The LGBT Center started a series called “Tea Talk” and their second edition of the series was on eating disorders in the LGBT community. Lindsey Murn, a resource from the Counseling Center facilitated this series, started off by asking what people knew about eating disorder, in which people shared their ideas on what they think eating disorder is about. Various replies stemmed from the main types of eating disorder which is bulimia, anorexia and binge eating and they physical consequences of eating disorder.
Murn went ahead to talk about the signs and symptoms one can notice in themselves or their friends. Talking about some of the main signs, Murn said, “Preoccupation with weight body, appearance, dieting exercise and food. Restricting certain food groups which isn’t very good as we all want a kind of balance.”
She also mentioned that being secretive about skipping meals, vomiting or being obsessed about body weight and not wanting people commenting about it is another warning sign to look out for.
Other warning signs she mentioned were GI problems, menstrual irregularities, mood changes, depression.
Murn further talked about the statistics which shows that there are about 20 million females and 10 million males with eating disorder. She mentioned that the LGBT community is at higher risk of binge eating than their straight peers and research for the gay community is very limited.
Furthermore, she discussed some of the risk factors which increases eating disorder in the LGBTQ+ which could be “fear of coming out and the fear of rejection, internalized negative beliefs towards ones gender orientation, body image and traumatic experience of bullying, discrimination and violence.
Murn said pointed out a protective factor for the LGBT community is a sense of connectedness to the LGBTQ+ community. Being connected to a community has been linked to fewer eating disorders.
In conclusion, she shared some tips on how to help people we know who are going through eating disorders which she tagged “CONFRONT”.
Murn ended the event with a mindfulness activity which she walked everyone through, a deep-thinking, body-positivity activity and she encouraged everyone to write their thoughts on a paper to keep. Murn also entertained some questions.
Feature photo by John Shreshta | MSU Reporter.