“RuPaul ends each episode asking, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?”
The sentiment is lovely in theory, but a tad starry-eyed for a community that notoriously holds ourselves to unrealistic body standards. Many of us gay men tend to idol-worship six packs, turkey leg-shaped quads, and other physical characteristics that are, frankly, not a representation of what’s actuallly attainable for most (especially without steroids). And many of us even go so far as to claim not-out (and maybe not-even-gay) celebrities like Shawn Mendes as one of our own because being “just too pretty and perfect” can only mean one thing: He has to be gay—no ifs, ands, or buts. (Okay, well, maybe butts. But only if they’re perky.)
The act of truly loving yourself is loving every inch of you, and not just the raw and real personality that you’ve gone out of your way to cultivate over the years. Like many gay men, I’ve struggled to accept this notion for quite some time, dismissing body insecurity as irrelevant, so long as I make up for it by being humorous, excelling in my career, or prioritizing friendships.
It may sound cliché, but as a recently turned 35 year-old, I determined something had to change and it had to change now. So I decided to bare it all…”