Fat people have just as much worth and deserve just as much respect as anyone else. It doesn't matter if you're short, tall, skinny, fat, brown, pink, polka-dotted, or what have you.

Fat is not a disease. The quack science of bariatrics has popularized the term "obesity" and likes to pretend that it's a disease, that it's curable, and that they have the cure. None of these assumptions are true. Fat people do not have a dreadful ailment. Dieting doesn't work -- in the long run, you tend to weigh about 5% more than you did before trying a weight-loss diet.

It's true that fat people tend to have slightly higher blood pressure than skinny people. Hey, if you grow up being encouraged to be other than what you are, if you're treated with disrespect and/or loathing, and if people who look like you seldom appear on TV except as buffoons, you'll have high blood pressure too.

This mass hysteria about fat, and the pressure on kids (particularly girls) to be skinny has contributed to so many cases of anorexia and bulimia that if it were a product rather than an impossible standard it'd probably be outlawed as unacceptably dangerous to public health.

Fat acceptance, like body acceptance in general, means not judging people by their bodies. For fat people like me, it means accepting no less than the full respect that anyone deserves, and politely but firmly correcting people who act in prejudiced ways. It means learning not to hate your body, despite the negative messages you encounter every day in the media. It means giving your doctor a copy of the New England Journal of Medicine's editorial "Losing Weight -- An Ill-Fated New Year's Resolution".

Have you hugged a fat person today? We're a lot more fun to hug -- you won't get poked by sharp protruding ribs!

For more reading material, please check out Fat!So? by Marilyn Wann. For information about the rights of fat people, take a look at the NAAFA website.