Eating Disorders in the LGBTQ+ Community
June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month! For many, the revelation that eating disorders have a heightened connection with the LGBTQ+ community is not necessarily surprising. Due to the pressures associated with coming out, it is easy to see why body image issues become a coping mechanism in response to an individual’s attempt to gain control over their identity.
According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), LGBTQ+ folk face unique challenges that place them at higher risk of developing an eating disorder. This is mainly due to a combination of stressors usually cast upon them, including (but not limited to) fear of rejection, discrimination, and the general inability to meet the “body image ideals within some LGBTQ+ cultural contexts.”
Recently, this issue has gained more traction online as LGBTQ+ influencers have worked to bring awareness to their struggles with eating disorders and the factors that contribute to them. In the short documentary, “Eating Disorders in the LGBT Community: Coming Out Twice”, PinkNews explores why eating disorders are so prevalent among younger members of the community. The documentary features interviews with several prominent YouTubers about their experience with recovery. One of the biggest noticeable takeaways from the film revolves around the notion that eating disorders among LGBTQ+ youth are synonymous with acceptance and the fear that coming out can present.
While the documentary mainly explores the formation of eating disorders as an answer to questions about identity, another prevalent trigger involves the intense body image ideal placed upon gay males to be perfectly fit. Nick Levine explores this in his article for GQ, “Why Body Image Issues Pervade the Gay Community”. Levine’s article provides an insightful approach to the perfectionist attitudes that plague gay males–and makes a comedic and lighthearted call for collective mindfulness in the way we talk about gay bodies.
A Reminder During Pride Month: You’re Always Welcome in Our Community
EDRS is more than aware of the personal complexity of eating disorders. We are accepting of every single member of our community and wish nothing more than to provide ourselves as a resource to those struggling with body image issues and recovery.
We invite any and all members of our community to engage with our resources and begin the process of learning why eating disorder awareness is important across diverse communities. Access to care is essential to our mission, and we proudly work with various insurance companies to make sure our services are available to as many people as possible.
Happy Pride from Eating Disorder Recovery Specialists! 🏳️🌈