There is much research still to be done on the relationships between sexual orientation, gender identity, body image and eating disorders.
We know that there are many unique stresses that LGBT people experience which can all contribute to the onset or exacerbation of an eating disorder
Daniel Perry has fought eating disorders since he was 15: ”Until very recently eating disorders and body dysmorphia were overlooked by the general public as an issue only faced by white heterosexual women but this is absolutely not true. These issues affect the entire population. We are part of a community already plagued by a multitude of mental health issues really need to focus in on the unique pitfalls of body image and eating disorders that queer people face. As a gay man, I have found that body image issues permeate our entire community. LGBT culture is full of pressures to conform to widely accepted standards dictated by the queer media which is harmful in its lack of realism and diversity when it comes to physical beauty. The lack on non-sexualised spaces in the LGBT community can often be a toxic environment that contributes to young people developing a sense of self-worth rooted in their attractiveness and other people’s validation which is extremely harmful. When we focus in on body image in men who have sex with men alone, 60% are dissatisfied with their body and 62% with their body fat compared to 40% of straight men.Eating disorders and body dysmorphia often develop alongside other mental health coping methods common to our communities such as drug use, self-harming and risky sex. 34% of LGB youth have attempted suicide at least once compared to 18% of heterosexual young people; this rises to a staggering 48% when looking at young trans people which leaves us extremely vulnerable. In order to protect those who are vulnerable in community we need to make mental health a priority by normalizing treatment, removing stigma around talking about our problems, and raise awareness about the reality of how diverse our bodies really are.”
Event for Eating Disorders Awareness Week
To help challenge the many misunderstandings that exist around anorexia, bulimia, binge eating etc, this free half -day event is open to professionals and LGBT community alike.Speakers from the LGBT community, health professionals and support organisations will be present to help de-bunk the myth that these issues only affect a small section of our society and to offer some ideas of what can work when tackling LGBT body image.
- Friday 26th February 2016 (1- 4pm)
- LGBT Foundation, Number 5 Richmond Street, Manchester M1 3HF
- To reserve your place contact: firstname.lastname@example.org