One of the recurring comments given in my previous journal was "Why do we need to label ourselves at all?", or words to that effect. There are many of you who believe NO-ONE needs a label.
I both agree and disagree.
I agree, because I think you're right that we don't need to define to ourselves what we are by putting a label on it. I shouldn't say to myself "I'm gay. Therefore, I only am attracted to women." I think that if, in your head, you have a defined, labelled view of what you are, you start conforming yourself around that label. I'm sure many of you have heard stories of men and women who came out, then later admitted to feeling pressured into staying gay because they'd defined themselves as such to so many people. Conforming yourself around a social definition like that cannot be healthy.
But at the same time, I disagree against the idea that we don't need labels in this world at all. We do need them... we just don't need to place extensive meaning in them. They should be used as a face-value, descriptive term only.
Without labels, I could tell you the following about me:
"Hi, I'm Kelly. I'm a person of a certain age from the United Kingdom. I'm in a relationship with another person from the United Kingdom. I have hobbies."
With labels, however, you get a much better, base view of who I am:
"Hi, I'm Kelly. I'm an over-21 white British female. I'm in a same-sex relationship with another white British female. I'm also a cosplayer."
What I wrote in the second example is not there to set a definition for me, or rope me to any particular social standing or group. It exists purely to help others get a better initial view of who and what I am. We give ourselves labels not to put ourselves into the same area as people with matching labels, but to help others with their initial comprehensions of who we are. A wise person would look at those labels, take them in, but also understand that there is more to who you are than the words you place upon yourself.
I use the term "lesbian" not as a rule, but as a base, descriptive term. It helps people get an initial understanding of a facet of my being: I'm not interested in men. Adding the 'in a relationship' term then furthers that to explain another facet of who I am: I'm with someone, and I'm not interested in anyone else.
It's a very base description, and it's flawed, but it gives the bare-bones outline of my love-life and sexuality, for those I wish to know that information. I could, of course, go into more accurate detail of "I'm in a same-sex relationship, but I don't view myself strictly as a lesbian, as I only have attraction to a single person, and honestly believe that if I'd met that same person in a male body, I'd still be attracted to them."
... If someone introduced themselves to me that way, even after having known them for a short while, I'd be rather... flummoxed! Sometimes, it's easier to simplify. If you then want to clarify further, or if someone wants to get to know you better than just on basic labels, then that option is there, and that tends to be the route where friendships are forged as people get to know the true person behind the public labels.
So no, we do not need labels to define who or what we are.
But we do have a use for labels, in helping to create that initial view of what we may be.
Without labels, you'd all be glass-skinned, genderless, cultureless, emotionless blobs to me! I'm happy to know that those who follow me are male, female, trans, gay, straight, bi, pan, old, young, black, white, religious, atheist... even if those labels aren't entirely accurate to who you really are.
</end more ramblings of an ill person>
=======THINGS I LEARNED FROM YOU GUYS=======
If any quotes, thoughts, or words in the responses to this or my previous journal grab my interest, I'll add them here
- 'Love is my sexuality'
- "I've tossed around my sexuality for many years and could only come up with one true answer; Homoflexible."
- "I identify as a straight male, but then I fell for one of my guy friends. ... So if people can't handle that I'm a straight guy in a gay relationship then fuck them"
- " 'Onesexual' is an interesting concept. When I was with my last ex, whom was with me five years, I was genuinely onesexual for her. I found no other women attractive. It's been six months since I was dumped and I'm still having a very hard time finding anyone attractive. So in that vein, becoming onesexual can be a bit of a curse, meh... but at the same time, I've heard that being able to feel that way about someone is a rare gift, so even if I lost her, I'm happy to know I have the capability."
- "Love doesn't need a label. All that really matters is that you're happy."
- "In the eyes of others, I'm a lesbian, or maybe a bisexual, but in my eyes, I'm Alexandrasexual~"