Overweight people will soon be able to use the Belgian website "Fat friendly" to check whether a restaurant, theatre or gym is accessible. The new tool launched was on Friday and is "certainly a welcome development" said Veerle Metten of the action group 'Dik voor mekaar' (thick for each other).
"A lot of people don't think about it but plus-size people often look in advance for what kind of chairs there are in a restaurant."
The French-speaking organisation launched the initiative during the Fat Festival in Brussels on October 14. The setup is simple: a map with places all over Belgium which indicates how accessible places are for larger people. Reviews and tips can be added, making the site a type of app similar to TripAdvisor but for a specific audience.
Metten said that such a site is necessary because many public places – such as catering establishments, cultural halls or public transport – are not adapted to larger people. "In anticipation of an inclusive world with systemic change and real measures by the government, word of mouth and sharing experiences is our means to survive."
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The 'Dik voor mekaar' action group aims to "give fat people the place they are entitled to... Because at the moment we are not treated equally in all areas," Metten stated.
Disclaimer: we use the word "fat" in this article because the organisations do so themselves. In society, many negative connotations are attached to the word but the organisations mentioned hope to normalise the term.