So, TO HELL with LABELS, right? I mean, raise your hand if you agree that they can be stifling, confusing, and just down right exhausting sometimes. I see those hands. I know for me they can be. You remember the good ole days when you’d meet a chick waiting in line for the bathroom at the club? Or in line for breadsticks at the student-union? Or waiting to ride the roller coaster at Six Flags? Let me put it this way, we spend a lot of time towing lines and they’re a GREAT way to meet women, I’m just sayin’. You heard it here first! Anyway, back to the point…
So, you’re waiting for breadsticks at the student union and you spot a fine sista about four heads and book bags in front of you. You’ve seen her around campus and she’s even made it easier for you to confidently approach her by wearing all those rainbow-colored bangles on her gorgeous arm. So, you lie, cough as if you’ve got the plague, and bribe your way to the front of the line to get close to her and you two get to talking. You introduce yourself, ask about her major, yada, yada, yada… Then you go for it and ask for her number. She gives it to you and it’s all good. Score! Nothing could be easier! A date or two later you may find out that she identifies as bisexual. At that point, as a “stone-cold” lesbian, it’s up to you to decide whether you’re down for that or you’d prefer to keep it moving. And BOOM, it was that simple!
These days though, not so much. I can only imagine how confusing the dating scene is (I’ve been out of it a while, so I’m relying on what I hear through the grapevine, y’all). Doesn’t it seem like there’s a new letter added to the community acronym every week? It went from LGB to LGBT and now I believe we’ve got the whole alphabet in there… LGBT…Q…I…A ? Is that correct? A straight acquaintance recently asked me, “Is identifying as just gay or lesbian or bi or trans passé these days?” My response went something like this: “I think we’re blessed to live in a time where we can all explore our identities in a way that feels completely right to us. We don’t need to fit into anyone else’s preconceived notions or ideas about where on the spectrum we happen to lie. And sometimes I think the spectrum should be more of a Venn diagram anyway… with feelings, identities, categories, and yes, labels overlapping each other.”
I truly believe that. As confusing as it can get, I do believe that labels have their place and are necessary. Plus, it’s none of my nor anyone else’s damn business how you choose to identify yourself, because as the often-quoted Audre Lorde would say, “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Ms. Lorde, in her infinite wisdom, also said, “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” And if I can add anything to those wise words I’d say, just remember that labels help define us, but they are NOT who we are.
Here’s a great article from Annelise Vlacich over at The Rainbow Hub that helped shed some light on some new things for me.