Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 2012

I’ve been thinking about labels a lot recently, Poppets. Labels and who gets to use or approve them. Now, I’m not talking about privileged people using derogatory terms that should only be used by the marginalized people in question, i.e. white people using the n-word, straight people using the f-word, or men calling women girls. No, I’m asking about if someone chooses a label for themselves, can anyone else deny them that truth?

I know people who identify as bi-sexual, but who have only had sex with one gender. To me, this is a no-brainer. We all know who we’re sexually attracted to before we actually get around to the having sex part. Yet, I know many of these same people have gotten grief for identifying as bi. The attitude seems to be that she must be a lesbian if she’s never slept with a man. Or he must be straight if he’s only ever slept with a woman. Or he must be gay because he sleeps with men, as if his attraction to women can be disregarded.

Once you get into non-transitioning gender identity, it gets even more convoluted. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say someone isn’t really transgendered because they aren’t transitioning. Or heard someone who identifies as bigendered, or genderqueer, be told they are trying too hard – and that’s if bigendered is even acknowledged as real.

Now, I know what a large part of the problem is. It’s the people who use our labels for convenience. You know who I mean. The beautiful co-eds who are willing to kiss on their girlfriends and giggle that, of course they’re bi, in order to pick up guys in the bar. Or the guy who says something oh so witty like “I’m tri-sexual; I’ll try anything” in order to get the threesome, but really just wants to screw his buddy’s girlfriend. There’s even a group of straight, female romance authors who, after being called out for their depiction and co-opting of gay, male culture, have all miraculously come out as transgendered, rather than admit they’ve overstepped and don’t deserve cookies. There’s been no word yet on how their husbands reacted when they learned they were all married to men. With friends like these…

In all seriousness, though, as a community, and as individuals, we’ve all got wounds and scars. Closeted, open, or out, we all know what it’s like to be rejected at a core level, which makes us wary. Which makes us suspicious. After all, we’ve all got our scars. Where are theirs? These people who come out so lightly? It is easy to assume the person in front of us isn’t who they are claiming to be, when their truth differs from ours.

No, I don’t believe those other writers are transgendered – but I also know many people do not believe my dear, wonderful husband is gay, either. He is, after all, married to me. He and I know our truth, and no one can take it, or change it, just based on their perceptions. But people have, in the past, and may again, reject us and try to minimize us for not “really” being who we are.

So, am I wary? Am I suspicious? You’re damn right I am. And, at the same time, should I ever be face-to-face with one of those writers, I’ll listen to her story, I’ll look into her eyes, and I’ll accept her truth, if it aligns perfectly with mine or not. I think, maybe, that’s the best thing any of us can do for each other anyway.

Until next month, Poppets, take care of you.

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