Letigio: The chubby has a place in the world

As a chubby person since birth, I “LOLed” (laugh out loud) over Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama’s directive for City Hall employees to lose weight so they can be “healthier” and whoever becomes “sexier” will receive an incentive by the end of the year.

He patterned this directive to the “Biggest Loser” reality television show, which aired in years past. A cousin of mine joined that show and she still remains beautifully chubby even after losing a few pounds.

While I laud the call of the mayor for healthy living, I despise the discrimination against people on the higher weight scale.

I, for one, led quite an active lifestyle in the past four years as working on the media entailed a lot of running, walking and standing for hours.

I also actively hiked and went on adventures during my days off. My vital signs have always remained normal except for the fact that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Since I was diagnosed with PCOS at 19 years old, managing my weight has become the greatest challenge. I lost and gained weight like clothes and even with spending a lot of money on gym memberships, I have never reached the point of the traditional “sexy.”

The emotional toll of accepting that this is the body that God has given me was magnificently heavy, pun intended.

Going through years of insecurity and anxiety over what I am physiologically incapable of controlling was excruciating.

And yet I have come to love my body and have learned to manage my flaws to keep a healthy balance in spite of my illness.

The mayor’s intentions are obviously admirable, but he seems to be ignorant of the psychological consequences his aim could have on some of his employees who may be struggling with weight problems for a long time.

I know many chubby people at the City Hall who give exemplary public service and have been serving the government for many years now.

Is their loyalty and quality of service to be disregarded simply because of their weight?

I understand weight requirements are necessary for certain positions such as the police force, military, and other law enforcement agencies. Yet does one need to be “sexy” to be a public servant?

The mayor needs to be reminded that the weight of his employees is none of his business as long as it does not impede their work.

The City Hall is not a model agency that needs “sexy” workers, but a public institution manned by people from all kinds of decent and respectable backgrounds.

Mayor, seriously, there are so many ways to measure efficiency, and weight is not among them.

If the government has no place for chubby people, where then is our place in the world?

The City Hall should be a safe space for everybody, even for the chubby.