Proud2Bme | Pride Month on Proud: Josh Won’t Let Homophobia Bring Him Down

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Pride Month on Proud: Josh Won’t Let Homophobia Bring Him Down

In honor of Pride Month, Proud2Bme interviewed LGBTQ young people about their experiences with body image and eating disorders.  

Josh dreams of becoming a popular writer and Broadway singer. He attends college in Arlington, Texas and hopes to inspire people everywhere. He often feels rejected by his conservative community, but he won’t let it get to him.

Proud2Bme: How does being LGBTQ affect your body image?

Josh: My sexuality is not a significant factor when considering how I want to look. At least, it is not that important to me. Health to me is simply not giving up on yourself, even when it hurts. Other factors of my physical appearance are affected by my sexuality, though. One of them is my body hair.

I do not want the hair on my torso, back and face. I dream of getting laser hair removal so that I do not have to shave my face so often.

Another is my hygiene. I work hard to be careful with my eating habits and cleaning my body and hair as often as possible. There are financial obstacles to this, but it remains one of my values.

     Related: Pride Month on Proud: Aaryn Clerk is Fighting LGBTQ Stigma

Proud2Bme: What do you think can be done to improve body image among young LGBTQ people?

Josh: My advice, based on my own experience, is to simply get a vision of who you want to be and how you want to look. Then do what you can to turn this vision into reality. It will be difficult, but don’t give up.

There is a tremendous amount of rejection and homophobia where I live. There are so many people who refuse to change their minds or accept gay people. It is extremely painful and only gay people are truly aware of the emotional extent of this pain. There will always be people who demonstrate hate and rejection. Don’t listen to them. Love yourself anyway. As long as you are taking care of yourself, their opinion does not matter.

Proud2Bme: Who are your LGBTQ role models?

Josh: Chris Colfer has become a role model for LGBT people across the world. Not only does he care about people, but he is a voice for those that have none. He is making a difference through his acting and writing. He is inspiring youth everywhere who feel like they don’t much hope. He is an example that being different is nothing to be ashamed of. I hope to someday be a role model for others in the same way that he is now. I will always be grateful for what he is doing. He is my only LGBTQ role model.

     Related: Trans Identity, Dysphoria, and Medical Providers

Proud2Bme: Why are you Proud2BYOU?

Josh: There are so many good things about me. Being creative, musically inclined, healthy, cute, nice and nerdy are among them. My dreams give me hope. My dreams are my escape. My dreams help me get through “ugly circumstances of my environment,” to quote Chris Colfer. My interests help me cope with the little everyday struggles. My interests remind me of the simple pleasures in life.

Music is likely the biggest interest I currently have, and it just so happens to be a dream of mine as well. Listening to music is therapeutic. Singing on Broadway with a voice that hopefully inspires people everywhere is a both a dream and a goal of mine. I believe that this can all become reality for me. The only thing that can stop me is myself.

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.