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Oh yes! You have heard the saying “Straight skinny but gay fat” before it was made popular by Will & Grace (and if you haven’t, then I am revoking your gay card!). Meant to be humorous, but little did they know just how much that saying is actually a crippling mindset within our community!

BDD. Body dysmorphic disorder. If you haven’t heard of it, let me introduce you to it. Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health disorder in which a person cannot stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in their appearance. It is a disease that is running rampant within our gay community, yet no one seems to be addressing it. That is because we are so caught up in the everyday enjoyment of it with our endless social media scrolling through boys showing off their perfect ripped bodies and tight abs for a thirst trap moment, that we are blind to the damage that is really going on under this superficial surface of who we truly are!

I mean coming out alone is hard enough in itself! And after surviving the trauma that can cause, we come into a world that is supposed to embrace us... yet we are met with a sickening, unrealistic standard within the gay community that we “have” to live up to? We are hit with the Judge Judy glances in the scene, the toxic Masc4Masc culture, femme shaming, Mean Girl culture that is like walking right into the Gay Hunger Games....and may the odds be ever in your favor...but only if you have abs or a beard!

The gay community used to be such a community mindset. Used to be strong together. Fighting the fight together against all odds. But now look at us. We already have so much to fight against with the breeders hating on LGBTQIA+, why in the world are we tearing each other apart in our own community based on looks and appearance?! It is poisonous and is cancer to our culture and we are in need of some spiritual chemotherapy to rid us of this toxicity.

How do you know so much about this Josh?! you ask. Because I have suffered from BDD myself and know all too well the damage it can do. And I see it on the daily being an Aesthetic Nurse Injector at my studio! And at the end of the day, one of the biggest underlying causes of BDD (not to mention eating disorders, anxiety, and depression in our community) is SHAME. Shame we do not even know we have that rises from all the trials we had to face growing up being different.

man wearing black denim jacket holding pencil and yellow sticky notes standing while showing confused reaction Photo by Fábio Lucas on Unsplash

Being shamed for who we truly are as kiddos creates in us a shame that we carry into adulthood. The rejection from our families and friends, our church, our community. This creates shame and a desire in all of us to be accepted in whatever way we can get it. To deal with the shame, we turn to things, such as being an over achiever, straight A student, president of all the clubs, leader in sports, get the big jobs, get all the name brand clothing, the dream car and house, hosting the most elaborate parties, spending hours in a gym creating these sculpted bodies, not realizing we are not doing these things to make us happy, but a lot of the times to gain approval and try and prove our worth.

If we are gay, and are not accepted, then we have to go out of our way to show we are worthy. And people can say, But Josh, isn’t this just a driven individual?! What’s wrong with that?! Trust me, I was one of those individuals above (minus the gym part because I love to deep throat Krispy Kreme like it’s my day job LOL) and said the same thing! Until I realized later in life I was STILL unhappy. And years of therapy, and also reading the book The Velvet Rage by Alan Downs (if you have not read this book, cancel your subscription to Behind The Times, go get it and READ IT NOW!), I realized I was carrying around all this shame I had no clue I had that was buried so deep from the younger me not having a safe environment to be myself.

man in white tank top holding a gym weight Photo by John Fornander on Unsplash

I had to start the journey of uncovering that and truly doing the shadow work on myself, to love myself, flaws and all, to really start the healing process. When you deal with the shame, then suddenly our whole perspective changes, and realize certain things do not matter. We do not need to fear rejection because we do not have a perfect six pack. We no longer seek outside validation with material things because we have self-love that is validating us in ways others cannot. We go to the gym to be the best version of ourselves, not use our bodies like sex currency for approval from Jake the Jock over here that wouldn’t be able to recognize a King of a man because of his superficial blinders on. Suddenly we do not need the like count of a shirtless, wet underwear social media pic to feel good about ourselves. There is no longer a need for your public show of approval. If one continues to ignore the root issue, it will keep you trapped in a miserable sculpted body, instead of freeing your soul from the real trauma that needs the good ol’ spiritual gym.

BDD is real. And it is rampant. We have addressed other issues face on, like HIV/AIDS, STDs, and suicide rates that make my spirit sad. Yet let’s not turn a blind eye in the community to an evil that may be one of the biggest contributing factors to a lot of our issues. It is time to turn from a competitive, exclusive, and nasty mindset to one of love and acceptance. We need to love and accept ALL of our LGBTQIA+ community for who they are, where they are, and how they are in this very moment. All body types. All walks of life. All skin colors. Bearded lumbersexual or hairless twink. The dad bod or the ab bod. We are all beautiful creatures. And we are a hell of a lot stronger together as a community if we can lay down the judgmental culture, take a look at our ownselves in the mirror, and truly unwrap the inner beauty that is hidden in all of us from stuff that truly isn’t our own to carry any longer.

And there’s the last drop of that tea sweetie!


Tox Josh

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Image Source: Cotton bro at Pexels

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