What happens when queerness and body size intersect? Can joy and pleasure be found at this intersection? In what ways can we create space for a diversity of bodies and pleasures? Join us as we interview guest Dani Adriana and explore these questions and more. Hear it all on this episode of the Queer Joy Podcast; where two relationship therapists explore what it looks like to see joy in queer relationships.
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Danielle: probably more impactful on my relationship with sex is my relationship with fatness and gender, versus like the actual mechanics of sex or dating because like fat people can have sex like.
Keely: What? I
Melisa: Hi everyone. Welcome back to Queer Relationships Queer Joy.
Keely: Yay. Welcome everyone. Well, I say it often and we are absolutely excited to have a guest today who she is coming at us from Australia, all the way from Australia,
Melisa: I'm so impressed. Thank you for being here, that early.
Danielle: You're so welcome. Yeah. I come from the future, everything's just as terrible as it was yesterday, um, yeah, no, thanks for having me.
Keely: Yeah, well we were just starting, before we pushed record, getting a little update on your relationship status, which I look for listeners to hear. But first.
Keely: I wanna make sure that we do, I was gonna say proper introductions, but at least somewhat of introductions.
Melisa: Some form of introducing ourselves to new listeners.
Keely: So Melisa, you wanna start with introduction?
Keely: We'll let you introduce yourself, Dani.
Melisa: So I'm Melisa DeSegiurant. I'm licensed as a marriage and family therapist and a professional counselor, and I work at Connective Therapy Collective. I'm a white person. I am able-bodied, I'm bisexual, I'm polyamorous, and I am gender fluid. I use she and they pronouns.
Keely: My name is Keely C. Helmick. I'm a licensed professional counselor. I'm a certified sex therapist owner of Connective Therapy Collective. I am a white, non-binary queer person. Pronouns they them.
Melisa: Well welcome Dani. Do you want to introduce yourself in whatever form feels comfortable?
Danielle: First of all, it's so weird cuz I've been like an avid listener of this pod for like two years and I'm like, oh my God, they're introducing themselves. Oh my god, I'm not listening. What the heck? . Um, so Hi, I'm Danni. I'm currently studying my bachelor's of counseling at Griffith University in Brisbane. I'm a fat activist white person,chronic illness, PCOS, liver, maybe endo, who knows? Women's health is a joke. Um, and I, um, I'm a ciswoman, I go by pronouns she and her and I'm queer and I'm fat.
Keely: And you're up early this morning talking to us.
Keely: Quick update cuz I loved your little story about, your girlfriend right now.
Keely: What would you like to say about your status and for listener.
Danielle: Um, so I were previous to this relationship, um, I identified as queer, but I guess before that I identified as bisexual. I think queer is a better capsule for me but prior to this relationship, I had dated women in the past, but I'd never, been in like a formal, like, monogamous relationship with a woman. I'd mainly been in monogamous relationship with men, so, prior to dating her, I was like, oh, kind of re questioning ideas around like relationships and monogamy and marriage and kind of going down that road with my therapist and, on our first date, I was like, I'm not moving in with a partner ever again and I'm not, I'm not gonna get married and then cut to seven months later, we already live together, and we'll probably get married. But I think the thing that is interesting for me, which I didn't get to touch on in my introductions, but like, you guys have had an episode on before, is that I also live with my, best friend who's also like my queer platonic partner.
So she was kind of a really big important part of my life that was like, I don't really know if I wanna live with a partner again.
Yeah. And I was really nervous about getting into a relationship just to see how that dynamic would go. but now they're like best friends and it's very cute and they're obsessed with each other, so it's great.
Melisa: Oh my gosh.
Keely: Oh my gosh. I am so jealous. You have like the best of both worlds. I always say I want like the best friend and the partner and like you have it all. That's so awesome. And how queer is it for you to be like, oh yeah, now we're living together after like seven months.
Danielle: Yeah, I know. She like my girlfriend's favorite queer joke is like the U-Haul one, which I'm also like, babe, what is this? 2004? But at the same time I'm like fair enough. Like that literally was me. Cuz I, yeah, I don't know. I'm that really annoying person at parties now when you know, when people are like, When you know, you know, I used to hate those people. I was like, you dunno shit. Like nobody knows anything. And then now I'm like, oh yeah, when you know, you know
Melisa: It happens.
Keely: I know. It's like a constant reminder. I mean, Melisa and I talked about before, and I get that. I will forget that's a thing. And then I think that translates to things other than just romantic relationships, but that gets harped on in romantic relationships. When I'm looking at buildings, when I'm looking at houses, friends, connections of when I hiring someone.
Like I remember when I met Melisa, and I think I've told you this, Melisa, I never said this on air though. When Melisa and I first met, and it was during Covid on Zoom hiring, and I like, it took two minutes and I was like, oh yeah. I was like oh yeah.
Melisa: You didn't tell me that, but I felt like it was funny too, cuz there was another person interviewing me as well, but there was a link confusion, so it was just you and I Keely and like we were like hitting it off. I'm like, well this feels great.
Danielle: Oh my God. How romantic guys.
Keely: Yeah, and I-
Melisa: When you know, you know.
Danielle: And, you know, you know, but also like also kinda fuck those people a little bit because I feel like, you know, like even though I say that, you know, like every relationship I feel like regardless of whatever comes with its own set of insecurities and like trauma and like, I've definitely had, a lot of that in previous relationships.
So like, there's still also, I'm like a person who like with high anxiety and depression, so like, I'm like, well, nothing's ever a hundred percent, but as far as like most like all other relationships I've had, like when I met her it was like very different. And it kind of felt like when I met, my Quip sto partner, so I was like, oh, this is like special.
Danielle: And it was a blind date. Well, kind of like our uni friend set. Like my uni friend is her best friend, so she set us up.
Keely: She knew, I love-
Keely: I can still, I can still vibe with a blind date. I maybe I'm just old and old school, but like , well, I'm thinking about the other side of it is when people have been like friends for a super long time and then start dating and I'm of the era, I will admit it, when Harry met Sally , I def- many times.
Danielle: How embarrassing to admit.
Keely: But I wanted, but it's, but in essence of like, there is this piece of it, like how they're friends for so long that there's also this queer story of being friends for a long time and then figuring out. That you have want to be romantic or that you have these sexual, romantic feelings towards somebody. So
Keely: You know, there's that other side of it, like, you know, that, you know right away or there's this like, tension for years and unsure. And then figure it out. And you looked-
Melisa: That's what I feel like, that's like been my experience when I came out of like repression is looking back at all my friendships that were like,oh, I had a crush on her. I didn't know. There was always that tension.
Danielle: I think that's sort of common with like, you know, like femme relationships, right? Or like at least relationships that aren't with cis men. Is that like I have always really been great at friendship. I've always really valued connections with other fem people or non-binary people, or people that aren't cis men.
Not that there's anything particularly wrong with them, but like, you know, that's where a lot of my like friendship group and just people I connect with really at the core level exist in identity wise. And like so many of those relationships, like even when I met Julia, my partner like it felt like she was like someone I could be best friends with.
And like I, I think that's just so important cuz if you don't have a solid level of friendship, like for me at least in my identity and experience, like it's hard for me to grow those other amorous feelings above that. So that was really nice when I met her too cause I was like, oh this is a kind of girl that I could be best friends with. And then I was like, also she really pretty. I think I wanna kiss her. So it worked out. She wanted to kiss me too so it was great.
Melisa: Yeah. Cool. Good.
Keely: Oh, that's so sweet. Well, you know how we love a sweet love story, romantic story, and what a great start to, this will be posting after Valentine's Day, but it's still a sweet little story. So we were really interested in hearing more and having a conversation about sex. We talked about sex quite a bit along with relationships and hearing a little bit more about your thoughts and maybe even giving for listeners who don't know who you are or haven't followed you, and hopefully this is a plug for them to follow you now, some background about what you know, you call yourself a fat activist and those pieces of what really is your passion and what you've been doing on social media and in your work, and then we can go into that talking more about fatness, fat phobia and sex.
Danielle: Sure. so I started on the internet 10 years ago, which is insane. I turned 30 last year, which isn't old, but, , you know, I feel like if you didn't have at least MySpace, like you're not really sure what the internet is. I'm turning into one of those old ladies. so I started my account on Instagram initially as like actually an eating disorder recovery account. So, during, as a teen and an early adult, I suffered pretty bad from a restrictive eating disorder. And, I was really frustrated at the, like, once I got into recovery, I was really frustrated at, the easier like access for like pro eating disorder content online.
And how also there wasn't really a lot of diverse stories being told of people in different body sizes. There was a very like stereotypical idea of who suffered from an eating disorder, um, so I did that and then over the last 10 years I've kind of, you know, fell into the body positivity world and then like the fat world, of activism and kind of like fat phobia and dealing with, you know, all of that kind of peer support aspect.
And now, cause I'm starting to be a counselor and I also do, one-on-one client sessions with peer support for people with body image issues or, you know, who exist in fat bodies. I kind of. My work kind of led me here, I think, because like all of my identities kind of intersected. but also I've kind of just always been someone who's very like politically and social justice orientated. And the intersections of like my eating disorder suffering and my mental health stuff and then also having that experience in a fat body, was something that at the time on the internet wasn't really talked about.
Danielle: Um, so that's kind of the roots of where I came from.
I'm curious when, like, what came up for you in making that jump from focusing on eating disorders to being a fat activist? And I know for some of our listeners, like even hearing that language may feel new for them, so welcome everyone to that language. But yeah, I like, I'd like to hear I guess a little bit more about, I, I don't know if it's like the values maybe that underpin the work you do, but what comes up for you, and I'm imagining with some of the clients you work with, they're still struggling with eating disorder type, mentality and ideas.
Danielle: Yeah. So I think like, you know, I think the majority of the world, or at least the western world, like, I've never really come across someone who hasn't had a period, of some type of diet culture influence. Be that around, you know, body shape or body want or insecurity or food issues or issues with, you know, exercise or what I call movement. Cause I feel like exercise is a pretty harsh term.
Keely: Yes, I say movement all the time. We say that, yeah, movement.
Danielle: Yeah. So, yeah, like I have never really met someone that has not experienced that. and I think talking about my eating disorder was really important, but as my recovery got stronger, and as something. Because I'm someone who kind of believes that I'm like always in recovery from my eating disorder rather than I'm like recovered just because in times of high stress or, you know, my nervous system has certain, tendencies and like, you know, at least cravings to deal with, you know, emotional regulation in that way.
And it's something that like kind of, it's always there for me. but as my recovery got stronger, I think moving away from just talking about eating disorder content was important for me cuz it wasn't my full story anymore. But for me, and for most people with eating disorders, you can't separate like that mental illness and your identity.
because for a lot of sufferers, and it's getting better, but especially like 10, 20 plus years ago, you know, the DSM was like very, you know, it's one of the only categories of mental illness if we're gonna call it that. That is, like based on also like your BMI, which is really weird to me.
Danielle: Cause like nobody would go to the doctor and be like, I have depression. And they're like, you don't go meet the weight criteria. Like maybe come back like
Danielle: But they do that for a lot of eating disorder suffers. And unfortunately there's a lot of, especially like from a medical industry, like doctors specifically who still have that mentality that, as long as your weight is you know, in a healthy BMI, which is bullshit anyway. But, as long as that exists, then you don't have a problem. or you are just like on a diet, which you should be because of X, Y, Z. so it came really integral for me to talk about my identity and my body, especially cuz from like a fat phobia perspective.
Fatness is like one of those identities that people think is like self-chosen . Mm. Um, you know, for, and this isn't everyone, and I would never wanna compare to other, groups who are marginalized. But like, for example, if someone had an obvious physical disability, most people are like, okay, like you were born with that, or something happened to you.
And while people are still dicks about that too, like. There's some empathy there for people being like, you haven't chosen this situation. but with the fat phobia you receive in a fat body, people are like, well, if it's that bad, just lose weight. And that like, kind of personification and also like put blame on the person.
For not having accessibility because of their size, cuz our world is fucked up. it's probably one of those identities that I personally feel one of the most misunderstood. especially cuz you've got the diet culture industry pumping out like billions and billions of dollars to convince everyone, regardless of if they're fat or not, that we should be smaller.
Danielle: So, yeah, it just became, sorry that was a really long-winded answer, but it really came important for me to talk about those two intersections together. and it's like any other identity, you know, like not being able to talk about my queerness or not being able to talk about my experience with mental health, like fatness affects the way I am perceived and the way I experience the world. So why wouldn't I talk about that?
Melisa: Yeah, I appreciate, I mean, be as long-winded as you like. this is golden information for people to hear. and as you're saying, This fat phobia. I mean it come, it comes from everywhere. But the medical community especially, and I know we've talked about the harm done in the medical community to lots of groups of people, but I think that's, it's just, so important to have people like yourself who are giving different information and a different way of being healthy that isn't this toxic model that has harmed so many.
Danielle: Yeah, I agree. And I think like, you know, that's something that, especially as a counselor and someone who's like very person-centered in their approach to a lot of things, whether that be social justice or, my counseling work or whatever, you know, the medical model isn't based off that, and that, and Australia's improving.
And in Australia we definitely have more accessibility when it comes to financial, healthcare, which I'm so freaking grateful for, you know, compared to the US or other places. But it's still. is a continual, advocacy issue and also just like really exhausting for people. And it also actually does physical harm.
Like, I was at the gynecologist last week, and this is a new gynecologist and she still offered me like weight loss drugs, which is basically like legal speed, which I was like, yeah, no thanks. Um, and also like, but also, you know, that's still someone who does this as a job who advocates for myself.
And I was exhausted at the end of that day. I was just like, I can't do this again. And for a lot of fat people or a lot of people who are discriminated against in that way, it means they don't go back to the doctor. It means they ignore pain, it means they ignore symptoms.
Danielle: And one day they might get really sick with something because they either feel like they won't be believed or there's a lot of fear and a lot of like trauma around medical people. And that's when you know people can die. Like that's the actual reality of it when we want to talk about it, and that's not even getting into this, the conversation around. weight loss surgeries or weight loss interventions that doctors push. which, you know, for people who choose that, I would never, ever judge them because we don't know what it's like to be in their bodies and body autonomy is their choice.
but I think the promotion of it and also like the actual health benefits and like, the fucked up nature of that. Can I swear in this podcast?
Melisa: Oh yes.
Danielle: Um, the fucked up nature of that in the medical industry and like the profiteering of that is in my opinion, super dangerous. you know, we've seen Nita come out in the last two weeks. I'm not sure if you guys saw this, but, you know, promoting and also the American Pediatric Society promoting, weight loss surgery for,
Danielle: Like children.
Keely: Yes. Yes.
Danielle: And I, and regardless of how much you know about weight loss surgery, like it, it fundamentally changes the way your body absorbs nutrition.
And when you put it as simple as a sentence as that, it's a pretty big choice to make. and you know, for anyone listening who isn't a fat body or, you know, has considered weight loss surgery or is going down that road, like, please like make your decisions and use your body autonomy. Like, you know, for some people the risk of that versus accessibility in spaces.
Danielle: Um, is important, and that is important to say because, there's people who are in larger bodies than me who experience even more discrimination, and for them that might be a choice that feels really good because they're able to relieve themselves of some of those marginalization issues and oppression.
but this mentality that like, oh, if you're fat, like let's just put you in weight loss surgery. You're a great candidate for that. I think is problematic and super fucked up.
Melisa: Yeah. And it, it communicates this idea of, oh, let's fix that, you know?
Danielle: Yeah. and when like, that's such a, like, biomedical model, right?
Like every illness is a pathologization, like pathologizing that, and just like trying to find fixes is like what medicine should be about. and my opinion is like regardless of your health status, whether you're thin, whether you're not, whether you're able bodied, whether you are not, , you know, people deserve accessibility and accommodations and basic human respect.
and health is, at least in the country, I live like something that should be like a fundamental right to access .
That's where the piece around when we're talking about sex and our own personal sexuality and our own. How people show up in the world as a sexual being and that intersection of how people are treated, who are in bigger bodies, who are fat, how that changes the interactions, how there's often, I mean, you'll see in social media how certain body types are like not sexual or de, I don't know if that's a word, desexualized, but like the idea. We are so bombarded with images that sex is one way or sex the way that a person who is having sex looks a certain way.
Keely: I wonder if you have wanna talk a little bit about, or you, if you have your own comments, whether it's research or people you've talked to or if you wanna talk about your own experience, how all of these things we're talking about then influence how a person can show up as a sexual being and in a relationship sexually.
Danielle: Sure. Um, I always love to talk from my own lived experience cuz like, fatness is so diverse and like fatness includes other intersections. You know, there's fat people of color, there's fat disabled people, there's fat. You know, people that just have intersections that I don't exist in. So I can't really speak to everybody's experience of fatness.
I like to say I'm not the patron saint of fat people. . . Um, cause you know, when you're like, you know, you have one intersection that other people don't have in the room and they're like you and you're like, bruh. Like, I'm not the representative. Like said from fat camp, like,
Danielle: Um, Yeah. So I, fatness for me and sex is super complicated.
the way I'd like to frame it lately is, you know, often in queer spaces we talk about like when you finally come out, and especially for like millennials and up, I feel like we typically, not always, but come out a little later in life or figure out things a little later in life. I'm so glad that Gen Z has more media and represent representation to figure that out.
Danielle: Now that's really exciting. but you have this like second queer adolescence, right? Like you have this second. Time of being a teenager and a young person and kind of figuring yourself out, whether that's because you held back or you didn't have access, or you lived in like a really remote town and there was no other gay people.
Like, you know, that is a common thing. And I think, fatness is kind of the same, you know, as a teenager, I was in a lot smaller body than I am now. but I was larger than my peers and I often felt like that's a perfect word, like desexualized, like kind of this, person who would felt like a sexual being and like, you know, obviously was interested in that cuz my identity falls in that spectrum, but couldn't really express that, couldn't really, didn't really feel desirable.
Didn't really feel worthy of other people's love. and kind of just switched off to that part of myself. And then, you know, as I've gotten older and I've embraced my identity more, or also like as I've gotten older and like gone on like dating apps or like done the young adult thing of that, or just been on the internet as a fat human.
there's this whole other side of that identity that's super fetishized specifically by cismen.
Danielle: That also grosses me the fuck out because like, it's really weird to me that fatness is a fetish, but like thinness isn't considered a fetish even though there's some people who will only ever date thin before like, what? I think also having like fetishes around body stuff is like really weird. Like, just a whole other conversation. But, fatness in general, I feel like, yeah, like I was either getting these messages. I'm gross and disgusting and nobody would ever want me, or someone only wanting me because of this one part of my identity that felt really fetishized and gross.
so I was either not sexual or too sexual, but it wasn't ever really my own claiming of it. It was other people's like opinions of me. And as a young woman, that's a really scary place to be when you're trying to figure out sex and sexuality. for me, in my early twenties and teens, I didn't even really think I was queer because I was like, oh yeah, I love girls.
Danielle: Everybody thinks they're hot. Like that's just fact. And
Melisa: I'm still trying to get over the fact that that's not fact.
Danielle: Yeah. I still, I still sometimes am like everybody's a little bit queer, but then that gets into a weird territory.
Melisa: I'll name, I problematically still am working on that. It's problematic that I'm working on it. It's problematic that I go there immediately.
Danielle: Yeah, same. I'm like, okay. but I was mainly dating cis men and because I had all of these insecurities and I also had this like, Real ingrained thing that my sexuality isn't mine to claim. yeah, it was not my fault and definitely as you know, a result of cis men and patriarchy, but I often allowed myself to be in situations or allowed treatment of myself without boundaries that now as a 30 year old would never have put up with, you know, because that identity and that experience in the world growing up and as a young woman, like I didn't have any agency over what that meant.
Danielle: And it's really complicated for a lot of fat people and myself, I think, to, to experience that. Like I remember I read an article recently and I can't remember where the research was from, but it was from, I think it was from like college students in America. And, they said they, they survey all these students on campus and they were like, you know, for cis men, like, what's your biggest fear on a date?
Like when you go on a date with a woman? if they were straight and they were like, oh, that she'll turn out to be fat. And for cis women it was like that they'll murder me. Like that was like
Keely: Oh my gosh.
Danielle: And I'm like, and I'm like, how? Obviously, like, you know, it's not very inclusive study, but particularly in, you know, straight cis identity. That's such a fucking crazy thing. But it's, I immediately was like, well, yeah, like, you know, what's the first thing you do when you go on a like online date? You know, you text all your friends, his information. You know,
Melisa: Here's where I'm going. I'm gonna text you in 20 minutes. If not, call someone, come back.
Danielle: Yeah. Cause that's the reality of the world we live in. but for men, their biggest fear is that a girl would turn up fat. And like, that's such indicative of a patriarchal systems, but also be, you know, what fat women and fat people are up against in dating and relationships.
and also just that, you know, fatness in general is something that, like you said, is desexualized is like, you know, not preferred. You know, I always find it really funny too, like for this from a cis male perspective or just like a male identifying person perspective, is that like, there's so many like nineties, 2000 sitcoms with like fat husbands and like really hot wives.
Keely: Oh yes.
Danielle: Like really dense hot wives. And it's like, oh, cool. They are still allowed to be a sexual person because male trump's fatness. But for fem people or people who are, you know, gender diverse, , uh, fatness seems to be your first indicator. And for me as a person, you know, talking about gender, that's been one of my biggest struggles because I have always felt like a woman.
I, I am a cis woman and that is my identity, and I've always been super femme. But I never felt womanly enough. because I'm tall and I'm broad and I'm fat. And like if I was like a queer butch woman, like I would fucking rock that, but it's not who I am. and it doesn't necessarily look like what, you know, this girly, petite, waif-like, manic, pixie dream girl shit that we were sold, you know?
For me, I think in the last 10 years, probably more impactful on my relationship with sex is my relationship with fatness and gender, versus like the actual mechanics of sex or dating because like fat people can have sex like.
Keely: What? I didn't know that.
Melisa: Keely and I have said this, this just about Queer sex. Right. If there's a will, there is a way what may happen.
Danielle: Oh my god. Literally, it's so funny. Like one of our, like a friend of a friend recently. my girlfriend, she was like, she's like 32, and she was like, she's very straight. and she was like, how do, like queer people, like how do girls have sex? And she was like, well,
People still out here thinking we just like hold heads of like, you know, whatever, which is totally cool, but. Yeah, I just think it's so funny that sometimes people are like, oh my God, you're fat and you have sex. Like that really blows people's mind sometimes. but yeah, I think it's just representation too. You know, fatness, I grew up in the years of like Biggest Loser being on TV, and
Keely: Oh my gosh, yes. I remember that. I was obsessed with that show. Ugh.
Danielle: Yeah. I think everyone I know was right, like millennials, we were all like, this is the best thing ever. You know, in hindsight, a, it's just like super problematic, but like, you know, I was watching that at like nine maybe.
and you know, there's a lot of things that can go on to like eating disorder, diagnosis or, you know, susceptibility or risk. But I do think that early programming of those types of things and media definitely still had an impact. You know, I think either way I was kind of destined to cuz I have so many risk factors with ED stuff like I was destined to have an eating disorder, but you know, there was a lot in mainstream culture that really helped kind of accelerate that for me, I think.
Keely: Yeah. That makes, yes, there were so many things and oh gosh, when you say Biggest Loser and I think about. Just the mentality. I mean, we just, it's February right now, so January is all of those goals that we have and all of that pushing of weight loss and something that, so I'm not a medical doctor, duh.
But I feel like I always have to disclaim that before I say something about bodies. Something I remember that made a lot of sense to me that I heard because when we're talking about, so we're talking about fatness and then we're also talking about body size and then this idea of how re like eating disorders and then also restricted eating.
And so something that really struck me, and I'm like, we need to talk about this way more, but I don't have the medical things to back it up, is when we are res, when people are having restricted eating and when there is a certain, there's a threshold of. I think percentage of body fats that really influences our desire to have sex.
And so I think that's something that isn't talked about. Whatever body size is, when we're talking about restricted eating, all of these things come up and we don't talk about enough. It's like, are you eating like
Melisa: Right. Those basic needs.
Keely: Yeah. Like are you're coming to counseling and you're not, you're saying you're not really interested in sex or you wanting to be more interested in sex cuz your partner is wanting it or there's all these reasons why people come to it, and we're not saying, Hey, are you eating enough? Are you getting enough nutrients? Are you restricted eating? what is your relationship to your body and how are you taking care of your body?
Danielle: Mm-hmm. And I think it's one of those things that with fatness, like so many things, whether it's pain, whether it's nutrition, whether it's movement, whether it's anything, anytime there's a problem we've been told since we were little, like, it's your fault.
Yeah. Like it's your fault. Lose weight is the answer. So when that becomes the schema and the messaging, your internal, especially for someone like me who had an eating disorder, like my internal body cues, like I'm still trying to get them back. Like I'm still 10 years down the road in recovery being like, oh, unless I'm at a 10 of hunger or a 10 of thirsty or a 10 of tired, I don't know.
And like part of that is also like my trauma history and you know, a whole bunch of other shit that makes me. But, I think it's common for fat people. I think fat people have consistently denied accessibility, denied comfort, denied pleasure in whatever aspect you wanna define pleasure. And that includes food, you know, like we've deprived ourselves and when deprivation is your set point, when deprivation feels normal, deprivation feels like what you have to do to be a quote unquote good person.
Cuz there's this whole other conversation around morality that I think is interesting, like as we move away from. religion as a society, our, like, praising into wellness and diet culture as like absolution for being a good person. It's really fucking interesting to me. and super ableist. But um, yeah, like I think for me, like that has always been a really interesting question.
It's kind of one of those things that when you get to this intersection of this, and then you're someone who also has mental illness or has neurodivergence or has any type of, other marginalization or just is a human with, you know, complexity. it's what came first, like the chicken or the egg, right?
But, with fat bodies, it's always Well, yeah, if you lost weight, like everything would be better. Um,
Danielle: And it's just so fucking true.
Keely: No, it's not true. But you're right, that is the message. It's like, oh, all you have to do is lose weight. All you have to do is be in this certain number, whether it's a size or this certain number of pounds. And that, I think that is the messaging that I wanna make really clear, and I'm trying to think of how to say it concisely. Maybe it'll just have to be a quote outside of this, but the idea that a person's size and a person's body doesn't determine how much pleasure they're able to receive or that they're able to experience, and we connect that and we say, oh, people of a certain size.
Live life better or they get to have better sex. We're talking about sex.
Keely: It's like, oh, this is the body image. This is the body. This is the body size that gets to have pleasurable sex. Yeah. And then everyone else doesn't get to, and that's just not true. And I think that's part of the intersection of the activism is like, and you see this online with when you're following the right people.
Keely: Really fucking rad people of all sizes, different abilities, different looking bodies that are out there saying loud, I'm having sex and this is how I'm having sex.
. Yeah. And I think that like contribution of other, you know, things like, you know, white supremacy and capitalism and you know, all of this stuff that says like there's a certain human who deserves things.
Danielle: There's a certain human who has earned things. There's a certain human. Um, is a good person innately and they deserve this over other people. And, you know, that conversation, you know, affects all of us, but particularly fatness because, yeah, like there's a really great book. I can't remember what it's called.
I'll have to message. Later via email. it's either called Fat Black History or something like that. but I'll look it up for you guys and it's like directly the link specifically between like fatness and racism and how they intersect so clearly. especially cuz you know, for people of color. or just, you know, different groups of people that are from different places or, you know, different racial backgrounds have, different type bodies or different heights or different sizes.
And, that also goes with fatness and kind of the the radicalization of fatness in terms of also how that intersects with like racism and white supremacy is a really interesting thing that obviously I don't have experience in and can't really touch on, but it's something that I'm like trying to educate around myself more because, that makes sense, right.
You know, like, racism in every country I think is a major issue, but specifically I know Earth Floor in Australia is a huge thing and that's like such an intersection that, especially, I feel like in mainstream body positivity conversation is kind of lacking. Like, like every cool social justice movement, it's like pretty much founded by like black people, um, and people of color.
And you know, that is the same for body positivity and for activism. You know, like women of color specifically have been like leading this charge from like the sixties and it's really important to acknowledge that, I think because having an intersection of fatness and, racism, I can't imagine what that experience might be like.
whereas like, you know, in my identity, I still, I'm a white person, so then there's a level of privilege that I receive in my body automatically, you know?
Thanks for touching on that cuz that is so important
Hey, Hey, it's Cardinal. You're behind the scenes buddy. Fearing the black body. That's the book. Um, By a Sabrina strings. That's the one Danny was talking about an instant classic expertly researched and written, highly recommend. You know what else? I recommend sharing your queer joy with the world.
It's me. I'm the world. I want to hear your queer joy. Leave us a voice message at 5 0 3 6 6 oh. Oh, 9, 9, 4. It doesn't have to be joy. It could be a question or an update or grief or anything really. Uh, remain anonymous or include your name. It's up to you. All right back to the show. I'm looking at time and thinking about shifting to queer joy, but I do want to take a moment. I guess I try to wrap things up and this, there isn't like this list that we can give listeners to be like now so that you can have more, you know, be more in your body or more kind to yourself. This is how you do it. But I wonder if there's a last couple things that you would just wanna point out from your experience.
Keely: What is the shift or how do, what's those first steps for someone listening who's saying, ugh, I don't like my body or, you know, all this negative self-talk. I can prove in my past that no one likes bigger bodies or no one likes a fat body because I haven't dated very many people, or it's been really hard for me to date, or I'm not looked as a sexual being.
How do people, what do you recommend or how do you help someone move forward in that from that position?
Danielle: I think like, not that you have to do this to be in a relationship. I hate that quote where people are like, you have to love yourself before you love anyone else. Cuz like, there's times you hate yourself and people still love you.
Like that's not a requirement for you to, for people to love you. but I do think in terms of fatness specifically, like, you know, there is a lot of self-healing that goes into that because you have experienced a lot of trauma and usually oppression in your body and to unpack that requires some self-reflection, requires some like self-compassion, that a relationship can help with, but is not gonna heal what you think it's going to heal.
and so I would start there like, start with your own self-compassion. Start with your own, like sexual experience with yourself. Like, you know, I'm the biggest advocate of being like, you know, sex with yourself or, or erotic pleasure, or pleasure or exploring that is so exciting and wonderful and like you don't need a partner or partners to do that.
and maybe that's the part that you start with, you know, as a fat person, maybe that's the path that you walk, is that you start your erotic and pleasure relationship with yourself and kind of figure out what that is first and also probably just connect with other fat people or other providers that you know, you know, start following some fat rad people on Instagram.
Danielle: Like even just exposure and marinating in other people's joy. Like you guys talk about queer joy. we talk a lot about fat, joy in the fat community. and yeah, just start l following some rad people who are fat. Like, you know, like get your brain associating fatness with a different schema. and they're probably like two really easy places to start cuz it doesn't include anyone else, you know?
Yeah. That the biggest message of following people and also like, it's re it's shifting that narrative that. I think it's still very ingrained in our society that fat equals bad or fat is not good. And even I was just watching, oh God, I hate, okay, I guess it's just a mission day. like the Love is Blind. I don't know if anyone watched the, the
Danielle: Oh my God.
Melisa: I will admit to also having watched all of Love is Blind.
Danielle: It's one of my guiltiest pledges. Like, I'm like reality TV and me what made for each other? Yes, please
Keely: Stop talking about the, so the new episodes that like, so if you haven't seen it, they now have the new release of all the things and they're still talking about the comment about what she eats or her being perceived as fat.
Or her being fat or whatever. And the whole piece of it is I'm sitting there listening and watching and being like, why is this even a thing? Because we still consider calling someone fat to be an insult, and that is a narrative shift.
Danielle: I think it's funny too cuz Love is Blind is like, you know, as we all know, super straight, at least in, its like formatting.
We don't know about the contestants, like personal identity, but like, you know, if there was a fat guy on it, they would be fine. it's only about fem people or women like, because, you know, men are independent autonomous beings regardless of their weight. but women are like, you know what they look like and I.
I think it's interesting that you said that and also just like interesting to explore that as a concept because you know, fatness in general is something that affects every part of your life, like not just sex and relationships. , but we have such a human need to have connection and that might look like a lot of different things for different people.
And fatness can sometimes be a barrier or a perceived barrier in that, that really has fucking very little to do with connection. Um, but it seemed like this really extreme barrier to that. And, I always forget cuz like, you know, I live in a very fat, accepting world. I do this as my job. All of my friends do this.
I'm, you know, studying to be a therapist. Like I live in a different world than I think mainstream people. You know, I think about this conceptually, it's like, you know, even if there's listeners listening to this episode who don't identify in a fat body, or wouldn't use that word to describe themselves, or are in a smaller body like fatphobia exists to oppress all of us.
Like ev, like thin people are on diets too thin. People are scared of getting fat thin. People are complying to behaviors and dangerous ideals, to prevent fatness cuz it's this big scary thing that's gonna get ya. so like, fat phobia, like dismantling fat phobia doesn't just make it easier for fat people.
The same as dismantling ableism doesn't just make it easier for, you know, people who are in able bodied bodies like it affects everyone. and I wish that people in smaller bodies sometimes understood that more as that, like this isn't just about fat accessibility. And fat accessibility also plays into, you know, accessibility for more people in general, like
So it's important to kind of be, you know, fat accepting and aligned in that way for everybody because, you know, also, what is fat like? we could get into that question.
Keely: We have this word and like, I think about children on the playground or I think when I was a kid and like people would go around using that as an insult and be like, you're fat. You're fat. But the thing in the back of the mind is like, oh, if I'm fat, whatever, fat means I'm not lovable. No one's gonna like me. No one's gonna wanna date me, no one's gonna wanna have sex with me. Those are all those like basic dismantling that even if logically we can sit here as adults and be like, well, yeah, that's true.
People will love me in spite of my size. But at the end of the day, we have that programmed in us from such a young age. So much. This is a topic that we could go on and on about. I appreciate all of the discussion and I know Melisa shaking her head saying, yes, she does.
Melisa: Yes. No, I really do. I, and especially I think your last point, like any of these structures that are toxic, they harm everybody , you know, and so I appreciate you naming that and, I hope that gives some encouragement's not the right word. I hope it lights a fire under some asses to hear that.
Melisa: Truly, because we're all part of changing this issue.
Yes, so true.
Keely: And you know what the best pro way to protest is have sex, go have sex.
Keely: And this ties in, I don't wanna forget that. We talked a lot about, we had an episode a couple weeks back that talked about. Working with different things with your body. And I do wanna like really emphasize and we'll try and have some links, have Cardinal put in some links of like, there are resources and like, yeah, there are real things that depending on what your body size is, your height, your shape, there's these pieces that, um, learning about what positions or using different things, using different props, using different things to make sex more pleasurable. Cool. Like let's talk about that cuz that's when we embrace all bodies, however they come, then we can talk about the ways that, how do we make with our partners, have those situations work to have more pleasure.
Danielle: Yeah. And I think that's really cool because especially for, , think sex is, which I'm sure you, we could all talk about that for 500 years . but like what sex looks like, like, I rarely had like queer sex representation correctly.
Keely: Oh, yeah.
Danielle: I definitely didn't have straight sex representation correctly. Um, and then you talk about like the people that I did see in sex, whether that be like, You know, exposure to porn or you know, these places where young people often foray into sexual spaces. fatness didn't exist at all. So I was like, does that mean we just don't have sex? Spoiler, we do.
Keely: Well on that note, and pleasure and sex and queerness, it's time for Queer Joy and sharing our queer joy for the week. who would like to go first? I have to think about mine. I know I have queer joy, but I have to think about mine for a minute. Um,
Melisa: Do you have a joy? Danni? Do you want a minute?
Danielle: Yeah, I want a minute. Cause I want to sound like really like, you know. Great.
Melisa: No pressure.
Danielle: Yeah, no pressure.
Melisa: Oh my gosh. I guess up first
Keely: Like your debating to say something.
Keely: Are you debating? Like, which one to say because which one do you want.
Melisa: Yeah, I am but I think I'm going to go with one. This always happens. I'm like, I'm going with one I didn't expect to go to. but that's okay. That just means I have unexpected joy and that's like wonderful sometimes. I think I named this in a recent recording. We'll likely maybe talk about this a little bit more, at some point when we do updates. But I have been doing a shit ton of grieving. It's been really sad, uh, and I laugh cuz I'm like, we grieve on the weekends and then I put it together and I show up and I do my job.
Um, but one of the pieces of joy I guess, that I wanna share is I had a really, um, positive metamour like integration experience. And, you know, I intentionally. Try to be sort of vague about partners for their own privacy and you know, I'm out on this podcast as poly and queer and my partners are, and metamours are not all out as various things.
So that's why I'm trying to be vague. But I had a really positive metamour connection and it was in the context of, me grieving and I had the name beforehand, like, I don't wanna kill the mood, number one. Number two, if I become nonverbal, it is not because I am uncomfortable with the poly dynamic or with my metamour who I'm trying to get to know, and I wanted to make sure that wasn't like interpreted incorrectly.
So there was a lot of discussion beforehand just about like my condition and the state I was in and. I was so grateful that it just was, everyone was really chill about it. And I was checked in with, and my metamour was checked in with my partner was checked in. Like everyone just did a really good job, honestly, of being very ethical.
And you know, I had some , I dunno, I'll share all of it. Keely, you know, more, but I had some embarrassing moments. Maybe I'll share that another day. I can't do that today. I had an embarrassing moment, like in front of my metamour to the point where now I'm really grateful for it. Cause I'm like, well, fuck, I can't do anything worse than that. Like, it's as bad as it gets.
Um, I'm sure I could, I can really embarrass myself when I want to. So anyway, yeah, the queer joy is that I just felt really supported and in some ways I might have been glad that I was grieving because it seemed to be more of the focus and we all just seemed to get comfortable with the poly dynamics, which could have been the main focus and created a lot of anxiety for the whole system.
So I actually think it worked really well, that it was just about rallying
Keely: Yeah. Yay. That's lovely.
Melisa: It was kind of a long-winded queer joy, but yeah, again, the context of it felt important.
Keely: That's cool. You get to be long-winded. Sometimes I'm, I listen back to episodes and I was like, wow, that queer joy is like five minutes. So.
Melisa: Yeah. I'm trying to give you both a chance to think.
Keely: You know, I leave my children out of the episode sometimes, or you know, but I, I will say like my joy of the week, honestly, my queer joy of the week is getting to take my child, who just turned 15, get to take her to get her driver's permit, and we got to have a drive and just have a lovely day driving to Hood River, which is this like little town with this little DMV on the water in like a marina, a DMV in the Marina, um, department of Motor Vehicles. I don't know what they call it in Australia, but it's where you, you can get your driver in the states, you can get your driver's permanent 15, or at least in Oregon.
I don't know about other states. In Oregon you can get your driver's permanent 15. And so she, she was taking it and it was just really sweet and it's just that's it. It was just a sweet moment and there's something really beautiful and I love birthdays and we get to talk. We went and had breakfast beforehand and talking about, she's very into astrology and she was just talking about what it means to be an Aquarius and
Danielle: Oh my god for life
Keely: and like when I talk about my kids, it's always queer, at least my older one because like all of her friends are super queer and non-binary trans in the theater program. So
Melisa: I love when you talk about those theater kids.
Danielle: Oh my God. they're my people. Yes, please.
Keely: Oh, well, Danni, what is your queer Joy?
Danielle: Sure. So, just quickly, I'm so sorry that you're grieving right now. That's such a hard place to be. I have a tiny bit of grief in the last week too, actually. We, um, our, our 13 year old, um, doggy got put down a couple of weeks ago. Um, and it was my girlfriend's dog and like when she moved in, yeah, it's just really hard adjustment for her and us as a family to like lose a pet.
so a little bit of grieving for me too. also it made me think of my, the, like when I got my driver's permit. So in Australia from 16 to 17 you have to log a hundred hours with a supervised driver and then like submit a logbook, and then go for your test. And I got it at 16 and I remember driving home and then I put my brother in the car who at the time was like 12, maybe 12, 13.
Danielle: And I was like, to my mom, we were like, oh, we're gonna go get, Nick was like, I really wanna go get ice cream. That's my younger brother. And my mom was like, oh, well I don't wanna do that. And I was like, well, I'll take him. And she's like, I remember just standing on the driveway watching them pull out like my two kids in the car.
Like, oh no, . So, oh my God. Brave that she's driving. That's really cool. Also fell um sign of a Libra vibe with the astrology picture. Um, anyway, my, for this week I think is probably just like, This is me and my partner's first Valentine's Day. It's my first Valentine's Day with a girlfriend, so that's exciting. Um, but also yesterday I did a whole bunch of Valentine's Day prepping for my girlfriend and also for my Cleveland Clinic partner. and we also even made a little valentine's pack for our next door neighbor cuz she's, single and, you know, wouldn't be celebrating Valentine's Day with anyone.
And I really love that queer, especially queer joy, but also queer love comes in so many shapes and forms that does include sex sometimes and sometimes doesn't. And yeah, I'm living my best queer family life. Like everyone refers to our relationship as a throuple, even though that's not really true, but kind of
Yeah. Um, so yeah, I'm just really happy on Valentine's Day to be surrounded by people that you know are queer and cool and all in love with each other in special and unique ways.
Keely: Oh my gosh, I love it. That's the best. That's beautiful. Yeah. So much love. Well, Danni, as we wrap up, before we go, can you let folks know how to reach you, how to follow you, anything?
Danielle: Sure. Yep. so I am contactable or followable on any social media. My handle is I am Dani with one 'n' Adriana. that's my first and second name. At the moment a lot of the things I'm focusing on is kind of transitioning to more counseling information, counseling resources, kind of integrating myself as a student and like little baby clinician eventually. And also doing a lot of one-on-one like fat peer support, sessions. So if anyone listening's interested, I run, fat peer support sessions via Zoom from anywhere in the world. and you, we can talk about so many cool stuff around body and fatness and dating and basically everything we talked about in this podcast and more. So yeah, I also have that service available if anyone is interested.
Keely: Yay. Well, thank you for joining us today, and I hope you all have a queer and joyful week.
Thanks for listening to queer relationships, queer joy. A podcast by the Connective Therapy Collective. Hosted by Keely C. Helmick and Melissa DeSegiurant with audio edited by Ley Supapo Bernido and co-edited by me. I'm your producer, Cardinal marketing. Intro music is by bad snacks. This week's guest was Danielle Adrianna. Find Danny on any social media at I am Danny Adriana.
If this episode made you smile or think, tell us about it. If you hated it. Tell us about that. Review us on iTunes or Spotify, or send us an email at media at Connective Therapy. Collective dot com. For more queer joy, visit our Instagram at queer relationships. Queer joy. Love ya. Bye.