Courtney Harrough is a 24-year-old, deep-water lifeguard in Florida. She knows how to give first aid, in and around water, and rescue someone from drowning. She rightly describes it as “physically and mentally demanding”.
And during her training, she was fat-shamed.
She told Refinery29:
A woman my height, but three times smaller than me said, 'I find it hard to believe you were an athletic swimmer’.
Courtney went on to pass her deep water lifeguard test:
After she passed her training, Courtney was reportedly almost was fired before she could properly begin:
When I went through training, I passed, and there was no question as to what my weight could do. But when it came time for actually implementing my job, they had no uniform for me. They said, 'You don't look like a regular lifeguard, we're going to have to pull you from your job.'
I said, 'I'm sorry, you're not going to pull me. If my weight was such an aesthetic issue, you would've seen it, because I've been half-naked in a swimsuit. If you knew you couldn't accommodate, you shouldn't have put me through this. And you're not going to fire me, because that's discrimination. We're going to figure out how to get it done.'
They allegedly told Harrough “We never assumed a person of your size would want a job like this”.
She said this treatment was just par for the course:
If you're a plus-size woman presenting to a company, not just for an athletic-based career, you face a stigma that if you're fat, you're lazy.
Harrough made the point that: “Nobody cares what you look like when they're near death and just want to be saved. You don't have to have your boobs perky or your cellulite hidden — all they care about is if you can swim and whether you have their back.”
As she quite rightly points out on Instagram the day she passed her test:
Do not let your weight, size, shape, or fear keep you from owning your life!! I hope I can be an example to everyone who is in a class that may seem more physically capable than you. You are JUST as capable - do not give up.