Wednesday, May 6, 2009

All those labels mean “non-straight”

I don’t understand when women have trouble labelling themselves when it comes to their sexual orientation. I am not talking about difficulty because of uncertainty or unreadiness to come out. No, I am talking about women who can’t just tell it like it is.

For me it is always very simple. I use labels like gay, straight and bi, not as a brand/identity/secret society, but just as names for stuff. You like the same gender you are gay, you like the opposite you are straight, and if you like both you are bi.

It keeps puzzling me there are many women who think of it in much more complicated ways. They either do not “like the label” or they don’t think it’s specific enough. With not liking I mean lesbians who call themselves anything but lesbian, simply because they don’t like the name or what it represents.

To me it just indicates you like women, just like lecturer means I teach at university or that car means the thing you drive in. It is just so much easier to use the standard word/label, because then everyone knows what we’re talking about.

The specifically thing also has me confused. I have heard women say, “I find the bisexuality label limiting, therefore I call myself queer or pansexual.” How much more inclusive can you get than liking both men and women?

Finally there are the label free women. They don’t want to slap on a label, for whatever reason, and just want to be seen as a person. A person who just happens to fall for their own gender sometimes.

What I think a lot of these women don’t seem to realize, is that most of the world does not care about your specific label or label free ness. To the straight world it is all very simple. If you are a girl and you like girls, it does not matter whether it is always or just some of the time, if these girls would rather be boys or if they used to be boys or if you like boys as well or not.

The straight world is just going to see you as “non straight”. They really don’t care what label you slap on. Come to think of it, neither does most of the queer world (Well, unless you're a bisexual among dykes, but let's leave that topic for another day). So why make it so difficult? And why be so sensitive about it?

This “woman who likes women, and only women, even though she might have had a few tiny men crushes she did not quite understand nor wanted to act on once upon a time” (= lesbian) doesn’t get it. Anyone want to explain it to me?


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more.
Of course it's alright if some people choose those more "finegrained" labels for themselves, but for me it isn't necessary.

Sometimes those label discussion go into even stranger direction.
In my second year at uni I joined a group for young lesbians, just to get to know other girls and so on. I was rather astonished when the question was raised if we see ourselves as "women" or as "lesbians". Now, maybe I'm not intellectual enough, but doesn't lebian include that you are a woman?
Sometimes I just don't get things like that...

Spoil Myself said...

I totally agree with you, except for the use of "gay" but my issues with this word are related to translation and not the meaning of the word,i.e. whenever you come across the word gay in France, you can be sure it means homosexual men.