I know many beautiful people. I see them in the halls at school—I see them after I log onto Facebook—I see them in person when I venture out to volunteer. Being a gay male, I am drowned in the superficiality of not only society in general, but also the community I have been grouped into by society—a community that progressive bystanders believe is one of the most accepting of communities. How sad. How sad that we are, in large part, falsely representing acceptance. Sure, I do personally believe that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community tends to be more open-minded than your average citizen, but when it comes to what’s on the outside, we are no better then anyone else—rather, we are at times much worse.

I am six feet and three inches tall and weighed 250 pounds when I last measured. Granted, the last time I weighed myself was months ago, before I found a little physical exercise in a physical education course that is required at my high school.

 

Why don’t I weigh myself more? Because I love my body. I didn’t always—not by a long shot—because why should I love my body when no one else could? I’ve had people tell me that they were attracted to my personality, but couldn’t get past my looks. How can I love the body that is keeping me from being loved by someone else on a level greater than friendship? After realizing that my self-hatred was emotion displacement, and that it was really a displaced hatred towards the views of my community, I stopped hating my body and started loving it. I sometimes wonder how I managed to do that, and I realize that is because my body isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sure, it will change as my weight or height or metabolism changes, but I still will have this body until I die. From womb to tomb, this body—the body of William Zenas Stephens the Second—will always be mine. It has stuck and will stick with me through the hard times—it will jiggle merrily with laughter as my soul does—it will bend over in grief—and it will stand proudly and strongly, a physical container for my achievements.

It took me a long time to get where I am today. Personally, I attribute it to my stubborn nature. Yet there are many, many others—LGBT or not—who still struggle with self-esteem. Low self-esteem is an epidemic in our country, and it is not a disease that is limited to youth. It can and does affect many adults, as well. Our self-esteem controls or affects so many parts of our lives that it can truly emotionally cripple someone. It angers me when I see beautiful people who have low self-esteem.

 

Now—that sounds as if I mean the pretty people in our society. I don’t. I don’t mean the pretty people in our society, because according to societal norms, I am not pretty. Rather—I mean the beautiful “not pretty” people in our society. I know people who, solely because they aren’t what society deems as attractive, cannot thrive with their talents. This is, in my opinion, society’s way of murdering the emotional states of people. It is emotional murder when you jeer at someone because of how they look.

I want to say something to all the people who have been put down as a result of their looks. I want to drive home this message—I want to drive it home right to your heart: You are beautiful. You are free from the put-downs of others. You are free to love your body—you are free to be angry with the people who have hurt you, be they personal acquaintances or from a form of media entertainment. You are free to love your beautiful body, and most important, you are loved. You are loved by myself and the many other people who have suffered through the pain through which we find common ground. We love you, and we know that truly each and every one of you is a beautiful being. I hope that each and every one of you will thrive in life, look back on the hard times, and find no bitterness when you have finally found the happiness that everyone—pretty by societal norms or not—is entitled to.

BY: BILL STEPHENS