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Confronting the Stigma of Body Image in the LGBTQ+ Community

Confronting the Stigma of Body Image in the LGBTQ+ Community

Confronting the Stigma of Body Image in the LGBTQ+ Community

Body image can be tough for everyone. However, those identifying as LGBTQ+ can face a different type of hardship from society and peers when it comes to how they look.

Afro-latinx young women sitting on the grass in a park holding hands looking at the camera

*picture sourced from Getty Images (courtesy of Juanmonino)*

These days, it can seem as though body image and how we look on and offline are the most important things. Body image issues permeate American society, affecting individuals of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. In simple terms, body image is the perception we have on our bodies. From the ever-evolving beauty standards perpetuated by media and pop culture to the pressures of social media perfection, Americans face a constant battle with self-perception and acceptance. 79 percent of Americans feel dissatisfied with how their body looks at times (Ipsos). The impact of this struggle is profound, influencing everything from mental health to everyday interactions. Within the LGBTQ+ community, these challenges are often intensified by additional layers of stigma and societal expectations. As we celebrate the 25th year of Pride Month, it is crucial to acknowledge and address the unique body image struggles faced by LGBTQ+ individuals. While we remind each other to love the skin you’re in, it can be easier said than done for marginalized groups. 


Killer Beauty Standards

For many in the LGBTQ+ community, body image is tangled up with other aspects of identity—like race, gender, and ability. Their entire physical appearance has been politicized in our society, and the pressure to conform to certain body standards can be extra tough if you’re also navigating the challenges of intersectionality. 87% of LGBTQ+ youth reported dissatisfaction with their bodies, and these rates were higher among transgender and nonbinary youth (Equip). From young, individuals are experiencing the pressure of what their bodies ‘should’ look like.

Truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all body ideal—thank goodness! But this diversity can come with its own pressures. Whether it’s the toned abs often idolized in gay male culture or the androgynous look celebrated in some non-binary circles, these ideals can be just as unreachable and damaging as the mainstream ones. For many, achieving an ideal body or look involves conforming to specific, and often unrealistic, standards of beauty that mirror those of the dominant culture. Unfortunately, this can perpetuate body dysmorphia and self-esteem issues, particularly for transgender individuals who face the added pressure of misgendering. Misgendering, the act of being referred to by incorrect pronouns or assumptions about gender based on appearance, can exacerbate feelings of dysphoria and reinforce harmful stereotypes. It underscores the importance of not only celebrating diverse expressions of beauty but also respecting and validating each individual's identity and presentation.


How to Fight Back

It’s important for us here at Ornami to create a space where everyone feels seen and valued, and we are committed to promoting an inclusive and empowering approach to self-care. So – how do we recommend improving your body image? Forget the mold! We’re all about breaking free from any and all cookie-cutter body standards. Your body is a masterpiece, and we’re here to help you celebrate it in all its glorious, unique beauty. Affirm yourself, practice positive self-talk, and show gratitude for your able body. We also urge you to find solace in your community. From allies to family, you never know what kind of support they can offer. We’re always our toughest critic, and sometimes it can be difficult to step outside of yourself. If you feel as though you are struggling with body image, eating disorders, or disordered eating, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Here are a few resources available specific for LGBTQ+:

Societal pressures and entrenched beauty standards can be particularly harsh, making it crucial for individuals to find spaces where their identities are celebrated rather than scrutinized. We’re on a mission to put the care back in body care for everyone, and that means celebrating EVERY body and everybody. This Pride Month, remember that you’ve got a world of beauty and strength within you. Let’s break those stigmas, embrace your journey, love your body, and remember—self-care is a powerful act of resistance and self-love.

Along with June being Pride Month, we’re also oh-so-excited to celebrate Black Music Month. Intersectionality is a theme for us this time around! Perfectly curated to keep you going and embrace culture this month, our BOLD & Black: Pride Soundwaves playlist is exactly what you need up next on your Spotify. Check it out now!