National Eating Disorders Association
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LQBTQ

Last week, I had the privilege of attending  In My Mind: A LGBTQ People of Color Mental Health Conference organized by DBGM. Held once a year in New York City, the conference centers the voices of LGBTQ+ people of color, particularly trans women of color. 

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It’s no secret that gender stereotypes are an omnipresent aspect of today’s society. A trip to a toy store, visit to a playground, or afternoon watching children’s television programs reveal that from an early age, girls are expected to be vulnerable and in need of protection while boys are supposed to be adventurous and independent. These harsh norms are often ingrained into children before the time they reach age 10. 

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This week, the bisexual+ community is being celebrated and recognized. #BiWeek aims to increase awareness and support for LGBTQ people who fall under the bisexual+ umbrella. LGBTQ people already have many issues of being misunderstood, mislabeled, bullied, and victimized. In addition to these issues, people who fall into the LGBTQ community are far more likely to suffer from an eating disorder. 

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The UK clothing company John Lewis recently announced a plan to remove gender labels on their children’s clothing. This decision was met with a large amount of controversy, with many people supporting the decision and others criticizing it. Overall, however, the move is a step in the right direction of supporting children and their ability to express themselves as they choose. 

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Many of us from minority communities, whether it be our race/ethnicity, sexual orientation/gender identity, foreign/immigration status, or any other such factor, share an unfortunately common experience moving through the world: being the only one of your group in a room.

This “room” may be a classroom, a waiting room, a workplace, a party or event, or even a terminal at an airport. It doesn’t really matter what the context is, the experience remains the same.  

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I Love My LGBT Body is a Facebook page created by Leon Silvers, an eating disorder therapist in NYC, to spread awareness of eating disorders and body image issues in the LGBT community." Silvers photographs various members of the LGBT community and interviews them about their experience with gender, sexuality, identity, body image and eating disorders.

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An ally is defined by the Human Rights Campaign as “someone who is supportive of LGBTQ people. It encompasses non-LGBTQ allies as well as those within the LGBTQ community who support each other, e.g., a lesbian who is an ally to the bisexual community.”

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Here at NEDA, we find it vital to recognize the unique experiences of individuals from marginalized communities who are affected by eating disorders. In today's difficult climate, we've compiled a list of helpful resources, support posts, and self-care tips catered to our transgender and non-binary friends.

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June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate the successes and gifts of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities. As this month of celebration comes to a close it is the perfect time to reflect on the next steps if we want to keep making our world a safer, more just place for LGBTQ people. One important set of next steps is to build awareness and action related to eating disorders prevention among the most marginalized LGBTQ communities, including transgender and gender diverse people. 

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There have been many moments in my life when I have questioned if I am lovable. My belief about what being lovable looked like began when I was a toddler and realized I'd much rather play with the boys than be around the girls. As we aged together I began to feel rejected as some of the boys uttered, “You can’t play with us. You’re a girl!” The words, “You’re a girl” would be repeated by many others as I grew into my young adult years. Each time was another blow to my gut, knocking the wind out of my body and leaving me feeling lost, broken, and unaccepted.

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