Posted in Posts, Sexuality

Sexuality – Do We Need Labels?

LGBT Labels.jpg

So I was doing some catching up on my wonderful friend’s blogs, when I stumbled upon this post from Em, about discovering sexuality. In this post, she says an interesting thing (the whole point of this post, in fact). She says “Although labels can help some people to identify themselves and pinpoint their position on that spectrum, I personally don’t want to label myself with a particular sexuality as I know I’m not 100% sure what my sexuality actually is.” It got me thinking. Do we actually need to label who we think we’re interested in?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to say your way of doing it is right or wrong. If you don’t feel you fit anything, go you. If you feel you do, go you. For me, I find labels really helpful. I’m the kind of person that writes lists of pros and cons to make choices, who wants to define the relationship as soon as a tiny crush starts blossoming. And in this case, as soon as I started thinking about girls, I leaped on the title of “bi”. I like order, and I like to know that I’m not alone. I think that that’s such an important thing, because being part of the LGBTQ+ community is really isolating, especially if you aren’t just gay or lesbian. When there’s a whole group of us who say we like boys and girls, and give ourselves that label, I know that I have a whole heap of people on my side. Not that I need my feelings justified, but it is nice to know that I’m not one lonely weirdo. 

Bi Flag.png
Look, we even have a flag!

For people like Em, though, it’s not that easy. I think it’s equally as important to say hey, you don’t have to be sure! No one has the right to say that you’ve got to pick a label to make everyone else’s lives easier. Experiment, change your mind and change it again, do whatever it is you need to do before you find something you want to stick with. There’s such a huge pressure to make people fit into these little boxes, that a lot of people feel they don’t fit at all. I feel like the community think that if you aren’t saying “I’m here, I’m queer!” every time you walk into a room (reference? Am I funny?), you aren’t representing the community enough. That’s not the case at all, so can we stop that rule right now, please?

Here’s where it becomes a problem, though. When searching up the acronym, I came across this as the official full one; “LGBT(GGGGBTTTTQIAAAAAPPOODSSCTB) –
Lesbian, Gay, Gender queer, Gender fluid, Genderless, Gynesexual, Bisexual, Bigender, Transexual, Transgender, Transvestite, Two-Spirited, Transitioning, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Agender, Ally, Androgenous, Androsexual, Pansexual, Pangender, Omnisexual, Omnigender, Demi sexual, Straight, Skoliosexual, Cisgender, Third-Gender, Boydyke.” This is where, to me, it gets a bit ridiculous. I mean, obviously straight can get out, otherwise we’re listing literally the entire world as part of the community. But then, t 
ake me for example. I’ve dated a couple of guys, but never a girl. I’m bi though, I’m 99.9% sure of that. Girls are just beautiful creatures, alright? So, I identify as bisexual, gynesexual (attracted to females), queer, androsexual (attracted to men). That’s a heck of a lot of things for one cis chick. Technically, two of those are generally used by non-cis people, but from the general definition I got I could still use them. 

Asexual Spectrum.jpg
Point; can’t you just be asexual for right now? Can you fight for that first?

The problem, you ask? Well, a lot of people don’t take the community seriously. It’s full of butch lesbians, fabulous gay men, bi people looking for threesomes (if we exist at all), and, if you’re lucky, men who wear dresses for some weird reason. Then people go and add all those other labels… I’m not at all saying they don’t exist, of course they do. I’m just wondering if it’s been overdone a teeny bit, considering the struggles the community faces as it is? Why not work on trans people actually existing and being allowed to use bathrooms before we start working on the million and one different labels around their sexuality? I know, easy for me to say, I’m part of the “bigger” ones. I’m not putting me first though! I’m putting bi erasure way down the list of LGBTQ+ problems, don’t worry. I don’t know, just food for thought. 

If you do fit into one of those, you’re still valid. If you don’t, cool. If you aren’t sure, also cool! You be you. Maybe we need to pick our fights though. And maybe forcing people to pick a label, even if it is “just” gay, or something incredibly specific, isn’t the fight we need to be fighting right now? 

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Author:

I was a book blogger for a while, and I now blog about every little thing in life I can think of. Bear with me while I try all these new posts out... I'm a New Zealand teen who gets angry about the world (but not angry enough for tumblr). I like to capture the world through photos and words, and read in all the moments in nz-squadbetween. I have an overwhelming desire to see every corner of the world I possibly can, and hug the people I love in all those corners. I can't do make up to save myself, and you're more likely to find me buying matching stationary than matching clothes. My nerd hobbies include a new found love of the Avengers, reading YA, watching Game of Thrones, How I Met Your Mother, and every vlogger I can find, and being the last person on the music bandwagons. I have big plans for the rest of my life, including university, teaching, travelling, and having an army of puppies. I plan to blog every second of it!

79 thoughts on “Sexuality – Do We Need Labels?

  1. Wow that’s the first time I’ve seen that full ‘official’ acronym, that’s defs not an accepted thing haha. There’s still so much discourse in the LGBT community about all this, like whether ‘A’ should be included in the acronym, let alone all those others.
    Asdfg thank you for writing this, it’s reminding me that I need to get my shit together and start writing posts like this, one day I will! And if you ever want to discuss this stuff hmu on twitter of course 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There are so many people fighting for it to be accepted though, and that’s crazy! And you’re so right, shouldn’t we be sticking together instead of arguing about something like that?
      I would love to see your post on something like this, let me know if it happens!

      Like

  2. This is an excellent post! I think a lot of the time using labels can be helpful because it brings awareness to things the “norm” aren’t familiar with, but sometimes it’s counterproductive. It encourages us to draw lines between each other. You’re either this or that, and if you’re not, then you’re wrong or lying or – yeah. (And I’m mostly saying that because I get the whole “bi isn’t a real thing” and “bi just means you want a threesome”. How does being attracted to both make me less valid, more likely to cheat, and clearly itching for a threesome?) Really, I think as a whole, people need to get over someone loving differently than someone else. So what if it’s not how you do it? It’s not any less valid, right? And in the end, sexuality is a fluid thing whoever you are. You love who you love. It just happens sometimes, even when you’re not expecting it. Sorry for the ramble. I just really liked your post. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean! People like to form their own little sub groups of whatever they are, and when they’re very elitist it makes the whole thing worse. And everyone is so judgemental, which I don’t get – it’s not any of your business who I’m attracted to!
      Ughh, and that whole stigma around bi people. I could rant about that for so long, I hate being treated like that so much

      Liked by 1 person

  3. society likes to put labels on us because they don’t see us as “normal”. I also identify as bisexual, one of the questions I’ve gotten is, “well how do you know?” which I found extremely annoying, I felt like responding, well how do you know you’re straight?… but I didn’t.
    I haven’t come out to my family yet and I spent the other day explaining what bisexuality is to my brother, there was a character on tv and because she kissed a woman (she’d previously had sexual and romantic relationships with men), my brother assumed she was a lesbian. I had to explain that she’s bi (meaning two) she likes both girls and boys and I doesn’t matter who her partner is at the time, it doesn’t make her straight or gay. shes bi no matter who her partner is.
    honestly I hate having to label myself, but society assumes that we’re all straight as heterosexuality isn’t “normal”
    – Yasmin

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve had that question as well, it’s so ridiculous! I like your point about society though, you’re so right.
      What really worries me about the story of your brother is that he’s not the exception. TV does it all the time, and people want the world to fit into gay or straight and nothing else. I really really hope that this is something that changes soon

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I mean my brothers eleven, I wasn’t surprised that he was confused. But so many people are uneducated on sexuality and immediately assume that if someone isn’t straight they’re gay. I think this kind of thing needs to be taught in schools, a boy can like boys and girls. that sexual orientation isn’t straight and gay, there is so much more than that

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m in year 11 right now, in my english literature class we have sort of talked about social class, somewhat talked about sexism (however my teacher “justified” it because the poem was written a long time ago 😦 ) we’ve talked about the way Jewish people have been treated for years, but all of these things have be vaguely talked about and our teacher doesn’t like to go into it too much. Our teacher is also homophobic and quite sexist. Which is really sad, considering the fact that she’s mixed race, a female and a person of colour. I wish she’d talk about these issues more instead of just brushing it off like they’re nothing. It’s quite upsetting. In year 13 I’m planning on taking sociology, I want to do psychology but I don’t think I’d really enjoy it.
        – Yasmin

        Liked by 2 people

      3. That’s terrible that your teacher is like that! Especially when she surely experiences a lot of discrimination. And it sounds like she thinks a lot of it is in the past, and not relevant now. I want to do sociology too – psychology seems interesting, but more science based. Hopefully we can actually fix some of these problems, since current teachers aren’t doing anything!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s really weird she contradicts herself all the time, she says things and acts like a feminist, yet later on she says things and does things that are horrifyingly sexist (usually saying that men don’t feel things while women are over dramatic)
        However my homeroom teacher is amazing, she’s constantly calling out people in our homeroom for using gay as an insult, she’s always talking about how we treat one another and I think that this is amazing. We have homeroom for 15 minutes at the beginning of every school day, we will be in the same homeroom from year 10 to year 13. I know I notice the little things she does to stop us from insulting one another with phrases such as ‘gay’ or insulting people through gender stereotypes. I think it’s subtle and will change the way a lot of the students in my homeroom acts.
        I think learning the science behind the way we think is really important, it sort of explains exactly why we do what we do.
        I hope that our generation can teach the generation following how to help us fix our problems.
        – Yasmin

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That’s so frustrating! I’m glad you have a good teacher though, at least there’s someone. And it’s really little things like that which will actually make a big difference. Most of my teachers this year are pretty good luckily, but I’ve had some in the past that are surprised when the boys study and ridiculous things like that

        Liked by 1 person

      6. That’s so good, I’m sorry about previous years, that must’ve sucked. I know I don’t like it when my teachers are just so ignorant and continue to be sexist and homophobic.
        My graphics teacher is horrifyingly sexist. Which is awful considering the fact that he is actually a nice person and a really helpful teacher. The majority of our class are boys and the girls in our class have noticed how much harder he is on the boys than the girls. I could turn up late to class and he would brush it off, but a guy could turn up earlier than me (but still late) and still get a lot of shit about it. I noticed it, the other girls have noticed it and some of the guys in my class that I’ve talked to have noticed it too.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, that’s a biiiiiig full form, I really didn’t know. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say that I do not like lables. At all. As the above picture said it all, we are all human beings, equals irrespective of our preferences, castes or religion and I am a firm believer of that. But society loves to put us under lables, BUT the fact that has changed (if only a little) that people are speaking up, everybody is accepting the LGBTQ community as a part of the society is a little bit of progress, don’t you think?
    Loved this post Victoria!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wow this post has just given me 1949383959 billion things to think about – like even though I identify as bi now because I feel comfortable doing so, why did I feel as if my feelings weren’t as valued if I didn’t have a label? Like arghh idk it’s all got so complicated like we need to have a label to describe every single way in which you can be attracted to people, or not attracted at all, and even then some people still don’t feel as if they fit. I wish we could live in a society were we didn’t feel as if we needed a word for our sexualities and that we were allowed to just fall for who we want without having to declare ourselves as being straight or gay or bi etc. Like sexuality is something that’s personal to you so I don’t see why it has to be everyone elses buisiness. Also when the obsession of labelling people just means that there are loads and loads of labels, it makes it harder for everyone to understand what all the labels mean and it just gets very confusing! Loved the post though 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was the same, I felt like I had to fit somewhere or it didn’t count almost. I wish we could just go around dating whoever, but I feel like people won’t let us. Which is so ridiculous! A lot of people have said similar things, so hopefully labels are going to become less and less common in the future

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for finding the full acronym! I agree with you on letting people decide whether or not they want labels although I disagree on removing ‘Straight” from it because then technically “Ally” would be removed too. Also (and correct me if I’m wrong because I am not entirely sure) but if one can be cis and straight couldn’t one be trans and straight?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re welcome! I don’t know if ally should be in the thing though? Don’t get me wrong, they’re super important, but are they really part of the community? And yes, I’m pretty sure you can be trans and straight, but the trans thing would be the LGBTQ+ bit, not the straight bit

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm.. I see what you’re saying about the ally part. I’m not a part of the community although I am an ally so I really can’t say. Also for that reason I get what you mean. On the straight part though I disagree because you since one can be trans and straight I think the importance of intersectionality comes in there because acknowledging all identities (I think) should still be important withing the commmunity

        Like

      2. I see what you mean, it is a complicated gray area. I feel like if you say every sexuality is part of the community, then it ruins the point of having a community. We aren’t a group anymore, we’re just the human race, if that makes sense? That doesn’t make straight people any less valid of course, but I don’t know if you need to be acknowledged in this particular case?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Then I would think it needed to be included not for straight cis allies but for the people within the community that, for example, are trans and straight for the sake of being fair and intersectional. Because then it’s kind of like if someone said to you oh your bi, queer, and gynesexual but I’m going to ignore the fact that you’re also androsexual, ya know?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful post! I think you hit the nail on the head that it’s totally up to the individual; labels work for some people, but not others. I’ve been doing a little bit of reading on the asexual spectrum, because I think that’s might be where I belong. But even in my research on asexuality, there are so many different labels within labels within labels, that my head started spinning and I was just like, “ok, this is too confusing. I’m just me. I’m just going to be me.” Even though I know there’s probably a group of accurate labels that describe in there there somewhere, I just think people are too complex to pin down…like isn’t that the whole point of a spectrum view anyway, that there’s not 2, 3, 4, 5,000 kinds, but a fluid system because people are complex and contain multitudes? I guess in short, I just think that it’s totally up to the person, and that if a label works for them awesome, but if it doesn’t, awesome. Like you said. End comment. Lol, again, awesome post!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I find asexuality particularly confusing. Can’t you just say you’re somewhere on the spectrum and not specify? I think the way you’re doing it is probably best! And you’re so right, that is the entire point – you do you, and we’ll accept you. It just has changed so much from being that though

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a super interesting post! Labels are CONFUSING. I mean, on one hand — I do know people who want to find out exactly how they fit in, and I really relate to that. I think it is important for us to have…some labels? Because generally cis/straight/allo is the default, sadly. There isn’t a lot of awareness of identities beyond LGBT (or even beyond gay and straight). (I also wish we had a better word for the community. But THAT’S ANOTHER THING.) But I also see a lot of Discourse about labels and who fits in where and I’m like…idk. Like you said, I’d prefer we focused on actions rather than words. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Of course there has to be a little bit of labelling, but there’s a limit! It is frustrating that you’re straight until proven otherwise – even saying “girls are great” doesn’t count until you openly say you’re sexuality. I actually just watched a really interesting video about that, from noodlerella if you’re interested! And it’d be great if we had an easier name, maybe I need to do a post on that too…
      Don’t worry about the italics, it didn’t come up like that on the app!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post!!!!! I consider myself to be very conscience of individuals beliefs, practices, values, etc. I recently wrote a post that I have been working on for about 3 months now and I just now posted it to my blog LADYHOOD because I wanted to make sure that I was not offending anyone. Please check it out “It’s not a choice” is the title.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I loved reading this! I hate it when people say “Well…what percentage would you say are you more attracted to female/male?” We simply have no answer, we change our minds as humans do and above anything we are human before any label so I enjoyed reading this post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’ve been waiting for a post like this. For someone who STILL can’t decide on whether she’s a lesbian or bisexual, this post really hits home. I spend far too many hours pondering on which label is right for me, which one is wrong, etc. With that being said, I appreciate this, coming across someone who looks outside of the box.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. you lost me at parentheses, (“LGBT(GGGGBT…..)”) as putting labels on everyone is just a for some people to feel safe. It is an amazing psychological need to know. Knowing what I am dealing with creates a false feeling of being safe.However, in the mean time we fight and argue when somebody tries to put us in a well defined box.

    It is in our genetic predisposition to be afraid of unknown but in reality it should not impact how we treat people around us. Labels are just for items that we are selling or buying.

    I guess this is how it is going to be for some time till humanity evolves to some other emotional maturity level where a definition of ones being will be unnecessary.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I definitely understand labels making people feel safe, but there’s a limit in my opinion. And you’re right, it can cause a lot of arguments, so it really would be better if that’s something society would stop worrying so much about

      Like

  13. I just recently posted my own article on this topic and I feel like the world is very divided on this. On one hand, labels can be very limiting, but on the other hand it can also be very empowering. I guess it just depends on the person. Well written article by the way.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I find that labels can be helpful to some but, in my own experience, applying a label to myself doesn’t work. When tell myself I’m gay, I start feeling like I have to fit a stereotype that I can’t fulfill. It’s like putting additional pressure on myself in addition to typical everyday stress. I’ve settled for being ‘me’: whatever that is in the moment. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely understand what you mean! And everyone around you excepts you to fill that same stereotype, which just isn’t fair on you. It can be helpful sometimes, it just depends on how educated the person you’re talking to is 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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