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Complex labels - why?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Mihael, Jun 13, 2021.

  1. Mihael

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    Disclaimer: I don't mean to offend anybody, I genuinely can't understand something about labels and I would be glad if someone with insight in both sides of the issue explained it. I have a feeling that my question might be potentially offensive, but I'm genuinely clueless.

    The thing is, I keep on seeing LGBT+ folks using a boatload of exotic labels. I never understood why they do it, and I would be happy if someone explained what goes through the mind and feelings of such a person when looking for an exact label or posting such a complex label on their social media.

    The thing is, I know I could use a couple of more or less niche labels myself. I fit the description, I stumbled upon such labels. But I have no desire to share them. Moreover, I think it would water down what I'm trying to achieve through coming out. For example, I feel best when functioning as a man, as simple as that. I could use a bunch of nonbinary labels, but doing so would make me seem like I want to function as nonbinary. When it comes to bisexuality, I also could use some more inventive labels than that, but I don't want to discuss my love tastes with everyone, I just want to signal that I'm open to dating both men and women (and nonbinary folks, for that matter) and continue with my day. Even when I talk with someone who is my friend and we both rant, I would rather use plain words to explain my gender and sexual orientation in detail than use any non-basic labels.

    Also in the past, very long ago, I looked for the right label, but to be honest, it didn't... solve anything, it only made it worse by not asking the right questions, there is literally no insight coming from them, and "finding yourself" means understanding yourself, looking inside your soul and really feeling the stuff that you feel, and talking and trying to categorise distracts from that. So for me at least, the right question was "what makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad?" not what name to pick.

    So that was my rant for some context where I'm coming from. I would be happy if someone explained the mindset of someone who uses many complex labels.
     
  2. pozistani

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    While I personally agree with you and only use a few basic labels to describe myself, when it comes to others, to each his/her/their own. I'm a firm believer in people self-identifying however feels right to them. They might enjoy the quizzical looks and find it a good opportunity to open a discussion. Some might tire of that after awhile and change to something they like better. It's about what feel right for that one person at one point in time.

    While I know that's probably not the kind of answer you are looking for, it's the most honest one I can share. :slight_smile:
     
  3. Mihael

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    I mean, I have nothing against labels like that, I know what I say might come across as being against it or ignorant, but it's really not the case that I have anything against it. I just can't imagine what kind of motivation drives it and I would want to get to know.

    Hm. Maybe? I could imagine that, that such a person wants this introspective discussion that I don't want.
     
  4. pozistani

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    Just as there are many labels, there probably are many reasons why people choose them and why they feel empowered by them. There probably aren't any simple answers that would allow us to "understand" en masse.

    As I ponder, I have to think that modern culture - besides being more tolerant of the non-conventional - requires the use of labels in ways that wouldn't have been needed prior to popularity of personal ads. (Think newspapers and magazines) Back then it was GWM seeks YBGM. UB HWP. No PNP, BDSM, or games. You know, something like that.

    With the advent of profile sites and dating apps, we aren't paying by the word like in the days of print, but people want/need to present themselves in a fairly brief space. I remember how frustrating I found it to reduce the entirety of my being to what amounts to a set of labels.

    Not sure how well I'm putting forward the ideas, but hopefully readers can follow.

    End point though is some of this is a person's attempt to do what is required as we've moved away from getting to know people based on physical proximity and allow gate-keeping tools to aid is in deciding who we want to get to know and who we'll allow to get to know us.
     
  5. Mihael

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    Hm. The apps. I see. I wouldn't approach it this way, because what I look for in a partner can't be put into labels this way, but I see why someone would if they are able to pinpoint their needs this way.

    Empowered, hm.
     
  6. pozistani

    pozistani Guest

    It's okay if it doesn't completely work for you - it's not meant to be a perfect theory, just some ideas ... sure wish someone else would chime in with their own
     
  7. MistyMorn

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    I agree with what you are saying and understand where you are coming from. My personal opinion is labels don't matter. To the people I have come out to, none of them asked I just said I feel sexuality is fluid and depending on who you have feelings for. I like women and that's where it pretty much ends for me. I don't like the word lesbian. So if asked that's what I would say. And that is what I have experienced this far within the LGBT+ community when it comes to me presenting myself to others.
     
    #7 MistyMorn, Jun 14, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
  8. Shorthaul

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    It is something I haven't understood myself but I also tend to think that some people put too much pressure on themselves to label themselves. You are more than just your gender identity and sexual orientation, but maybe I am turning into a grumpy old man lol
     
  9. Oddsocks

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    As someone who has used many labels - some broad, some oddly specific - in their time, I'll lend my two cents!

    While I personally prefer to keep things infuriatingly vague (if you ask my sexuality, I'll give answers ranging from "very gay" through "queer" through "bi/pansexual" through "I'm not sure if there's a word for when you like girls ALL the time but everything else varies" - if you ask me to describe my gender, I'll probably dodge that one outright), I understand the appeal of using a word that describes your experience down to the closest detail. Labels only exist for conveying information the user of the label wishes to convey, and some people like to convey a lot!

    For me, that granularity wasn't helpful - I never found something "perfect", and the attempt to find the thing that resonated at exactly my frequency caused me more distress (does nobody feel the same thing I do?!-type feelings) than clarity. But for some, having the individuality of their experiences described in an individual word feels like a recognition, I expect, and among people who are familiar with the terminology, allows them to express their experiences with accuracy in fewer words than the inevitably lengthy full description.
     
  10. clockworkfox

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    For some people, especially those less represented within the community, I think it's easy to create a chain of labels while searching for the most concise way to relate the facets of your gender and sexuality to others. It's ironic, but in an effort to create clarity and precision, sometimes things get muddled, especially with the adoption of neolabels.

    These days for simplicity's sake, I'm queer...if I'm in polite company, I'm gay and trans. But there was a time in my self exploration that I created several lengthy compound labels to try and cover all of the details of my identity. Over time, I realized that it's exhausting trying to put something complex and abstract into words...and it doesn't really matter how precise the label is. It's not like shoes, where if you don't get the perfect fit you're dealing with blisters.

    I'm all for people exploring and creating new ways to convey their experiences to others, so don't mistake my observations for cynicism! I just know that for me, personally, simpler is better.
     
  11. PatrickUK

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    In most instances people take great offence at being pigeon-holed or labelled as anything, but when it comes to our sexuality or gender identity some people feel an overwhelming need to find the most precise description of who they are and what they are attracted to. As we've seen so many times on this forum, people become incredibly anxious unless they can pin down their feelings and it's from this irrational place that many of the complex niche labels are created and proliferated.

    When people understand/accept that sexual and gender identity is more about predominance than dead certs and precise descriptors, they will move on to a more healthy place. Diving into alphabet soup causes confusion for themselves and often brings harm to others.
     
  12. Loves books

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    Maybe some people don’t feel comfortable with being called gay or straight and need a different label. Personally I’m fine calling myself a lesbian and in conversation I’d rather know if someone likes girls, boys, both or neither. And I’d rather know if they identify as male, female, both or neither. If someone uses some complicated label I’ve never heard I wouldn’t ask what it means and I’d probably end up insulting someone by using the wrong pronouns even after they told me they were neutrois ( I looked for a label I didn’t know) or something else that I’d never heard of. You can call yourself whatever you want but eventually you might get tired of explaining what exactly that is.
     
  13. Mihael

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    Hey, first off thank ypu everyone for replies. I'm sorry I won't come up with a response to everythibg, but nothing comes to my mind, but I share most the experiences you've worded.

    Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

    Same.

    That fits at least some of the people I encountered for sure, when I think about it. I didn't have the right wording for it, so thank you for articulating that observation that I also have.

    That's also a fair point about pigeonholing, I certainly didn't like it in the label experience that I felt reduced to this one or several categories, and I'm just Mihael, I dabble in computers, I like science, art, books, I have my own personality that doesn't really align with transgender stereotypes produced both outside and inside the community...