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On Being Overweight In The Gay Community

Woody Woodbeck, a regular contributor here at Instinct, is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of a successful and life-changing gastric bypass surgery. To honor the achievement, Woodbeck's penned an inspiring editorial at Huffington Post that details not only his personal struggle, but the general issue of body image in the gay community. 

Some highlights:

I was a 648-pound gay man. The internal battle I was facing was real. Being gay and being overweight just do not go hand in hand in the eyes of the LGBT community. I was so lost but yet portraying an image of happiness and joy to all those around. This game of emotional masquerade I was mastering seemingly had no end to it. Then I got the call. I was brought in for consultation by the doctor who realized quickly that I needed to have this surgery or I was going to die. After months of preparation, consultations with all types of doctors who had to sign off on me having this procedure, a lengthy 13 weeks of NO eating and drinking Medifast (a medical shake that gives your body the basics of what it needs to get through a day) prior to the surgery to lose 10% of my body weight, and pure and utter mental exhaustion; it was time. My family and friends stood by my side as I underwent a procedure that could have killed me or changed my life forever. The recover time for me was quick and challenging but freeing. The pounds fell off week after week, month after month, year after year. I saw myself changing and becoming the man I always knew that I was but was too scared to be. Even though at the time, being gay was still looked down upon, especially in the small communities that lie within the Upstate NY area, I was able to be myself and share that with so many people.


The LGBT community has this internal fear of themselves and body image nightmares could not run more rampant. I would be lying if I said I don't have self doubt, deal with body dysmorphia, or worry about the way I look every single time I walk out of my house to go to my work place, or step into a gay club, or go to an event where my LGBT peers will essentially be judging me. Over the years of promoting, I've seen how others tear each other down (I know I've been victim to it), judge each other, and write off people before they know them because they look a certain way. Now if a magic lamp with a genie in it were in my back pocket, changing this would be one of my three wishes. Judging others is NOT something I want to define me as a gay man. For that to change, we must create that change. Not everyone can be strong. Not everyone can look past rude comments or shady eyes that are thrown their way. This disparaging treatment of others will be our greatest downfall. How can we truly get a respectful acceptance from others when we internally are being unjust to those in our own community? I believe the key is to not allow the power to be placed into anyone's hands that can ultimately define who you are. As cliché as it sounds, we all are who we are. No one can change that. No one will ever change that. If we think about how we want to be loved and how it feels to love; why wouldn't you want to feel that incredible sensation all the time? It's indeed MAGICAL.

Be sure to head to Huffington Post to read Woodbeck's full story!


I'm 40years old, 240 lbs and I hate myself. I will always be single Cuz I'm a fatty. I wish gay men would pay attention to the inside me. Maybe then I'd like myself and be in love.

I'm 25. I know exactly how you feel. I'm a bit overweight myself and gay guys make me feel so ugly sometimes because they won't talk to me. I hate it when they tell me that I'd be sooo sexxy if I lost some weight.

So last month I started working out. I started at 235 lbs. I'm currently down to 218 lbs & working on losing much more. :).

What we need is to seek validations from within rather than some sexy guys who just want sex. We're both men so I know you understand the allure better than myself. My point is, you're not alone.

So I'll pay attention to the inside you if you're willing to reach out. Please feel free to email me anytime at, I'll be looking forward to hearing from you. Even if you don't contact me, remember that you're the only person who needs to like you :). Everyone else is subsidiary ;)

Fat people are gross and deserve no respect.

An ex friend of mine Robert In Hoover Alabama had gastric bypass years back and has been packing the weight back on in recent years. The surgery left him with permanent saggy, flabby hanging skin that gross all his potential sex partners out. So what was even the point of him losing weight if your left with such a saggy flabby mess?? No one wants to have sex with him as a result.

Also, this surgery causes hair loss, as Roberts hair is now falling out and thinning.

Being overweight is one thing. But being over 600lbs is extreme. People don't usually talk about the social problems associated with being overweight, or morbidly obese. Yes, there's always discussion about "society" and "the media." But that's just a cop out. There is a lot more to it than the influence of the media.  Adding additional pressures on top of it all, such as being gay... well, kudos for this person for having the strength to deal with it all. 

I don't know where are all these perfect bodies in the GLBT community are, because almost all the perfect bodies I ever see are of straight people (they are the majority). I think GLBT people are just people, even though they are treated like a separate group. Percentages are probably the same between the ratio of perfect bodies in all groups. However, when it comes to attitude or lack of it, the straight guys seem to be a lot more down to earth than the gorgeous GLBT men. I have gotten a lot friendlier replies from perfect straight folks than from perfect GLBT people. There is some type of 'wall' that surrounds GLBT folks and makes them quire unapproachable when they know they look really hot.

You ain't got the first damn clue about what it's like to know what your body looks like, KNOW that you caused it and would give anything to change it but either your pocketbook or your challenges in life stand in your way. Everybody wants to find love and just because it isn't your cup of tea doesn't mean the LGBT community is blameless, cuz I got news for you queen....the snide remarks DO hurt, they DO push a person to be in a worse posit in than they're in. So maybe if you skinny jeans wearing, muscles in a wife beater jerk would shut the fuck up about an overweight person EVERY single time you see one on the streets, they'd have the confidence and determination to change their course in life.

Granted, at my heaviest, I was only 287 lbs. (still big, though), I never really experienced discrimination from the LGBT community. I am an average Joe, and honestly, I'm more attracted to average Joes than extremely handsome men or the pretty boys. Yes, I have battled an eating disorder in the past, but it was NOT because of the LGBT community. The problem was me. I wasn't happy with myself. Nobody, even at my heaviest, ever teased me for my weight. I'm not saying that the discrimination issue in the gay community doesn't exist. There will always be people in the gay community who are judgmental, but the same exists in the hetero community as well.

It doesn't seem to me that the writer is blaming his issues on the LGBT community.  He clearly states that his issues were his own but heightened by the discrimination and judgment he got from others in the community.  Not ONCE does the author say his issues were because of the LGBT community infact he states in the beginning several reasons how he got so big.  

I have to make a quick comment here.   At 600+ pounds you would have been treated the same if you were straight.  That kind of weight is an issue for almost anyone in the world.   The Gay community is made of the same type of people as in the straight community.  There are the perfect bodies and big penis and the guys who worship them and there are the average Joes who usually are the ones who are the happiest, fall in love and Marry for a long time.   Lets take Neil Patrick Harris for example.  Sure he is an actor but Neil isn't a pretty boy.  Neil is the average Joe and David his lover is also just a cute average Joe.  They adopted kids and live life.  Clubs are places gay and straight people go to hook-up.  They are notorious for pretty boys and flamming queens.  Not the place you are going to find love if you are a fatty.  Its just life.  Nope you don't have to have a 6 pack and big arms.  I have a great deal of happy gay couples who are not that type.  You are like the straights who think every gay man is handsome and has all the money in the world.  It's a stereotype and you fell right into it.   Tire of people blaming their own inner turmoil on the LGBT community.   Got news for you.  YOU had the problem.  And if you still have body image problems you need to start therapy and stop blaming us.

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