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Database/SQL Multimedia Internet/Networking Operating System Programming Security/Hacking Science/Engineering Web/HTML/CSS/Ajax Unix/Linux Windows Mac OS X Office Perl/PHP/Python C/C++ .I want to let you know that the person writing this article is not a gay man.I am a cisgender gay woman and therefore an outsider to gay male culture, specifically in US metropolitan areas.

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Fat-shaming in any community cannot be fixed with an online video campaign or by taking things to the Supreme Court.

Not to mention, straight people who don’t have close relationships with openly gay men most likely have no idea which issues gay men face within their communities.

Unless you know queer men or you are one yourself, you probably have no idea just how many queer men struggle with eating disorders, exercise disorders, and/or incredibly negative body image.

My first time hearing of any queer-related body image issue was about ten years ago in a punch line of involving the idea of “Gay Skinny” versus “Straight Skinny.” Apparently, those two things are not the same (and there’s also another awful distinction: “Skinny-Fat”).

Researching and writing this piece led to some candid, revealing conversations with my queer male friends; I also realized that this topic affects many queer men and needs to be addressed.

I’m not claiming to know everything, but this is a conversation that needs to start through both a queer lens and a feminist perspective. Sure, marriage equality is now becoming a reality in a majority of the United States; however, same-sex marriage legislation is not the only issue queer people face.

In fact, I’d venture to say that same-sex marriage isn’t even the most important so-called “Gay Issue.” It’s just the most publicized one.

Queer male body image, however, is one of many “Gay Issues” that all too often gets swept under the rug, partially because of its social nature.

No matter how funny Sean Hayes’ joke delivery was, the issue is no laughing matter.

Fatphobia in gay male spaces is a social phenomenon that has multiple roots: toxic masculinity, misogyny, internalized homophobia, fatphobia, media stereotypes, and – ultimately – the human needs for belonging and love. But when a society’s vision of masculinity sets unhealthy standards and promotes harmful behaviors, that’s when it becomes toxic.

As I stated before, this is a conversation we need to have both as queer activists and as feminists. A byproduct of toxic masculinity is the idea that there is only one valid way to be a man.

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