The Boston Globe Magazine has a new article on the Massachusetts anti-discrimination bill. It’s a mixed bag, but the author seems to see the overwhelmingly compelling argument for passage of the bill. And that’s pretty heartening considering how last week went – where fat people were defending our rights to have friends and be seen on television .
One of the things I’m not thrilled with? It starts off with one of the more public fat-hating loons — the owner of the gym/swinger’s club, the “antigym.” This guy spews hatred to get media attention and free advertisement for his business, and like terrorists and Anne Coulter, he shouldn’t be rewarded with a micropone. But I suppose he also serves a purpose here in demonstrating the kind of harrassment we have to contend with.
The article gets better as it goes on, and to its credit, debunks the tired canard that fat is a “choice.” The media seems lately to be marginally more courageous in speaking truth to the public about the biology of weight regulation and the general futility of weight loss, and this seems to be part of what I hope is becoming a trend. (Well, wouldn’t it be pretty to think so, anyway). I also liked the coverage of Jeanne Toombs who’s organizing on behalf of NAAFA for passage of the bill, and Rep. Byron Rushing, who’s sponsoring the bill. (Infinite gratitude to both of them for their work on this.)
Lee Kaplan, an obesity researcher from Massachusetts, is depressingly true to form for his profession. He pays lipservice to opposing stigma: “To turn around and discriminate against people simply because of the hand they were dealt — that’s not just abhorrent…It’s cruel.” Then let’s us know he’s not going to actually help fight that abhorrent cruelty. Making the fantastic speculation that it may be “the most expensive bill ever written.”
To her credit, the reporter notices that that suggestion is without much basis in the real world, because, for example, nothing of the kind has happened in Michigan, which already protects fat workers against discrimination, nor have similar apocalyptic predictions come true for the Americans with Disabilities Act.
As a bariatric surgeon, it may not be in Kaplan’s interest to make the lives of fat people viable. But it’s a travesty that in the medical literature you can read study after study by researchers who obviously believe that weight is either largely genetic or otherwise not a matter of “choice.” And many who flatly denounce stigma and discrimination. But I can count on a single lonely finger the number who have bothered to try and get that message to the public or the general medical community. Or who have taken any responsibility for mitigating the catastrophic damage done to the welfare of fat adults and children by their recklessly-waged “war on obesity.”
Anyway, yes, it has its aggravating moments, but the article’s an interesting and overall encouraging read. It’s free, but you’ll need to register.
Even more worth your time? If you live in Massachusetts, please write your representative in support of the bill. If you’re willing to testify at hearings this fall, contact NAAFA and let them know. If you know anyone who lives in Massachusetts, encourage them to do the same.