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"Hello everyone is gay, I called my grandmother today to thank her for the coat that she gave me and out of nowhere she says that she would pay my way for my schools trip to Europe that I couldn’t afford if I lost 50 pounds by June. I don’t believe in bribery as a way to get things in life, I don’t believe in fat shaming, or that someone’s health is based off a number. If she offers to pay without any compensations, should I say yes or stick to my guns?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I think stuff like this is pretty fucked up. And I’m glad you have the wherewithal to be like “hey that’s not cool” because I think there are people all over the world who are just like “wow I must be horrible if my OWN GRANDMOTHER WANTS TO PAY ME TO CHANGE” .. It’s not cool and it’s not fair.

Okay but now let’s talk about this opportunity you have to travel the world. I can honestly tell you there is no experience like traveling. NONE. And in a situation where you’re safe and you have people telling you what to see and what things mean and what food is authentic. It’s pretty amazing. So, I think if she offers to pay without making you do anything that makes you uncomfortable it is TOTALLY OKAY to accept.

You might have a bad taste in your mouth at first, but you ARE sticking to your guns by NOT giving her a return, you know? You aren’t doing anything wrong by accepting her help AFTER she’s agreed that you don’t have to do anything in return. Don’t worry on that, you did exactly the right thing by turning down her original offer.

Kristin Says:

What the fucking fuck.

I agree with Dannielle on absolutely turning down the original offer – and I want to take it one step further and encourage you to use this as a way to open up a more critical conversation about what that original offer does to you. Your grandmother made you feel badly about yourself, and – just as you said – bribing you to look the way she thinks is best is absolutely unacceptable.

These bodies that we have are OUR bodies. We take care of them the way we want to take care of them, we treat them the way we want to treat them, and at the end of each day we answer to ourselves. Not to our parents, not to our friends, not to our grandmothers.

During our recent Indiegogo campaign, Dannielle decided that she was going to tattoo one of our donors names onto her arm as a reward for giving to The Parents Project. Dannielle puts a lot of thought into her tattoos, and each one has a particular meaning, and a connection to a time in her life. For her, choosing to get that tattoo was much more than a “reward.” It was a symbol of the work we’ve done over the past four years, a symbol of the incredible support shown to us by so many of you, and a marker of the work we will continue to do in the years to come. However… she didn’t say all of that. She didn’t have to. It’s her body. But… you know what? SO MANY PEOPLE CARED SO MUCH! They begged her not to do it, they pleaded with her to please not make such a horrible decision, they told her that it was silly or foolish or irresponsible.

As ususal, though… they didn’t know anything past their own perceptions of body image and body choices. They weren’t Dannielle. And they were wrong.

I say all of that because the reason your grandmother’s words are so upsetting to me (and likely, to you) is because she is assuming something about your body. She is assuming that it is, in some way, “wrong” or “bad.” And that isn’t her place (or anyone’s) to judge.

Tell your grandmother that her focus should be on making you feel good about who you are, whether that be by learning about the things that make you, you, or by sending you on a trip to Europe. Tell her that you love her, but that her words hurt you. Tell her that you would love to go on your school’s trip, but out of respect for yourself, you can only take her assistance if you feel that she is gifting you that money because she loves you, not because she wants to change you.

<3

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