During one of my zen moments recently, I observed that I have been getting very annoyed with labels. I have come across narratives and conversations where people want to box each other on, yes you got it!, just ‘labels’ – Top, bottom, butch, femme, lady-like, man-like, being a wifey, being the man and so on. The funny thing is, I seem to observe only a binary variation and possibility of all these labels. While the list is endless and I do understand some are preferences, etc. I have been questioning the need to box ourselves and judge each other by mere labels. Don’t you think a lot of them seem to be an extension of the hereto- and cis-normative views of the world and for a need to conform ourselves into that?
As I see it, while some of these labels are required for organizational perspectives and for a need to establish equal rights and parity in society, these are pretty meaningless outside of political realms. Or may be not? Do we really believe that boxing ourselves will help us make other people understand to look at us as just human? What is the point of liberating ourselves from the clutches of a rampant stereotypical society only to close ourselves into a familiar yet different claustrophobic world again?
I don’t think labeling ourselves LGBT helps us any better either. I have seen organizations with LGBTI etc to explicitly mention a need to include Intersex people. But do we really think the buck stops there? What about Asexual, Gender queer, poly-amorous and a whole lot set of people who like to classify themselves beyond sexual and gender identity? While I personally tend to prefer Queer, a reclaimed word, I am still playing around to make sure I include everyone. Why can’t straight and cis-people be sightly queer? In a recent survey in some colleges, a lot of students classified themselves as “mostly gay”, “mostly straight”, “sometimes gay” categories, yet did not want to label themselves as bisexual to my wonder. I then realized that I was boxing them to my understanding and these folks need not really agree with me. What worries most is not these new emerging categories alone but rather a lot of queer folks believing that bisexual and trans people just don’t exist or are just faking it? Frankly its a slap on the face being told by someone that there are ‘only’ 2 possibilities that exist – straight or gay; assigned man or woman.
My point is, having liberated and gone past all the stupid stereotypes and normative-approved behaviors, do we really need labels dictate who we are rather then we being who we are? Do we really need a binary-conforming society? Do we really have to make decisions on relationships and other social interactions based on these?
My case rests!