Check-in w/ Julia McCrossin

August 17, 2013

Julia McCrossin has been active in fat community off and on since the late 80’s. Her work has appeared in The Fat Studies Reader, among other publications. She identifies as queer and gender variant, and holds two advanced degrees from The George Washington University.

What are your thoughts regarding the intersection between LGBT and fat e-activism?

I don’t know that I see a lot of intersection. For example, look at all the people who used some Facebook image to mark the passing of marriage equality laws in US states, or when the Supreme Court recently ruled in ways favorable to marriage equality. I’ve never seen anything remotely like that have an effect online for body positive movements, let alone ones that are specifically, or visibly inclusive of, fat bodies. However, since I think the percentage of queer-identified individuals is significant in fat activism, I do see promising work done that recognizes the intersectionality of sexuality, gender, and body size.

Why is fat-positive online community-building in LGBT communities so important?

Since many queer people are also fat, it is essential that online LGBTQ communities create welcoming spaces for fat people. I would argue that many LGBTQ people are even more aware and contemplative about society’s insistence on the value of personal appearance and its connection to acceptance/relationships/sexual activity than others, and so people who don’t fit certain stereotypes about LGTBQ people that highlight slenderness and/or muscularity would be even more reluctant to enter LGBTQ spaces in real life, making online community a welcome bridge to making real world connections with other queers. I’ve been struck all along about how silent the whole “It Gets Better” campaign was about body size, when data suggests children with bodies that are larger or smaller than what Is deemed ‘acceptable’ face the same, if not more, amount of bullying that LGBTQ kids face. How are fat LGBTQ youth supposed to read “It Gets Better,” that it will get better when they grow up only if they become slim LGBTQ adults?

How can technology and media help create safe space for fat folks?

In a literal sense, technology and media create space for fat folks because it is a boundless medium. No need to worry if the chairs are wide and sturdy enough, if the aisles in the room are accommodating enough, or if the stalls in the public restrooms are roomy enough. Also, the boundless medium doesn’t care that you can’t find flattering fashion that reflects your style in your size, and it doesn’t care if you use a scooter or a cane.

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