"No Fats, No Femmes" Addresses Bias in Gay Community
In some circles of the gay community, body image is everything. It's common for those who post on gay dating sites to list caveats like "No fats, no femmes." The postings inspired Jamal Lewis, a black man who identifies as “gender deviant" to raise money for his documentary, “No Fats, No Femmes.”
Lewis—a graduate student in media studies in Brooklyn—noticed the trend as an undergrad at Morehouse College in Atlanta. When utilizing gay social networking and dating sites to meet people, Lewis not only came across the “no fats, no femmes” postings, but “No blacks", "No Asians," and "No ballroom kids” as well. Below, Lewis explains the underlying use of such warnings on dating sites with the LA Times:
"The “no fats, no femmes” ideology is often used by gay men [on dating sites] situating their desires within a framework that excludes particular kinds of bodies, mostly those fat, feminine, disabled, HIV positive and the list goes on. Anything that reminds them of what the world thinks it means to be gay, they shun away from. Put simply, it’s prejudice masked as preference."
Lewis crowdsourced funds for the documentary and got more than $17K from 550 backers. "No Fats, No Femmes" is currently in pre-production, with a planned release of 2017. The support for the film was an eye-opener for the first-time filmmaker:
"For a long time I was afraid to share ideas because not only are we taught not to see ourselves, we’re taught not to believe in ourselves because of how we show up on a gender spectrum. [The support] showed me that there is an audience for the work that I want to produce and I don’t have to compromise my ideas or myself to do it."