Ambivalence in encounters with my big fat Greek closet

  • Spyridon Chairetis DPhil student, University of Oxford
Keywords: ambivalence, body, closet, fatness, Greece, queer


Both fat people and queer people diverge from the norms that control who is perceived as societally normal versus abnormal. While literature on the closet has encapsulated the experiences of the two subject positions as distinct entities, limited scholarship examines the relationship between fatness and queerness vis-à-vis the closet. Drawing on fat studies, queer theory, and autoethnography, I critically examine my encounters with the closet both inside and outside of Greece. Reflecting on my experience as a queer fat boy/man who spent a great deal of his teenage and early adult life in Greece and the United Kingdom, I weave together stories and emotions embodied in different spatiotemporal contexts and problematize notions of gender, sexuality, fatness, agency, and Greekness. This article considers how a subject may react to and negotiate the tensions that arise when multiple identity markers intersect, overlap and/or collide. It also revisits the undertheorized concept of ambivalence through a queer lens, in order to propose fresh strategies and ways of inhabiting bodies, identities, and spaces.