This is the Body Liberation Photos Ask a Fat Creator (and Allies) series, in which we find out more about the lives, work and breakfasts of all kinds of large-bodied and marginalized creators.
Katy Lees is a writer and psychotherapist from the North East of England. They’ve written for Dirge Magazine, Do Some Damage, and Lockjaw. They’re currently writing a transgender and non-binary self-care guide that will be published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Tell me about you! What’s your name? What pronouns do you use? Where do you live? What do you like to eat for breakfast?
Hi! I’m Katy Lees! I’m a mid-fat, disabled, non-binary lesbian who uses they/them pronouns. I’ve lived all over England and I’ve now settled with my fiancée in County Durham by the sea. I love fancy coffee, knitting (badly), and wearing weird dresses. My favourite breakfast is poached egg on toast with lots of real butter, but most days I don’t have the energy to make that, so I have porridge with cinnamon and fruit.
What is your business, and how does it make a difference in the world?
By day I’m a person-centred psychotherapist, and by night I’m a writer and blogger. Both jobs are about understanding other people’s stories, especially the ones that don’t usually get told. It’s important to me that everybody gets to be heard and seen. By day I’m a person-centred psychotherapist, and by night I’m a writer and blogger. Both jobs are about understanding other people’s stories, especially the ones that don’t usually get told. It’s important to me that everybody gets to be heard and seen.
Why is what you do important? How does it change the way people see or how they feel about their bodies?
There’s a narrative we’re supposed to tell about our bodies, especially if we’re queer and/or fat – that we have to be unhappy with ourselves until we look or behave a certain way. I try to write in a way that reassures people that this is bullshit. Your body is yours – it looks how it looks, and it can do what it can do. It doesn’t have to be a certain way because someone tells you so.
What’s your most popular item/service, or the one you most enjoy doing/making?
My most popular pieces this year have been about disrupting the kyriarchy by just being yourself. I love that this message is getting out there!
How does body positivity or fat positivity make your business different from others in your field? What has your experience been like?
I think I look ‘different’ in a number of ways that intersect, and I’m willing to get a bit cross and sweary about injustice where others wouldn’t! Even when writing about fat positivity brings trolls and naysayers, it’s always joy to do.
Can you share an instance where you made a real difference for a customer, or had some really great feedback from them about your body-positive work?
I know that I’ve encouraged some readers to rethink their need for diet culture, which is amazing to hear.
How did you discover body acceptance or body positivity personally? What kind of difference has it made for you?
I have a history of disordered eating as a teenager and part of my recovery was seeking out real people who looked like me, and images of bodies that looked like mine. They were all amazing and beautiful, and they helped me understand that I could be, too. I think that was what lead me to body positivity, and then on to fat liberation and fat academia.
What advice do you have for other people who are learning to love and accept their bodies?
Go slowly. Take your time and take small steps. Your perception of yourself won’t change over night. You can try to look in the mirror every day and find one new thing you like about yourself – even if it’s a freckle, a piercing, or that you’re alive today – and, eventually, you’ll know that there are a hundred good and beautiful things about your body.
What advice do you have for other business owners who’d like to incorporate body acceptance into their work?
People won’t always be kind to you. Do it anyway.
Where can we find more of your amazing work?
You can find my weekly blog posts about fatness, queerness, books, mental health, therapy tips, and assorted other shenanigans at iamkatylees.com!