Labels. They’re everywhere. On food, clothing, and even on people. Sexual orientation. Romantic orientation. Gender. Sex. Age. Even Appearance. Sometimes these words can really make a person feel like they’re such inside a box filled with stereotypes and expectations that come along with the identity. Which is no way to live. However, identifying with certain labels can really help form community and let one find a community when embracing them.
Let’s look at both sides, regarding the LGBTQ+ Community:
- Finding a Community of accepting individuals, possibly with those who identify the same way
- Finding a potential partner
- Having people to talk to about possible struggles such as coming out, discrimination, and dealing with classmates/professors
- Embracing yourself and all that you are
- Being unapologetically you
- Possibly feeling like you have to fit into certain stereotypes within your actions and appearance
- When embracing who you are, the pressure you may feel to come out and share your identity with others
- Possibly dealing with being outed
- Possibly dealing wit bullying or discrimination
While the list is about even, I know my life changed in so, so, so many positive ways when I started came out and started being my true self. It was definitely difficult and confusing, but totally worth it. Not only did I find an amazing community of others and plenty of friends, I found my passion! I did not declare my minor until I started embracing my identity and educating myself. I’m almost 100% sure I wouldn’t want to be an activist if I didn’t stop feeling guilty and finally came out.
But it wasn’t as sunshine and roses. I didn’t automatically come out as lesbian. For some time I did just identify as questioning, which I felt real confident about. This is an example of not automatically choosing a label that may feel like one that boxes you in. However, I’m very happy with this label and think it fits me and my sexual attractions.
One last note: Remember a label of your gender identity of sexual orientation is NOT a tattoo. Remember fluidity? It is not permanent and there is no rule that says you can’t change it if you feel like another identity fits you better.