GLC, CSD Event Explores Stigmas Surrounding Weight, Need for More Physical Accessibility on Campus

The GLBTQ+ Leadership Council (GLC), the Council for Students with Disabilities (CSD), and Armani King, MCAS ’20, discussed the need to destigmatize the word “fat,” the push to start considering size and weight in definitions of intersectionality, and the need for more physical accessibility on campus for students with disabilities at an event titled “Embodied” on April 10.

King opened up the conversation by saying “fat” should not be a bad word, but it is still not something people should be calling others, because everyone’s experience and hardship with the word is different. She and the other discussion participants unpacked the idea of fat-phobia, the pressure of diet culture in a capitalistic society, and how the word “fat” is used on BC’s campus.

King said that, in her personal experience, she has seen that it is typical for BC students to stigmatize the word “fat.” She also mentioned how intimidating it is for people who are fat to work out in the Flynn Recreation Complex.

“Think about this seriously,” King said. “Can you comfortably picture your future self bigger than you are right now? If you’re not okay with that idea, that is fat-phobia.”

There is no need for the words “obese” or “overweight” anymore, according to King and the other conversation participants.

“When you see a tall person, you don’t look at them and call them ‘over-height,’ you just call them tall,” said King, “It’s the same kind of thing.”

Symone Varnado, MCAS ’19, opened up the portion of the conversation that discussed physical accessibility on campus for students with disabilities. She emphasized the need to recognize the population of disabled students who identify as queer.

When Varnado posed a question about how the general student body can be allies to those with disabilities on campus, Sean Dunphy, chair of CSD and CSOM ’21, said BC is trying to make campus more accessible but more needs to be done in the future.

“Students with disabilities are placed only on Lower Campus, so they are physically isolated from others on campus and often isolated from people in their own grade,” Dunphy said. “So we encourage more ramps or pathways in places like Roncalli.”

Dunphy also discussed how one of the things that CSD is currently struggling with is the attendance of their meetings and events, which makes it hard to have real conversations about the needs of students with disabilities and the potential changes that need to be made at BC. He said that CSD is working hard to reach out to the general student body to shed light on the many conversations concerning students with disabilities on campus that should be encouraged at BC.

“I feel like having events that are intersectional are important because a lot of people who are feeling marginalized can come together,” said Dunphy. “And it will also call for a broader community and, in turn, make these people feel more comfortable to come to CSD events.”

Dunphy said that CSD also hopes to have more speakers come to campus who are both disabled and part of the LGBTQ+ community to make these student populations feel accounted for at BC and give them a safe space to foster conversations.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor