Meet Liam, Our Newest m.bassador
We asked one of our m.bassadors Liam what it means to have an ‘ideal body’ in queer culture, and other questions about popular representation.
Q. What does the ‘ideal body’ look like in queer culture?
A. I think it can vary in queer culture depending on how you identify. For example I feel the ideal body in the gay male culture is thin, toned white men, whereas if you look at the queer, gender non-conforming culture you’d find more average body types with a diversity of different races and persons with disabilities.
Q. Where does that idea come from?
A. I think all these ideas for an ideal body are very socially influenced and can be easily manipulated by people’s opinions and prejudices. It comes from how the media’s represents the queer community, often largely done by people without a true understanding of queer people and its community. Also, I believe a racial default to the thin, white actor/model has been very damaging in misrepresenting the community in TV shows, Movies and Commercial Ads.
Q. How does it make you feel?
A. Ever since I took a Media Studies course in high school, I’ve been extremely upset and disgusted by the lack of representation for people of colour, the over sexualisation of the female body and of the lesbian culture and in turn creating a double standard for the gay community, and for the blatant disregard of queer identity. I am disgusted that labels have taken over our society and made it so one feels compelled to place themselves along with group of people.
Q. What would you like to see as the popular representation in media of the ‘ideal body’?
A. I would like to see real people, average bodies with imperfections and an equal representation of people of colour and people with disabilities. I want to see less about the body of a person, and more about their personality.
Q. How do you feel about your body?
A. It’s taken me a long time to form a positive opinion of my body. I still have rough days where the look in the mirror is responded with by a frown. I’ve been on hormone therapy for a year now
and my changes are magnificent. I’m blessed to have a naturally athletic body and high metabolism however this doesn’t come without its challenges; since I started Testosterone, I’ve been trying to gain weight and that is proving itself to be incredibly difficult. That’s been a large part of my dysphoria and my negative feelings towards how I look.
Q. What are three things you like about the way you look?
A. I’ve always been a naturally thin and fit person, so I’ve always been proud of my muscles, and their presentation. I like my back and that through my workouts; I’ve been able to create a lot more definition than ever before. I also love the way my face has changed due to my hormone therapy. I haven’t changed the way I look too much, but my jawline and overall appearance has turned into something I am actually proud of. I used to really detest my face, as awkward as that sounds. I used to think I looked like an alien, but now I feel like just another guy.
Q. Name three things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with what you look like.
A. I like how generous I am. I truly strive to be able to help people out, and be able to provide something or give them something they need. I like that I have hobbies that include nature and fitness because it is important to take care of the environment and your body to me. Lastly, I love that I’ve always had animals around me. My whole life I’ve had pets and I believe that’s given me a real compassion for all life and living souls, no matter size, shape, species or anything.