Dangerous Compassions

statement from Max Airborne

cw: covid, medical, hatred against fat people

This timely statement is from Max Airborne, a fat hero of mine, about medical misinformation and prejudice hurting fat people who are being covid triaged.  I need and love fat liberation.  Please consider this! 


Hey, I have an important question for folks organizing to make sure we survive this time. I’d like to hear your answers.

When you talk about who you are organizing for, about who is at risk right now, why do you not mention fat people? So many of you talk about how much you respect and value the work I do. And I’m thrilled by that. Cross-movement organizing is what will bring us to collective liberation, and that is why I do almost everything I do. But when you then fail to mention fat people among who you’re supporting and working for, I start to wonder what’s going on. I start to feel a familiar sense of invisibility.

Please hear me. Right now the CDC is calling a “comorbidity” anyone with a Body Mass Index of 40 or more, and this is often the basis for who gets excluded from care in triage plans during a care rationing situation. If you’re 5’2″, that means if you weigh over 200 pounds, or even appear to, it is likely they will let you die in favor of someone smaller. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of people I know won’t qualify for lifesaving care. Does this matter to you?

If you’re worried about using the word “fat,” then use the words “higher weight.” Perfectly acceptable. But don’t stop yourselves! I desperately need you to recognize fat people and what is happening to us.

If you’re a disability rights or disability justice organizer, and you think fat people should just accept the identity of “disabled,” it’s important to understand that not everyone who is fat is disabled. That doesn’t change the systemic fat hatred we experience. And yes, sometimes internalized ableism is at play here.

Fat hatred is a cover for racism, and for ableism, and for misogyny. It has its origins there, and is a convenient way our culture maintains those oppressions. If we want to get free, we need to uproot and eradicate fat hatred. Please join me in this work.

–Max Airborne

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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