Queer writers join forces for body positivity in new book

Body positivity is getting much-needed attention and celebration with the release of “The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce,” a first-ever collection of art, poetry and essays by 30 renowned queer artists and writers. 

The book offers many diverse voices — including LGBTQ-plus people, the disability community, and people of color —  providing a guide for navigating this often image-conscious world with confidence and courage, while challenging normative ways of thinking about our bodies.

Contributor Miguel M. Morales, former migrant/seasonal farmworker and president of the Latino Writers Collective, has previously contributed to books like “Hibernation and Other Poems by Bear Bards” and “From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction.” He said that while books combating fat shaming and promoting body positivity aren’t anything new, part of what makes a book like this so unique is the diversity among the writers featured in its pages.

“The voices in past [writings about] fatness have been mainly women and mainly white women,” he said. “Men writing about their bodies is more demisexual. I think it’s more relevant for the times but the work that has been done in the past paved the way for this to happen.”

Morales is no stranger to writing about queer subject matter, but, he admits, he’s relatively new to writing about body positivity, as it is something he has become more aware of as he and his body have matured.

“I’m coming into this a little bit late,” he said. “When I entered my 40s, I started being aware. Your body changes, and your metabolism slows down, and you have to navigate a new body. I just thought I needed to write it out. So that and being queer and how we’re always inundated with ideas of being young and not having gray hair or wrinkles invariably affects how a man is supposed to present his body to the community. I thought, well I’m already writing about getting old and getting wrinkles and grey hair. I should write about my body and how I’m large and in some spaces it feels OK and in other spaces it doesn’t.”

Morales said even though this book is written by queer writers and intended for young-adult and queer audiences, people of all ages and sexual identities can get some valuable insights from reading “The (Other) F Word.” 

“There are pieces by queer people, nonbinary people, transgender people, intersexual people — a bunch of different voices and different perspectives,” he said. “Even though there are queer voices in this book, there are also people that are heterosexual who know queer people. It’s an insight for them just as it is an insight for me as a queer reader to read about their life or their relationships. I didn’t know heterosexual men were also insecure about their bodies because there’s not lot of publications that have that. This book has a wide variety of people and ages. I know this is geared towards young people but as somebody who’s 50 years old, this book really speaks to me as well.”

“The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce” is available now via Amulet books. For more information visit www.facebook.com/TrustMiguel.

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