Labels at their best can:* help us understand (better) who we are
* gives us a place to do research to discover more
* tells us we aren't alone
* allows us to find people who are like us
* communicates numerous things short hand
* affirms who we are
Labels at their worst can:* pathologize- identify us as an other (drops us into a medical category that needs helps)
* force/imply things about us that might not be true (communicate numerous things short hand)
* used as an excuse to devalue because of your association with a label
* set up a self-fulfilling prophecy (negative = negative outcome)
* pushes you down a path that feels wrong
I think each of us needs to decide if labels work for us and if so what labels we're willing to have tacked onto us.
Not all labels that fit need to be accepted. (>>> So we could feel, act, response in a way that many people might say Ah HA you are X. But if you don't accept that label there will be a disconnect... and that's your right. No one should attach labels to you)
Sometimes people chose incorrect labels. Try to step back and simply accept the person at their word even if it is contradictory. Usually battles around labels should be fought independently and internally. Those on the outside should try to be supportive and accepting and if they can't do that than HUSH. (Yes, I said it. It's okay for someone to be wrong with their labels... It's not okay for you to demand someone correct their label.)
Here's the article you can refer to that I used to back up what observation has shown me.
Labels Good Or Bad
Labels can change based on personal experience or information or can be fluid. That means all labels might not last the distance. These changes can happen instantly or develop at a snail's pace.
We as a society that seems obsessed with labels? Taglines? Why? Labels can be part of who we are but they are not the only thing that makes us who we are!
Within my writing I tend to explore labels of gender and orientation. Just people two people identify with a certain label/gender/orientation that doesn't mean they express it the same way (aka they might not express it the way we do... it doesn't lessen their right to wear that label)
In Illusions & Dreams (transgender romance set in Thailand) my characters within the same spectrum expressed that label differently. The elegant Lalana is a transwoman who didn't want or need affirmation surgery where as the sweet Boon-nam felt she couldn't start her life until she had surgery. Both were transgender... but their need to express themselves was different.
The Dark Angels
On the other end of the spectrum you'll find Dusty Davis for him gender is less important than the connection... but he does have a leaning toward guys although with his family situation he's not acted on it. He doesn't change his label due to external factors until he decides its necessary.
Labels are all around us.
Use labels with care...
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