Let me put this out there right off the bat. I am a fat person. I know I am a fat person. I have spent a large portion of my life constantly hating myself for being fat. This was confirmed when I recently cleaned out some things at my parents’ house and found a journal from around 1st-2nd grade where I talked about how I hated myself for being fat. How I was unlovable. When it became apparent that I would never be thin and therefore ~worthy~ family consoled me with the fact that I had “a great personality!” or a “pretty face!” the undercurrent always being that these were consolation prizes due to my fatness and therefore my bodily unworth. It has taken me the better part of a decade to slowly undue all this internalized self-hatred and learn to love my body fat and all. When I first got involved in the LGBTQ community I ran into lots of xsexuals who would gleefully tell me and others who posted on places like Fat Genderqueers that because they were xsexual they “loved and were attracted to personalities/souls not bodies” at first this thrilled me and made me happy but the more I heard it over time the more a creeping chill sank in.
At birthday parties “Well at least Aud has such a sweet personality to attract a spouse with. Poor dear has to have at least something” Aunts would whisper. At the pool in the summer Girl Scout leaders would mutter “Aud’s nothing much to look at, all chubby like that, but at least being that bookish means a rewarding and rich career” It hit me
Saying “I love you for your PERSONALITY was just a sanctimonious form of the bullying I had endured as a child. It meant that these people were deigning to look past my hideous body fat and disabled. They were doing me a favor! Now these same xsexuals were always putting up photos of conventionally attractive, thin, white able bodied cis people on their blogs and crowing about how “hot” they were. No fat people. No disabled people. For us they had to “look past” for thin, white and able it wasn’t needed.
I want my partners to see and love my body. Acknowledge its fat and scars and pain. I want to be with people who see ALL of me always. Not selectively look past difficult things like my fat, my gender or my disabilities and illness. Claiming that you “don’t see bodies” is fat shaming. It is disgusting. And it needs to stop.
Bodies are real and valid. Claiming your sexuality enables you to not see/see past the body invalidates my struggles and body it does not make you queerer, more enlightened or better. It makes you a fat shaming coward.
You are allowed not to want to have sex or relationships with fat people. Or people with brown hair or blond or pink. Preferences is owe all have them. Subtly shaming me for my body while claiming you are above preferences or bodies or whatever makes you a hypocritical bully hiding behind false sanctimony.
*Note: I know that at one time the slogan “Hearts Not Parts” was a Bisexual movement slogan meant to help combat biphobic notions of “over sexed bis”. I feel that at this point the original sentiment has been twisted and turned into a hideous monster by the ABB crowd that results in fat shaming, disability shaming and a host of other problems.
Note Note: I use xsexual here to mean any sexuality that uses the “hearts not parts”/”personalities/souls” logic to define the sexuality. Insert whatever you want for value x.
Aud Traher is a Bisexual-Trans Activist, local LGBT organizer, blogger, local craftperson and board member of BiNet USA living in working in a rural community in Western Central Pennsylvania.