This is the seventh installment of the Body Diversity Stories from the models who participated in the Social Outreach Seattle Body Diversity Project. Meet Jeffrey Hedgepeth.
I have never had serious issues with my body. Okay, I have always wanted to be taller, and have more body hair and a slightly larger penis. Being double-jointed would have been fun too. TMI? But basically I have rolled comfortably with my body’s fluctuations.
In my early years, I suffered from asthma, allergies, and every germ that blew into my slum apartment in Brooklyn, NY. A move to a more middle-class environment, and maybe fairy dust, changed my life when I was 12. Suddenly the sicknesses abated. I developed a tight, muscular body and was competent enough in sports always to be picked early in softball and touch football games. My hormones were also raging, and were directed in one way-at men and boys. I had many of both. Somehow I got through this era without being tagged a fag. Surprisingly, in Brooklyn in the 60s no one seemed to make a fuss about perceived fags in my schools anyway.
Adulthood cycled me through major weight variations, from about 150 to 195 pounds and back. Through it all, gym visits and running kept me wrapped in plentiful muscle. I loved it more when I was slimmer, but I thought of myself as a hairless bear cub when there was more of me.
I am about 173 pounds in this photo. I show a stomach bulge. Richard took other shots of me from other angles that didn’t show the stomach and made me look hunked out. I was glad he chose this one to exhibit because it shows my mind’s image of how I look. I am a 60-year-old, happily married African-American man who has kept himself in good shape, who loves to eat and drink, and has a paunch he is totally comfortable owning.
I covered my dick with a giant bird headdress, not from being particularly modest, but because I am featured in a full-length documentary, Beyond Naked, about the experiences of people who rode for the first time, naked and painted, in the 2011 bike brigade at the Fremont Solstice parade. The movie opens about the same time as this exhibit and I didn’t want that much EXPOSURE so close together.
I also adore it when people tell me I have a big beak down there.