Normalcy isn't perfection

Usually when looking at parallels between fat acceptance and gay rights, one is apt to strike upon the genetic arguments both groups make. And indeed, there is a lot to learn there. But with all the talk of "good" and "bad" fatties, I'm actually more reminded of the Gay Marriage issue.

While marriage equality is something that I'd say a vast majority of gay rights activists are fighting for, its not something every gay person agrees with. There have been vocal concerns among some gays that this fight will lead to a social obligation to marry for gay people that they are opposed to. Not every gay person wants to get married, they say, so why fight for it? Isn't this only going to make it acceptable to be a married gay person in a society?

While I understand the reasoning behind that concern, I've always found it to be self-defeating. Its like stopping a field trip because one child decides he doesn't want to go to the state capital. And ultimately, I think the concerns are proving unfounded.

Its not that marriage equality activists are saying every gay person must get married. They just want the right to do so, if they wish. And gaining this right, in turn, will actually benefit those gay people who don't want anything to do with marriage for any number of reasons. Maybe they think its sexists or inherently straight-centric. Maybe they don't believe in monogamy at all. The movement, though, hasn't tried to suggest that all gay people are the same, and the risk that opponents would try to force that compromise hasn't come to be. Just like people are not becoming tolerant only towards genetic gays, they also aren't becoming tolerant only towards married gays. Its about achieving normalcy. Normalcy isn't perfection and it isn't uniformity. Not all straight people believe in marriage, and that's fine. Sure, there is some social pressure, but its not outright bigotry. Not all straight people believe in monogamy, either. All of these perspectives exist in the straight community, they just aren't used to define the straight community. That's what gay rights activists are looking for. Normalcy. Gay marriage isn't about conforming to a heterosexual ideal. Its about recognizing that gay people and straight people aren't that different. Married gays aren't "good" gays, but they are gays. They can be a unique and vibrant community, but there is also so much that brings us together, too.

That's what fat acceptance is going for, too. Its not about confirming to an ideal of the "good fatty". Its about achieving a normalcy where fatties aren't judged to begin with. Its not about achieving a segregated tolerance where the only acceptable fat person plays by the "rules". Its about getting the same opportunities as thin people. Thin people eat "healthy", or don't. The exercise, or not. But none of that defines their existence. Not all social pressure will get wiped off the map, but the way bigotry is tied to body size will. Talking about "good" fatties isn't about enforcing a aspirational conformity, but about achieving normalcy by showing that we're just like everyone else. That's the attitude we're combating. Where any "bad" behavior becomes a moral failing on a magnitude unlike anything a thin person would every experience for the same actions. This normalcy will undo those notions of good or bad, and we can all just be. Its not about being perfect. Its about being normal.

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