Question: People keep trying to put me in a box… And I don’t want to be in a box. Just last weekend my friend was like ‘Why can’t you like guys?!’ but I fancy to think that I would like a guy, if the right one came along… I don’t like the names… like straight, bi, lesbian, gay, whatever… is that weird? Is it weird to be proud of how I feel, but still not want to flaunt my business everywhere? Is it weird to not want to mention it candidly, but just hope people deduce for themselves?
You are not alone. Many people struggle with identity labels (and not just sexual orientation/gender identity labels). While labels can be seen as useful tools for simplifying communication, they can also be felt as an over-simplification of a person’s individual identity.
The way people interpret identity labels can be influenced by a combination of personal experiences, images and messages from media sources and environmental factors such as family structure, cultural background and faith tradition (to name only a few). It can be hard to anticipate these interpretations because these influences are so individual for each of us.
It’s not weird to allow people to deduce for themselves: many people choose this approach – get to know me as a person and not as a label. The approach you choose for letting people know your sexuality comes down to what makes you feel comfortable, safe and understood. It can sometimes be difficult to adopt a label that does not conform to “the standards” like straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual… but it’s not impossible. It may mean being prepared to talk about why you choose to use the label you do or why you choose to not label yourself at all. Have you tried talking to your friends about how it makes you feel when they label you?
Bottom line: Labels are for us to choose and they should be reflective of how we feel and how we identify ourselves, not how others identify us. It’s not weird to be proud of yourself (in fact it’s pretty awesome) and it’s not weird to not want a label.
It’s your identity and your choices. No one else’s.