As queer men, we know that we experience a lot of pressure to change our bodies and to look a certain way. We often believe that [fit = healthy] but why does this formula end up making us feel bad? This workshop is for queer guys who want to understand their own motivations for body change as well as the stress that comes with dieting, bulking up, and counting calories. While supporting individuals' physical and mental health goals, participants will support critical thinking about our community and also increase awareness around the connection between body image and mental health. By the end, we aim to increase our own self-compassion and shift our community from within.

  • Reduce your isolation
  • Better understand how you are affected by body image issues
  • Make connections between body image and mental health
  • Build skills to manage mental health symptoms
  • Work on improving relationships to food and exercise
  • Challenge unhelpful cultural messages about being "fit"
  • Learn how fatphobia operates in our world
  • Increase self-acceptance & self-compassion
  • Provide a focused and relational space that differs from individual counselling


What is Body Image?
Body image is a personal, subjective sense of what your body looks like and includes your perceptions about how it’s seen and evaluated by others. It is made up of visual mental images and positive-neutral-negative beliefs about your body as a whole and its specific parts (e.g. stomach, thighs, butt, nose, arms, etc). The “image” is usually one that you’ve built in your mind over some time based on messages you receive from your environment about what an “ideal” body is. 

Negative Body Image & Mental Health
Negative body image affects your mental health by leading to distorted perceptions of how you look, self-consciousness, fear, worry, isolation, low mood, shame and discomfort in your own body. Responses to negative body image can include restricted eating, dieting, bulking up, counting calories, excessive exercising, problem substance use and self-blame. Sometimes these responses feel effective (and “motivational”) for a short period of time but they can bring up secondary challenges, such as rigidity, obsessiveness, anxiety, fixation, preoccupation, and unfair comparisons between yourself and others.

Queer Men & Body Image
Gay, bisexual, queer and trans men consistently receive more specific and targeted messages that contribute to negative body image. These sources include online dating sites, sexual networking apps, gym culture, trends around muscularity, the people who frequent bars, clubs and circuit parties, and community spaces where jokes about fatness and “pride diets” are generally accepted as the norm. For queer men, masculinity, homophobia, transphobia, aging, HIV status, substance use, cruising, sex, dating, and digestion are all linked to body image in some way.

Contact us to book this community / health promotion workshop.