I can’t count the number of times I have been sent ‘Can I see your body pics?’ on dating apps.
And yes, I have even been guilty of sending this myself.
And it begs the question, what exactly am I supposed to look like?
I flick through gay literature or have a scroll through Instagram and I see these gorgeous boys. Ripped, hot and glistening. I don’t look like this.
I feel like my idea of what it is to be beautiful and who I should or should not be dating is warped.
Turning down guys because I do not deem them ‘aesthetically attractive enough.’ I’ve also been rejected by men, as I did not meet their own criteria.
I have taken drastic measures to control the way I look
I have struggled with my weight over the years. In an attempt to control the way I look, I began over-exercising and food deprivation. In my lowest points, I have binged and purged.
But now I am trying to reset my parameter of beauty and find a sense of acceptance, or at least indifference to the way I look.
Over the last few months, I have been working on a project for the National Student Pride podcast #QueerAF.
I wanted to talk to people who had dealt with eating disorders in the LGBTI community. One common point kept arising, which was that they didn’t feel, represented.
If you are not a twink or a jock – is your body type even valid?
We have all seen the images plastered down the gaybourhood streets, flyers for nightclubs and from dating apps too, of course, porn.
Any body type other than the six-foot ‘jock’ or the skinny ‘twink’ with zero percent body fat – seems relegated to niche, a selective taste or even fetish.
They couldn’t easily open a magazine and see someone with a matching body type and if they did they couldn’t see it without some sort of Label ‘Dad Bod’, ‘plus size’.
I was surprised that more people didn’t mention dating and the rejection that goes along with it.
In fact I have seen some amazing campaigns recently where these barriers are starting to be removed within LGBTI publications.
If the community demands better, we will be heard
I actually feel that we may be leading the way with acknowledging their previous downfalls as opposed to straight media.
I am also aware that I can’t blame a glossy publication for all of my body issues.
So I recently removed my professional images from my dating profiles. The rejection you feel by not matching someone is much more palatable than the rejection felt when you turn up and see a guy’s eyes dim when he feels catfished. Trust me on that one.
At my darkest time, I was just searching for someone to validate me. Someone to tell me I am attractive. To feel love and be desirable.
Keep your thirsty pics to yourself
I am actively trying to look at my body and find happiness, maybe it’s looking at the parts I like or accepting that telling myself, I am just normal.
I am being more lenient with my swipes and making every effort to have a little read of those profiles before making a decision.
So maybe I should extend that same courtesy to others.
So please, lets match? Make me laugh or buy me a drink. But do me a favor, keep your body pics to yourself.
Martin Joseph (@mynamesmartin) is a podcaster with The Real Brunch and tells his story on the National Student Pride podcast #QueerAF. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or where ever you listen to podcasts.
Gay Star News is a media sponsor of National Student Pride 22nd – 24th February 2019.