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Why I'm Proud To Be A Big Fat Dyke

In this society being a lesbian is hard enough, but what if you had two minority identities to contend with?

Fran Hayden

Wed, 16 Jan 2013 14:52:20 GMT | Updated 4 years today

When I was younger, I was acutely aware that I was different to everyone else (doesn't every teenager have this experience?) Sometimes this was a good thing, sometimes a bad thing, nevertheless, I've felt the effects of this into adulthood and these differences have made me who I am today.


When I was younger, I was big, not only was I big, but I was beginning to realise that I was gay. I remember being constantly plagued by "fluffy" adjectives; you know the ones - they're used to make light of a bad thing.


My weight issue was buried in language and I became blanketed with "optimistic" words such as: "cuddly", "plump" and "squidgy". The phrase "but you have such a pretty face" often accompanied these. Looking back now, it's laughable how these words affected me, but at the time I resorted to hiding away in over-sized clothes and munching on a chocolate digestive - constructive, huh?


So, there was no escaping that I was large and it wasn't just my weight issues that I had to contend with. By now I'd also realised that I was a lesbian, therefore, my mental baggage was equally as large as the physical and I was struggling with knowing how to cope being part of two stigmatised communities.


Firstly, I tried to deal with the "being gay" segment; I tried to get myself a boyfriend. Upon asking someone out I was met with negativity: "Sorry, I don't date fat girls" being their preferred response. Ouch. That certainly hurt my feelings. Over time, I eventually succeeded in getting a boyfriend, but, quite frankly, it was shit. I wasn't myself.


Getting a boyfriend clearly wasn't going to work, so I tried to be true to myself and get a girlfriend - to my surprise, I succeeded. However, this was an issue (for other people) in itself. She was large too. I remember we were walking through our local town centre holding hands when I noticed two guys looking at us, immediately I became tense; I knew what was going to happen. As soon as we were within earshot they began: "Look at the Big Fat Dykes! They clearly can't get boyfriends, dykes"! Harsh, but in my head it was true. I was a BFD. Although, looking back, it seems absurd that those ape-like boys having a pop offended me.


Needless to say, I soon had a complex about everything  and adopted the "fun-fat girl" attitude. I used humour to hide my angst, and that seemed to work. I bobbed along like this for a while; internally I was constantly thinking about and fighting with my BFD status, but externally all of the comments washed over me - like water off a dyke's back.


For years the pretence was exactly that, it was pretend, but I began to notice something… the comments, looks, gestures, they weren't bothering me anymore. Without even realising it, I'd become happy with myself.


I owe a lot to my mum and my girlfriend - they helped me learn to love myself. In spite of all the bullying over the years, I'm happy. Although I've lost weight, I'm still not "tiny" but my figure doesn't bother me as much as it used to - my girlfriend seems to love it anyway. Being part of two stigmatised communities doesn't upset or anger me any more, it empowers me - I'm proud to be a part of the BFD Brigade, and if you're a Big Fat Dyke, you should be too.




Recommended reading: Bevin Branlandingham is a Queer Fat Femme artist and community leader, her blog chronicles her "relentless pursuit of life".

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