Labels are Strange to Me.

Someone wrote…

Labels are strange to me. “Transgender” feels weird enough coming out of my mouth, let alone something as abrasively in-your-face as “genderqueer.” Ultimately, the only labelthat I’m truly comfortable with is “Me”.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on August 30th, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 8 comments »

8 Responses to “Labels are Strange to Me.”

  1. radical/rebel

    queer=a politics of resistance
    genderqueer should be an abrasive word. if you’re not comfortable with that it’s not the word for you.
    labels have a place in the fight some of us are struggling in. words do work and claiming words, instead of some “labels are for soup cans” move, can be world-changing.
    my thoughts.


    Anonymous replied:

    I agree, that’s why I want to reclaim the generally offensive “He-She”. It’s pretty much the most accuate description of me there is.


  2. Regen

    Labels give you power, but in agreement with the OP, sometimes they aren’t what’s needed. If you can be “me” and be happy, more power to you. If being “genderqueer” or “trans” makes you happier, that’s great, too. *You* don’t have to be a fight–yes, there is a fight to be fought, but for some individuals, individuals that are perfectly valid, they don’t have to take a stand. I was raised a pacifist in all things, and while I acknowledge the need for fights to be fought, that doesn’t mean i see the need for everyone to fight them


    radical/rebel replied:

    pacifists are against VIOLENCE, not opposed to STRUGGLE.

    see: Gandhi, MLK, Bayard Rustin, Quakers.

    All people who STRUGGLED for a better world without resorting to VIOLENCE. You need a better working definition of pacifist.


    Regen replied:

    That was why I said “a pacifist in all things” that means not just on the battlefield. Yes, you can struggle without fighting. But fighting seemed to be what you were suggesting when you were talking about purposefully using abrasive words. In my mind a genderless pacifist would use no label, because a label would be a fight… do you see what I mean? You have to bend other people to your will to make them use the label you prefer–this is a fight, is it not? And while that may not appear a fight to you, it may appear that way to some (i.e. ME) and therefore becomes a possible viewpoint. I believe that people have a right to be comfortable with being comfortable without pushing things on people. But maybe that just tells you something about where i am on my journey.

    In my mind a true pacifist is opposed to any conflict that involves forcing the other party in some way.


    radical/rebel replied:

    1) the thing that’s most often pushed on people is an oppressive and confining ideology about gender, sex, and sexuality that forces us into restrictive categories and identities. “pushing” my queerness on someone is not the same as the way that society consistently and pervasively privileges, inscribes, and coerces heterosexuality as the only valid option.

    2) I used “the fight some of us are struggling in” intentionally. you write like you’re the only one out of the two of us who recognizes that “some” people view the question of labels differently, but I obviously see that point. not everyone wants their gender, their very way of being, to be a confrontation, a contestation, a challenge. there are good reasons for not wanting that. it’s hella difficult. it’s also the choice that I’ve made, and the one that I believe in.

    I still think that your definition of pacifist is more along the lines of conformist and assimilationist than radical, rebellious pacifist. as long as society remains the domain of heterosexual cisgender people I’m willing to be in “conflict” as you put it, with that fucked up system.

    radical love

  3. Meike

    OP, I agree. I feel exactly the same way.


  4. Jess

    If you are nothing more than the sum of the labels other people apply to you, then there is nothing in you that is genuinely authentic and original.


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