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Meet Bevin, the Queer Fat Femme Who Spreads Joy Through Dance

The queer community is amazingly diverse and strong. Everywhere we go, there are opportunities to support each other through our queer-friendly businesses, hobbies, and lifestyles. One of the best parts about the internet is that it gives us the ability to share our unique stories and reach those we may not have met otherwise.

Bevin (she/her) has been blogging for nearly fifteen years, and since then has also started a body positive aerobics class and podcast. She often goes on tour to share joy with others, but also makes her art as accessible as possible by providing remote classes.

As she explains, "Every single person that comes through the class matters, and every single person that supports as a member matters. I have in-person classes as well as remote classes so that as many people as possible can participate, or have access to it later. I do it with the intention to connect, and it's asynchronous intimacy. We’re not here together at the same time, but we’re still here together."

Body positivity is a bit of a hot topic right now. Do you have any advice for people who just want to make or consume the media that makes them happy without all the noise?

Mind your input, it’s the most important thing you can do. Don’t read the comment section, and make use of the ability to delete comments for your own stuff.

It's such a cool time to live because when I first started doing this work I stopped watching tv and put up pictures around my house of happy fat people, which I could only find in post cards because they didn’t have fat people in magazines. But now you can curate an Instagram feed- I see that I’m on peoples body positive Instagram feeds or Pinterest as well as surrounding yourself by diverse bodies in person.

And I want to say you don’t have to be happy “with” your body in order to accept and love and have grace for your body. Because your body is constantly changing and evolving, and it’s the only one you're ever going to have, so if you choose not to make peace and be at war with it then it is a distraction, and a distraction created by white supremacy and patriarchy. This is giving your power away to systems that benefit rich white guys.

Your body is constantly changing and evolving, and it’s the only one you're ever going to have. You don’t have to be happy “with” your body in order to accept and love and have grace for it.

The way I like to interrupt myself when I have self loathing thoughts is "who profits off of this self loathing"? I can point right to it, and I'm a little too righteous to give my power away in that way!

At the end of the day focusing more on people in my life and attention is better for me than scrolling. I don’t want to see the world I want to be in the world. So if people are toxic limit your time with them, including the ones on the internet.

How did you decide to start Queer Fat Femme and Fat Kid Dance Party?

I was 22 when I realized, "oh there are fat people who love themselves and appreciate their bodies". I didn’t even know that was a possibility until I met people like that on the internet, and it was the early internet so people weren’t even really blogging yet.

And that’s really what got me to start my blog. I just wanted to share my story so people knew there was another way to be.

Every few years I’ve reached another level of self-image work that I have to do around not caring what people think about me and releasing shame. Recently it was recognizing that my job is not my identity. When I started my aerobics class I thought: Oh I’m an aerobics instructor that’s what I’ve always been meant to do!

And I will say that is my work in the world, it is my calling to create this disruptive aerobics class that helps people regard their bodies with love and grace instead of punish their bodies for existing. But making your job your identity can be so harmful, especially as someone who has to work other jobs to fund my art.

I see on your blog that you recommend How to Win Friends & Influence People. I haven’t read the book yet but I know its from 1930s or so. Do you feel it's still relevant to how people socialize today? What do you think is an important piece of advice from it?

Highly relevant. People discredit it because it's old, and I didn’t even read it until I had some people I really admired tell me they read it every year. I also read How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age, which is a little bit of an update, but the principles are still the same – people skills are important across all industries.


There's a Stanford study that says as you get higher and higher in your career, 80% of the skills you need are people skills. As you climb the ladder, eventually you're just managing people!

People do business with others they like and connect to, but we’re not taught to have good people skills because most of us grow up in family environments where that is not given or not possible. I was raised by a single mom who was always stressed, and I was taught that criticism is love. It turns out criticism is not love - people already know what they need to change they don’t want some bossy Capricorn telling them that. They need someone vibing them up and acknowledging their strengths. And that’s the essentials of the book.


I think there’s a maturity level once you reach a certain age to understand that you didn’t cause what happened to you but you are responsible for how you are and how you're going to be for the rest of your life. So self-help books like this are free parenting to help us get there.


A piece of advice would be to stop telling yourself the story that you’re not good with names. Just tell yourself that you're great with names and work on it because people like to hear their name.


I see you also have a podcast - I love podcasts! What is it about and do you have advice for others who want to create content?

My podcast was incredibly popular in the beginning because it was one of the only queer podcasts. Now I’m one of very many queer fat people in the world talking about our lives, and I don’t even talk about queer fat stuff anymore. I talk more about spirituality, success, and how to live a life on your own terms, which resonates with a completely different audience than before and that's good. We’re supposed to change and evolve.


I started the podcast in the beginning of 2019 and things really got rolling around the end of that year. It took a little time to get going, which is ok, just trust the pace. Be inconsistent until you can get consistent because consistency really works but also doing what you can is better than nothing.

When I publish a podcast episode I get maybe 50 people in the first week who listen to it, and that’s not a lot, but over time its like 200 people or even more. I looked at my Spotify wrapped last year, which was a really inconsistent year for me due to a lot of internal shifts in my life, and 12 people cared so much about my podcast that I was their number one podcast. That’s telling me something. So this year I really committed to increasing my work habits of podcasting more and vlogging more, the same way I’m always consistent with the aerobics class.

I always show up to the aerobics class. I do it with the intention to connect, and its asynchronous intimacy. We’re not here together at the same time, but we’re still here together.


As someone who is very committed to the things I do, it's ok to do that thing for a while and then take a break or end it. You won’t see a lot of success that way, but it still exists and is still a beautiful thing that you did but it doesn’t have to be ongoing. Because things can feel intimidating when they feel like they are never going to end. I myself struggle with clean endings- I stopped with my last podcast because I stopped having the resources to put it together. But with this one, I put a lot of thought into how I'm going to have the resources to put this together. I decided that would be making it unedited. Eventually, I’d love to have the resources to do an edited podcast, but that time is not now.


Instead of wanting to do something but it never happens, figure out how to do the minimum viable product. This is something tech bros do all the time, probably because they’re born with opportunity and have so many resources that they aren’t afraid to fail. Maybe we could all pretend to be a mediocre white man for a second - just put the thing out there and see if it hits.

I also think that there is resonance and relevance to having six people in your audience because that’s six people who have given their time to you, especially considering all the other media out there.

What would you say the word "queer" means to you?

I love this question, I think it’s so fun. When I first started my blog there wasn’t a lot of queer representation, like there was mainstream gay or lesbian but not queer.

To me, queer is at odds with everything heteronormative. So it's not just about who you have sex with, though that is an aspect of it. For me when I was just objectively thinking about who I was attracted to, how my relationships were coming together, and watching the gender transitions of so many people I’ve intimately loved, I thought:

How can I possibly say with any definition what I love and how I love? Its not a static thing, it’s a very encompassing thing.

My experience in being queer and loving queer is more about community and about my friends than about lovers. So I really do dig the idea of being queer as just at odds with the white, heteronormative patriarchal way of being.

I know people have been loving queerly as long as there have been people, and the fact that I can even say queer and mostly not be afraid of saying that word and identifying that way is because of the work of people for ten thousand years. So I’m grateful for the work of people who have boldly loved and fought some really nasty fights so I can just be a loudmouth babe on the internet.


Has your family always been supportive of your queer identity and “untraditional” life goals?

I live down the street from my mom in an RV park with trailers and tiny houses. We chose this lifestyle so that I could be close to her and we could support one another. There was a long time when I was no contact with both of my parents and figuring things out on my own, but things have gotten better and I’m grateful.

I feel very fortunate regarding the relationship I have with my mom. I would say that working and healing my relationship with her is my greatest success. My mom is also gay and she's married to a woman. She came out when I was 16, around when I was coming out to myself. We hated each other at the time - two out of three of our conversations were at the top of our lungs. Then I went to college and I went right to law school and grew up a bit. It's funny because now my job is so untraditional that when people ask my mom "what does Bevin do?" she says “just ask her"!

She doesn’t get it, but I think what is beautiful is I've learned that I don’t have to be fully understood by her to know she loves me, and she's learned to let me make my own decisions.

Some things make her uncomfortable, but I think she's objectively starting to understand what's going on with the economy by watching me run my business, and that I can’t do the traditional job type thing - I’m just not wired that way. I’m wired to create things that haven’t existed before.

I’m grateful that my mom doesn’t need to understand me in order to love me.


What advice do you have for queer people of my generation, or who are still trying to figure out their identities and find community?

Family and community is so important, so try to find people who love you for who you are. I think everything is pushing towards the way we used to live, which is tribally. Between 150 to 200 people, in communities where the person who does the cooking is not the person who does the childcare is not the person who does the work outside the home. In this structure work and other things are spread out so that no one is overly burdened.

There is work to life and to living but we're not meant to toil away so that someone can take your money away and send it to bombs in Palestine.


I love the way people are thinking now. I think there is going to be a movement – and it's already started – to land projects kind of like what I live on. My land project is like 30 years old, it was funded by lesbians, and there's a lot of potential for interdependence, even just sharing a couple meals per week. Just living as close as I do to my neighbors as a woman who lives alone, I feel far more secure than if I were living in the woods alone. Even if my neighbors do sometimes annoy me, it feels comforting to know that there are people who have eyes on me and will notice when I’m not on the land and when I’ve been gone for a while.


In most of our society today there's a lack of third place, which is a sociology term for not home or work. We need a place for people, especially young people like teenagers, to just go be. And when you have a land project there's an automatic third place and resource sharing and connection. We get our social cup filled through community instead of always having to actively cope with the structure of today's society.


There are also little things you can do daily. I’ve been on a journey to heal my social anxiety over the last four or five years and part of it is I do these little endeavors.

For example, I go out and try to have ten conversations with strangers a day, which is terrifying for me, but every time I do it I get through the fear wall. And now I’m doing things like calling my friends just to talk. During the 2020 part of the pandemic, I would set up these appointments to talk to my friends. So I would have a string of friend dates on the phone, but that’s even more work than just spontaneously calling someone and having an 8-minute connection. If you can talk to someone for 8 minutes that is a restorative level of connection.


It's also worth remembering not everything is about you. So if you try to connect with someone and they don’t return it, more likely than not it's just life lifing at them, instead of them directly rejecting you.


What are some of your favorite or most memorable experiences from your life as a small business owner and creator?

I started the blog in 2008, and in my first few years of blogging one of my friends from undergrad came to town and we were having a conversation about our lives. He had also gone to law school and was working at a big fancy law firm making an incomprehensible amount of money while I had just figured out how to start a small law practice and use that to fund my art. At some point in the conversation, I mentioned someone who had emailed me and said that I had helped them not commit suicide. That’s an email I get sometimes, letting me know that my work has saved someone's life or made them see themselves differently. My friend sat back and said, “I have never gotten an email like that”.


It was my first realization that there are different ways of being compensated for your work. My impact in the world matters so much to me and I trust and believe that I’m making a difference.

Recently in the last 6 months to a year, I actually need people to tell me that what I've been doing matters because I need that little reminder and I appreciate it. As frustrating as it is to have once made a living off of this and now I’m not, I recognize that it ebbs and flows and that’s just the nature of art.


What are your goals for the future with your ventures? Do you have any advice for beginner entrepreneurs?

Life isn’t all smoke and mirrors, but your favorite artists aren’t always as well off as you think they are. I’ve had multiple people say Fat Kid Dance Party is a billion-dollar idea which is really flattering, though I would never have a billion-dollar idea because I would give so much money away.

During early pandemic times, I was making enough off of my Patreon that I could pay rent with it. That said, I live humbly, but that’s part of success too - living a lifestyle that you can maintain without doing shit you hate. But now my business is not my main income - It was for a while and now it's not, and it's been such a realization that I was really hinging on that as a part of my identity.

Every single person that comes through the class matters and every single person that supports as a member maters to keep it going, but it was very humbling to think, "oh I need to get a couple of jobs to support my work".


The biggest problem I solved, which is why it was the first question I asked you, was asking, "how did you find me"? There are people out there who want body-positive aerobics, I just have to reach them. It’s the great question for the ages. I will say it was just a different world on Instagram back in 2017 when I started my aerobics class. In 2018 I could go on a tour and sell out a class just through Instagram favor. And when Zuckererg isn’t giving the favor anymore you're just in oblivion. I’m not going to give my power away, so I’m just going to trust that the shallow time is for rest and rejuvenation.


I'll be teaching in Minneapolis soon, but I paid for the ticket so we’ll see who's going to come to the class. Depending on how it goes, this is going to basically reimburse me for the ticket. So you just have to figure it out and make it work. I think you're wise to have a lot of skills and have things that you can leverage. It's not something we’re taught as an option for a career because they really want to put you in a box. You just have to develop your skillsets and figure out how to market, because marketing is the crux of building a business.


Everything is a long game – we’re taught that everything is transactional, but if a customer walks into your store it is better to look at them as a lifetime customer or an opportunity for one than as a single transaction.


Our time is our most precious resource, but another two other big resources are our talent and our treasure. The thing that we’re not taught growing up that we really should be is weathering uncertainty.

The cool thing about uncertainty is there's possibility. You never know what's going to happen when you put yourself in a new situation!

Also I caution everyone against going to law school - I think it’s a six-figure waste of your money.


Connect with Bevin

It's always exciting to see someone unabashedly living their passion and making a difference in the lives of others. It was so great to meet Bevin and get a bit of her vibrant personality!

If you resonate with Bevin and her story, want to support her work, or want to get in touch, you can find her on her blog, Queer Fat Femme and on Instagram. If you're ready to join the party, check out Fat Kid Dance Party! Listen to her podcast by searching "Bevin" on Spotify or Apple/Google podcasts.






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Hi, I'm Koi!

I'm an environmental project manager who decided to make a change from office life to to outdoor projects and small business ownership.

My goal is to help promote forward movement in outdoor spaces and live events towards full accessibility and diversity by giving everyone the inspiration and tools to create their own adventure.

I love self expression, hiking, music festivals, and Burning Man, and want to show that celebrating diversity in the outdoors makes it better for everyone.

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