As a Black, queer, fat woman, I’m constantly aware of how I navigate most spaces. I’m constantly determining whether I can talk about my girlfriend. I’m constantly wondering whether I can eat what and how I want. And I’m constantly aware of how I’m speaking, from my tone to the words that I’m saying.
Sometimes, these concerns come from a place of determining my safety. One wrong admission can put me in harm’s way of being attacked, physically or verbally. But at other times, these concerns come from wanting to avoid people projecting stereotypes onto me.
If I speak too loudly, I’m a “loud, angry Black woman.” If I say I have a girlfriend and three cats, I’m “one of those U-Hauling lesbians.” If I eat a plate full of fried foods, I’m a “lazy fat person who doesn’t care about my body or health.”
I try to convince myself that, if I navigate certain spaces cautiously, I can avoid those stereotypes as much as possible. However, no matter how I navigate spaces, I can’t prevent people’s assumptions.