Eating disorders affect a disturbingly high number of LGBTQ youth

eating disorders lgbtqResearchers also uncovered an alarming link between eating disorders and suicide.

Author: Gwendolyn Smith

The post Eating disorders affect a disturbingly high number of LGBTQ youth appeared first on LGBTQ Nation.

LGBTI people struggle to get help for eating disorders because of stereotyping

a head and shoulder shot of a man with short hair at a pride event. he is wearing a white t-shirt and has the rainbow flag painted on his cheekbones

Rian began developing anorexia at the age of 16. They believed it stemmed from their anxiety to want to perform well at school.

It got worse during their A Levels but things spiralled very quickly once they started university.

‘I was determined to be self-catered to have full control over my food. I’m not sure how I got through university first year achieving what I did, as I was so limited in what I’d eat,’ Rian said.

‘I restricted more and more, purged more frequently, weighed everything, visited friends just to use their bathroom scales, hoarded recipes I’d never allow myself to cook, timed my cooking to avoid my flatmates so they wouldn’t see my very particular ways of having to prepare meals.’

Anorexia (or anorexia nervosa) is a serious mental illness where people are of low weight due to limiting their energy intake. It can affect anyone of any age, gender, or background. As well as restricting the amount of food eaten, some do lots of exercise to get rid of food eaten.

a black and white close up shot of a person with glasses and medium length hair. their hair is tilted to the side and smiling. they are standing on a beach, the photo is black and white

Rian is now an advocate for people with eating disorders | Photo: Supplied

Rian’s road to recovery

The situation then got even more serious. The doctors told Rian if they lost any more weight, they’d end up in hospital for six months.

Motivated to avoid that and get back to university, Rian engaged in therapy for two year and began to restructure their thoughts around food and their body.

During therapy Rian began to realize they were attracted to men and women. But the problem was doctors were quick to pin their eating disorder on their sexuality. This complicated their recovery but Rian advised other LGBTI people to seek out medical health professionals knowledgeable about LGBTI people.

The LGBT community and eating disorders

Rian’s story is not uncommon in the LGBTI community.

A 2017 YouGov survey of more than 5,000 LGBT people in the UK found 12% of people had suffered from an eating disorder in the last year. About 24% of non-binary people who reported having experienced an eating disorder in the last year. More than 22% Black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people 19% of trans people (19%) reported experiencing an eating disorder in the last year.

But a more recent study found stereotypes about who gets an eating disorder are preventing LGBTI people from seeking and getting medical treatment.

The UK’s eating disorder charity Beat commissioned the study and say this delay could make it harder for LGBTI individuals with eating disorders to recover.

Beat’s YouGov poll found 37% of LGB respondents said they would not feel confident seeking help, compared to 24% of straight people.

But the problem is LGBTI people are at significantly higher risk of eating disorders.

‘It is sadly not surprising that stereotypes about who gets an eating disorder are so widespread, but it is very worrying that those misconceptions are preventing people from seeking help,’ said Beat’s CEO Andrew Radford. said

‘Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that affect people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. We have to challenge the stereotypes and raise awareness so that everyone who needs help can get it quickly.’

Rebecca’s story

For Rebecca, suppressing her bisexuality ‘fuelled’ her anorexia. The now 29-year-old had anorexia and bulimia for 10 years before seeking treatment.

 ‘I didn’t reveal my bisexuality until I was 25, even though I knew I was attracted to women from a young age,’ she said.

‘This suppression, a result of seeing homophobia and wanting to avoid stigma, fuelled my eating disorder, as my struggle with expressing my identity led to a feeling of failure.’

‘The stigma against LGBTQI+, as well as the stigma towards eating disorders, can create a destructive cycle of secrecy and self-hatred that can only be broken when you see yourself reflected and accepted in society.’

Author: Shannon Power

The post LGBTI people struggle to get help for eating disorders because of stereotyping appeared first on Gay Star News.

‘Thirsty pics’ are destroying self-esteem and warping our views on dating

The Real Brunch podcaster Martin Joesph has made an epsiode of the #QueerAF podcast about his eating disorder | Photo: @mynamesmartin

I can’t count the number of times I have been sent ‘Can I see your body pics?’ on dating apps.

And yes, I have even been guilty of sending this myself.

And it begs the question, what exactly am I supposed to look like?

I flick through gay literature or have a scroll through Instagram and I see these gorgeous boys. Ripped, hot and glistening. I don’t look like this.

I feel like my idea of what it is to be beautiful and who I should or should not be dating is warped.

Turning down guys because I do not deem them ‘aesthetically attractive enough.’ I’ve also been rejected by men, as I did not meet their own criteria.

I have taken drastic measures to control the way I look

I have struggled with my weight over the years. In an attempt to control the way I look, I began over-exercising and food deprivation. In my lowest points, I have binged and purged.

But now I am trying to reset my parameter of beauty and find a sense of acceptance, or at least indifference to the way I look.

Over the last few months, I have been working on a project for the National Student Pride podcast #QueerAF.

I wanted to talk to people who had dealt with eating disorders in the LGBTI community. One common point kept arising, which was that they didn’t feel, represented.

If you are not a twink or a jock – is your body type even valid?

We have all seen the images plastered down the gaybourhood streets, flyers for nightclubs and from dating apps too, of course, porn.

Any body type other than the six-foot ‘jock’ or the skinny ‘twink’ with zero percent body fat – seems relegated to niche, a selective taste or even fetish.

They couldn’t easily open a magazine and see someone with a matching body type and if they did they couldn’t see it without some sort of Label ‘Dad Bod’, ‘plus size’.

I was surprised that more people didn’t mention dating and the rejection that goes along with it.

In fact I have seen some amazing campaigns recently where these barriers are starting to be removed within LGBTI publications.

If the community demands better, we will be heard

I actually feel that we may be leading the way with acknowledging their previous downfalls as opposed to straight media.

I am also aware that I can’t blame a glossy publication for all of my body issues.

So I recently removed my professional images from my dating profiles. The rejection you feel by not matching someone is much more palatable than the rejection felt when you turn up and see a guy’s eyes dim when he feels catfished. Trust me on that one.

At my darkest time, I was just searching for someone to validate me. Someone to tell me I am attractive. To feel love and be desirable.

Martin Joesph has shared his personal story about his body image on the National Student Pride #QueerAF podcast | Photo: @mynamesmartin

Martin Joesph has shared his personal story about his body image on the National Student Pride #QueerAF podcast | Photo: @mynamesmartin

Keep your thirsty pics to yourself

I am actively trying to look at my body and find happiness, maybe it’s looking at the parts I like or accepting that telling myself, I am just normal.

I am being more lenient with my swipes and making every effort to have a little read of those profiles before making a decision.

So maybe I should extend that same courtesy to others.

So please, lets match? Make me laugh or buy me a drink. But do me a favor, keep your body pics to yourself.

Martin Joseph (@mynamesmartin) is a podcaster with The Real Brunch and tells his story on the National Student Pride podcast #QueerAF. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Gay Star News is a media sponsor of National Student Pride 22nd – 24th February 2019.

See also:

Ian McKellen to speak at National Student Pride in London next month

I’m gay and a homophobe – now I understand why

What is life like as a queer Muslim sex worker?

Author: Martin Joseph

The post ‘Thirsty pics’ are destroying self-esteem and warping our views on dating appeared first on Gay Star News.