Black, Fat Queer Bodies: Receiving Pleasure And Demanding Respect
In the recently launched "MobiTalks" , a three-part digital series from New York City based filmmaker LaQuann Dawson, audiences are introduced to three themes (sex, mental health and overall LGBTQ experience) impacting LGBTQ communities of color. The first part is an engaging exploration on the subtleties of sex that includes interviews with adult film stars Max Konnor and DeAngelo Jackson, to everyday queer people of color. But there was one narrative mentioned that we believe deserves more attention: anti-fatness and the politics of showing up Black, fat and queer in a community that worships the opposite body type.
Ramon W. Johnson, an interdisciplinary artist and researcher, who also identifies as a non-binary, offers up their experience as a queer person of size and the challenges it presents around receiving the respect, safety and pleasure they deserve while navigating sexual relationships with men.
"Too often under dominant culture, Black, fat, queer and trans folks are expected to be in service to others, as if we do not have the agency, consent, and worth to even name how we want to receive pleasure," says Johnson.
"A lot of the sex that I am or are not having is based on the idea that I need to protect myself from various sources of harm: Antifatness & Predatory cismen. That’s why setting and maintaining boundaries around what my expectations are in my sexual relationships is important to me. It has not been easy, but I am constantly learning how to advocate for myself and unlearning what breadcrumbs desire politics tries to give me," they added.
Johnson epitomizes #BlackBoyJoy in the first part of the digital series—relishing in their Black, non-binary, femme and fat body—owning the power that often feels as if it is constantly under attack by societal norms and in relationships with men.
"In past sexual relationships, I've felt like pleasure was stolen from me due to men playing games, men thinking they're heroic for verbalizing their attraction to me, or not knowing how to be clear about their intentions and desires," says Johnson.
"As a fat non-binary person, dealing with cismen can feel like trying to cross an emotional minefield where manipulation, gaslighting, and ghosting brings them pleasure; leaving me to heal loads of trauma I never asked for."
Johnson also tells Living Out Loud 2.0 that conversations around whether or not to engage in protected or condom-less sex can also come with negative assumptions about fat bodies.
"Some men think they don't have to use condoms with their fat sexual partners. This is because they have been socialized to assume that fat people aren't desirable enough to have safe consensual sex. They think that they are heroic or are doing us a favor by doing the bare minimum to get to know us or sexually engage us and eventually dip off. Fat Black folks deserve pleasure and respect—especially amazing sexual, romantic, and platonic relationships. We deserve care, tenderness, multiple orgasms, and reciprocal relationships that respect and affirm our humanity and nothing less."
Watch Johnson in part one of the digital series "MobiTalks" below.