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Collateral Damage and Triangle Fatties

March 6, 2012

Trigger Warning: This post includes a call for stories about self-harm and suicide due to weight bias and stigma.

I have a new blog (and sister blog), as well as a new Fat Acceptance group. Ha! Wow, I had no idea I’d be doing this much fat activism a little over a year ago when I first read Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere. And I need your help and your support for both of these things. I’ll start with the Triangle Fatties and then get into Collateral Damage.

Okay, so the Triangle Fatties is a meetup group which I was recently asked to take over. It’s a Fat Acceptance group for the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. Not exactly a Fat Acceptance mecca, right? We only have about 60 members and only about three who show up regularly. The thing is, I can run a group. I can schedule meetups and do fun, cool stuff like Fat Foto Shoots and Fat Yoga and other awesomeness. What I can’t do is figure out how to make people aware of the group and join it. And that’s where I need your help in this area — I need ideas for spreading the word and getting new members. Raleigh is a pretty big area (several of my Raleigh-based meetup groups have 500-1000+ members), so how do I get the fat love flowing?

The idea for Collateral Damage came from the amazing efforts of people all over the country in response to the string of gay suicides. It was covered by the media and new anti-bullying policies were put in place in many schools across the nation, the It Gets Better campaign was started, and the majority of the country came together to support those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community who may be considering suicide. As a member of the LGBT community myself, I found these efforts to be heart-warming and overwhelming in their compassion and love for fellow human beings in pain. I feel lucky to have been surrounded by people who didn’t care about my sexuality. I may have gotten an eyebrow raised in my direction, but I never faced the horrors that many LGBT people face.

Unfortunately, as a fat person I have not been so lucky. While I rejoiced at this new swell of LGBT acceptance and support, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that while these gay suicides were catching the media’s attention and more focus was being put on the bullying of LGBT people (though it seemed mostly focused on LG people — I think we can do better here), there were still people getting bullied, developing eating disorders, harming themselves, and contemplating, attempting, and completing suicide because of their weight. I couldn’t help but wonder, where is our awareness campaigns? Our media coverage? Our “It Gets Better” videos?

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that for many fat people, it doesn’t get better. The abuse doesn’t stop just because you grow up and move to a liberal neighborhood. Fat people face constant verbal abuse and bullying, fear of physical attacks, job discrimination (including a fat wage gap), they can be denied insurance or even certain medical procedures, have their health and lives put in jeopardy from dangerous weight loss methods (in the name of health, no less), and are constantly degraded and dehumanized in the media.

The truth is that fat people are more at risk for both eating disorders and suicide as a direct result of weight stigma. Of course, that’s what the Fat Acceptance movement is here for, but it doesn’t reach everyone and it certainly doesn’t reach them right away. All of us have struggled and suffered through some true horrors.

I’m hoping for those horrors to be shared on my new blogs: Collateral Damage; Survivors of the War On Fat and Collateral Damage; Purple Hearts. This is where I need your help. I need people to submit their stories. I know that it’s often difficult, painful, and triggering, but I believe that it’s very necessary for people to be able to see the real seriousness of the effects from the War on Fat which is, of course, a war on fat  people.

I’m collecting stories of suicide survivors (yourself or loved ones), or suicide victims, as well as stories of eating disorders and other forms of self harm, along with our own Atchka! as an added amdin (yay!). Please follow both of these blogs, spread them around, and, if you’re able and willing, please, please share your story. The benefit of having these blogs on Tumblr is the ease with which they can be shared and reach a wide audience. This is such important information to get out there.

 

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Duckie Graham permalink
    March 6, 2012 12:36 pm

    What level of anonymity/exposure will the storytellers for Collateral Damage have?

    Also, you may want to look at/contact the American Association of Suicidology http://www.suicidology.org regarding information on suicide, survivors, and best practices when reporting on suicide. Also see the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at http://www.afsp.org . For issues around triggering you’ll want to always have the national suicide hotlines available: 800-Suicide and 800-273-TALK . SuicideHotlines.com is a terrific page for looking up local crisis lines. Forgive me if you already knew of these resources, but this is what I do professionally for 40 hours per week, so I’m a little passionate about it. Please let me know if I can be of additional assistance.

    • hlkolaya permalink
      March 6, 2012 2:38 pm

      Duckie, right now I’m trying to figure that out. Tumblr doesn’t seem to support anonymous submissions, so right now I’ve posted an FAQ which directs people who want their stories to be anonymous to email me at fatgirlposing@yahoo.com

      • March 6, 2012 3:37 pm

        It does, but you have to turn them on. Let me check.

        Peace,
        Shannon

      • March 6, 2012 3:38 pm

        Okay, they are both set to accept anonymous comments.

        Peace,
        Shannon

    • March 6, 2012 3:37 pm

      You can submit anonymously on Tumblr.

      Peace,
      Shannon

      • hlkolaya permalink
        March 6, 2012 5:58 pm

        I don’t see anon submission on the submit page when I go to it… and tumblr support team told me it wasn’t supported.. am I missing something? 😦

    • March 6, 2012 5:03 pm

      1800-suicide has literally talked me out of killing myself at least 2x…..one time i was a dumb teen in a break up, and more recently i was adjusting to side effects of a depakote- suicidal tendencies. both times it helped SO much just to have someone to talk to. so thank you.

  2. March 7, 2012 5:58 am

    Can we send our stories to you via email?

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