Images of couples welcoming in 2018 are flooding our social media feeds. “I wouldn’t want to do 2018 with anyone else,” is a typical caption alongside a photograph of two smiling people, posing in their New Year’s Eve best.
Problem being, for Melissa Gibson and her partner Johnathan, who kissed in front of the camera before the midnight countdown, it’s not a typical post. It is, as Gibson said later, “political”.
Why? Because of Gibson’s weight.
Unlike others’, their ‘Happy New Year’ post did not attract likes and hearts and ‘love you two’ comments. No, it attracted hate.
People called their relationship “abnormal”, and assumed Johnathan must have a fetish. Others suggested Gibson, from Louisville in Kentucky, “doesn’t deserve him” – as if what we ‘deserve’ is in any way dependent on our outward appearance.
Now, Gibson’s hit back at the haters, shaming them for shaming her, and reminding all of us: there is enough discrimination in the world. Surely, 2018 should be a fresh start.
“When taking a picture in a sparkly dress next to the man you love makes people comment about your body, question your relationship, make judgements about him for loving you,” she wrote alongside another image of the two of them, taken again on New Year’s Eve.
“Our relationship is political. Even though we both know how natural and right it feels. And if the world won’t just let us be, we will keep fighting for our love, for our space, for our right to be seen, accepted without question, and celebrated.”