spaces. Community resilience and connection matter—but if someone does not have a secure place to belong with other queer folks who affirm and celebrate intersectionality, serious mental health issues can take root, the research points out. 

Those who identify as LGBTQ+ are also more vulnerable to eating disorders than their heterosexual, cisgender peers.2 These illnesses can develop from the trauma of societal prejudice—but they can also be a result of internalized stigmas or stereotypes within the queer community. For instance, LGBTQ+ folks often experience weight discrimination, which can severely impact their nutritional and fitness habits, the research continues. The pressure to achieve a certain physical aesthetic can lead to intense shame, low-self-esteem, and isolation or avoidance from queer spaces. This lack of body inclusion should not be the subliminal message of Pride Month celebrations. 

Body Inclusion in Pride Month Must Take Center Stage

According to a recent survey, less than eight percent of adults in the U.S. consider themselves queer.But over 500 pieces of discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ+ legislation were created in 2023, and online harassment against LGBTQ+ communities has increased by 406 percent.

The data is clear: Queer folks need each other to experience unity, connection, love, and acceptance in a world that can feel unsafe to navigate. For this reason, it's crucial to welcome everyone across the LGBTQ+ continuum. So, let's emphasize body inclusion in Pride Month celebrations—there is room for all sizes, weights, abilities, skin tones, and other unique traits to flourish.

Sources

  1. Parmenter, J. G., & Galliher, R. V. (2022). Experiences of Community Resilience and Inequity among LGBTQ+ People: A Person-Centered Analysis. The Counseling Psychologist51(1), 84–112. https://doi.org/10.1177/00110000221124274
  2. Parker, L. L., & Harriger, J. A. (2020). Eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors in the LGBT population: a review of the literature. Journal of Eating Disorders8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40337-020-00327-y
  3. Jones, B. J. M. (2024, April 3). LGBTQ+ identification in U.S. now at 7.6%. Gallup.com. https://news.gallup.com/poll/611864/lgbtq-identification.aspx
  4. Ellis, S. K. & GLAAD. (2023). Accelerating Acceptance 2023. https://assets.glaad.org/m/23036571f611c54/original/Accelerating-Acceptance-2023.pdf

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2024, June 19). Let's Talk About Body Inclusion in Pride Month Celebrations, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2024/6/lets-talk-about-body-inclusion-in-pride-month-celebrations



Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

Connect with Mary-Elizabeth on Facebook, Instagram and her personal blog.

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