It Gets Better, Unless You’re Fat
I never had to come out as fat.
When you grow up overweight, everyone notices — not just your classmates, who are too young to have mastered the art of tact, but also friends’ parents and teachers. I knew I was fat because people told me I was fat, either directly (a slap to the stomach and an unkind word) or in subtler ways (having a teacher rifle through my lunch box and comment on the contents). I felt shame over my size long before I had any concept of my sexuality, and years after coming out as gay, I still feel anxious identifying as fat.
As an openly gay writer, one of the questions I’m asked most often is, “Were you bullied growing up?” And the answer is yes, but it’s never the answer they’re looking for. In many ways I was lucky to have come of age in a liberal enclave where my sexuality was accepted if not embraced. Oh, sure, I’ve had the word “faggot” hurled at me — and the sad truth is, I’d be shocked if a gay man hadn’t — but it was always secondary. The real source of my bullying was the extra weight I’ve carried since childhood. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been called a “faggot” to my face, but I couldn’t tell you how often someone has made a dig about my weight.