21 votes

What are your thoughts on more nuanced sexuality labels and their relationship with lgbt?

For example: demisexuality. Many that don’t identify as demisexual but hear of the term dismiss it altogether. Others that are members of lgbt fear that cishet people are trying to invade lgbt by splitting hairs.

27 comments

  1. [3]
    CALICO
    Link
    I can see their value for the people who use them. There are many kinds of people, and sometimes none of the labels we have work for a person. That person might feel lost, or like an aberration. A...

    I can see their value for the people who use them. There are many kinds of people, and sometimes none of the labels we have work for a person. That person might feel lost, or like an aberration. A label can affirm a persons identity, and show they aren't alone.

    Existing can be terrifying, especially if you don't have anything to hold on to.

    24 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      Agreed. The idea that we can put a name to common experiences and identities helps people understand that they're not alone, and that there are other people out there like them. As teachers, when...
      • Exemplary

      Agreed. The idea that we can put a name to common experiences and identities helps people understand that they're not alone, and that there are other people out there like them.

      As teachers, when we talk about kids' books, we talk about their need for "windows" and "mirrors". A "window" is a book in which you can see someone else's experiences, different from your own. A "mirror", meanwhile, is when you can identify your own identity and experiences in what you're reading.

      We mostly talk about these in regards to fiction, but it goes well beyond that and applies to representation in all forms, from stories to media to real life. For many LGBT kids, especially ones whose experiences don't align with common/dominant identities, these specific labels are often the first time they experience a "mirror". The rest of the world up to that point has been "windows", and their understanding of the world has been primarily shown through models of people who are unlike them. Learning, instead, that there are people out there who actually are like you is powerful, transformative, and so very necessary.

      I always go back to one of my LGBT favorites, Rent, particularly because it was one of my first "mirrors". I think it sums up the idea perfectly when it says that labels are about "being an us for once, instead of a them".

      16 votes
    2. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      I think there's an important distinction to be drawn here which hasn't been pointed out yet. There are labels that people ascribe to themselves, and there are labels that others ascribe to us...
      • Exemplary

      I think there's an important distinction to be drawn here which hasn't been pointed out yet. There are labels that people ascribe to themselves, and there are labels that others ascribe to us based on our appearance, demeanor, activities, etc. The former is incredibly useful as it tells you what someone actually values. The latter is incredibly useless as it's placed by someone other than the person to which it is affixed and therefore is both fallible and often based on preconceived and inaccurate notions (how can one possibly know what's going on in the mind of another?).

      I also find it quite strange that this conversation happens, repeatedly, when it comes to sexuality and gender labels and yet people never consider the terminology that comes with literally any field. How I talk with another person who understands data science is not how I talk to someone who isn't familiar with increasingly complex and minute distinctions to be made between model types and descriptive statistics. There are terms that refer to very specific kinds of filters, loops, and mixing techniques that I had to learn as I learned how to DJ that are simply not exposed to those who do not have experience with DJing.

      Perhaps it is because these labels have started to leave the realm of LGBTQ+ (or that LGBTQ+ is expanding to more people as they realize that they are, in fact, different from others with regards to sexuality, gender, or preferred style of relationship) that people are complaining - that they are being forced to learn what these labels are as increasingly more people define themselves in this fashion?

      I can't say I have an answer to where the resistance comes from, but it seems awfully silly to me to get upset over more specificity as opposed to less. It's not like anyone is going to be extremely upset with you that they may have to explain a label such as "demisexual" and what it means to them. People often describe themselves, their fashion sense, or other aspects of their lives with similarly complicated, intricate, or specific labels and I've yet to have anyone complain when I asked them for more detail.

      7 votes
  2. [11]
    MikeBos
    Link
    Personally I think all the labels over the top. Just as I don’t need 20 words for snow I don’t need to have shorthand about what someone’s biological gender, perceived gender and preferred sexual...

    Personally I think all the labels over the top. Just as I don’t need 20 words for snow I don’t need to have shorthand about what someone’s biological gender, perceived gender and preferred sexual partner may be. The whole mess starts and ends with personal freedom and not judging others, which is not exclusive to the lgbt discussion.
    Refocus is what I guess I’m saying, all the labels in the world don’t help against closed mind people.

    16 votes
    1. [5]
      moonbathers
      Link Parent
      This is the same as saying "I don't need to have shorthand about what someone's perceived race may be." For one, being cishet is considered the default, so if no one's allowed to call themselves...
      • Exemplary

      This is the same as saying "I don't need to have shorthand about what someone's perceived race may be." For one, being cishet is considered the default, so if no one's allowed to call themselves gay or lesbian or other things then everyone's experience is going to be assumed, because that's what labels are about. They're a starting point to get an idea of what someone's experience is. LGBT people are more likely to be bullied, harassed, disowned, and assaulted, just because of who we are. When I say I'm trans, it's not about how I perceive myself, it's about what I've gone through to get to where I am now. LGBT pride isn't being proud of being LGBT, it's being proud of yourself for being comfortable with who you are in a way a lot of people never achieve. It's about dealing with a climate that even in the most accepting of places is still sometimes hostile.

      We use words to describe ourselves because saying "people who aren't straight have had a long struggle for their rights" is a mouthful and there's no reason to not make a word for that. You might not be talking about the "simple" ones like gay, lesbian, bi, and trans, but you said all the labels are over the top. So if you want to just call me a woman, that's great. I wish I could "just" be a woman, but society has dictated that I can't do that. I couldn't legally marry a woman until five years ago. I could legally be fired for being trans or lesbian in 28 states until a month or two ago. These are things that straight people never have to worry about, and saying labels are unnecessary erases what we have dealt with and still deal with the same way saying "I don't see color" doesn't solve racism.

      Close-minded people aren't going to respond to me saying I'm a lesbian trans woman, so what am I supposed to do? Why should I have to bend over backwards to justify my existence? I tell them the same things I tell my friends about my experience: that being trans has been a 15-year struggle to find who I am, and going into detail about the hurdles I've faced.

      You might not need 20 words for snow, but the Inuit do. If you don't want to label yourself anything, that's great, but I'm still going to think of myself as a mostly-lesbian trans woman.

      And biological gender isn't a thing. Sex is a thing and gender is a thing. My gender is what I believe it to be, there's no perception about it.

      I am sick of writing novels justifying my existence on one of the few places on the internet that I shouldn't have to. I've had to do this a couple times now. If people like you would spend more time listening and less time sharing your opinion on things you don't understand you would get why they use labels. I can't just sit by and let the top reply on yet another LGBT post be dismissive of our experiences.

      23 votes
      1. [2]
        Staross
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Would you agree with the view that these labels are a necessary evil ? Ideally we should all just be "human beings" (or something like that), but since we don't live in this ideal society, there's...

        Would you agree with the view that these labels are a necessary evil ? Ideally we should all just be "human beings" (or something like that), but since we don't live in this ideal society, there's discrimination and people have to use these labels as rallying flag to fight against oppression.

        On one of the issues with the labels I tend to agree with Butler :

        Butler's second claim is based on her view that“[i]dentity categories [like that of women] are never merely descriptive, but always normative, and as such, exclusionary” (Butler 1991, 160). That is, the mistake of those feminists Butler critiques was not that they provided the incorrect definition of ‘woman’. Rather, (the argument goes) their mistake was to attempt to define the term ‘woman’ at all. Butler's view is that ‘woman’ can never be defined in a way that does not prescribe some “unspoken normative requirements” (like having a feminine personality) that women should conform to (Butler 1999, 9). Butler takes this to be a feature of terms like ‘woman’ that purport to pick out (what she calls) ‘identity categories’. She seems to assume that ‘woman’ can never be used in a non-ideological way (Moi 1999, 43) and that it will always encode conditions that are not satisfied by everyone we think of as women. Some explanation for this comes from Butler's view that all processes of drawing categorical distinctions involve evaluative and normative commitments; these in turn involve the exercise of power and reflect the conditions of those who are socially powerful (Witt 1995).

        https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-gender/

        8 votes
        1. moonbathers
          Link Parent
          I'm not sure that labels are evil at all. I try to only use them when relevant, and I absolutely agree that we should all try to be just human; siblings who are part of a family that is more...
          • Exemplary

          I'm not sure that labels are evil at all. I try to only use them when relevant, and I absolutely agree that we should all try to be just human; siblings who are part of a family that is more powerful than we realize. We have the potential to do incredible things together. We should all try to not use labels in an attempt to divide people. I mentioned it in the post that you're responding to but I want to say it again because it's really important to me: I used to be someone who said that labels are dumb and that they limit you, but a few years ago I heard someone say that labels shouldn't be a box but instead a starting point. It changed how I thought about labels completely.

          So now when I say that I'm trans, or I see someone else saying they're trans, I interpret it in the simplest, most common way that the word is used; that someone's gender doesn't match how they were assigned at birth or perceived at some point in their life. Probably all of us who call ourselves trans or something related (I'm gonna hedge my bets here) have experienced that dissonance at some point. But beyond that, everyone's experience is different. Some people are ok with being trans (I know I've talked with trans people on Tildes who don't mind it), but I usually hate it. Some people are treated terribly by those they come out to, some aren't. I was fortunate in that regard. I fit some of the stereotypes in the trans community about trans women, particularly that I'm a programmer, but I don't fit others, and some other trans women are the opposite. But we all (presumably) share that starting point.

          Reading Judith Butler's arguments on the page that you linked, I see that I disagree with her on the shared experience definition. I understand that, and agree with her that it's probably impossible to define the word woman without excluding some people that we think of as women. The important thing is to not use them in ways that exclude people. Language is really tricky and we all need to take our inevitable mistakes in stride.

          Even though I consider most things to be political, I don't quite agree that the word woman is always ideological. I'm not a linguist, so maybe it's being used in a way that I don't understand, but I don't think the word ideological (as a synonym to political) or ideology is inherently exclusionary. She and Moi seem to use it in the same way that the phrase identity politics is often used today, and that phrase is used in the paragraph above the one you've cited. I don't think that view of feminism or calling advocacy for equality identity politics is the right way of looking at it, although based on the rest of what she argues I don't think she's dismissing that advocacy like many people who use that phrase.

          What I'm really taking away from this is that she wants us to be careful about how we use words, and I think she's right. I think you can use words like woman or feminine as long as you're careful to use them in ways that don't exclude people. I try to always say things are stereotypically masculine or feminine instead of just masculine to show that people can be masculine without having those qualities. I think the words man and woman are still useful to have because of my belief that labels are a starting point, although there's probably some interesting sci-fi out there that would make me change my mind. I read a book called Ancillary Justice in the spring in which the main character's language didn't have gendered pronouns and so everyone was referred to as she since the book is written in English. It was an interesting change of perspective for me since if any pronoun is used as a generic it's usually he.

          Since the writings that are cited are from the nineties, I would be interested to hear her thoughts on feminism and gender now. A lot has changed since then. Hillary Clinton was chastised for not wanting to be a housewife in the early nineties, twenty-five years later she got 65 million votes to be president. I wasn't old enough to understand the climate around politics, gender, and LGBT people during Clinton's presidency, so I can only go by what I've read, but I believe we've made major progress on those fronts in the last thirty years. Women, people of color, LGBT people, and all minorities in general have more visibility now than they did in 1990.

          I feel like I rambled a bit here, so if I'm not clear on anything feel free to ask for clarification. I'm honored that you would ask what I think about a published author's words.

          11 votes
      2. [2]
        MikeBos
        Link Parent
        Sorry for the late reply, but am on vacation and spent most of my time offline. The reason I don’t think labels are constructive is because they feed the us vs them, they highlight the differences...

        Sorry for the late reply, but am on vacation and spent most of my time offline.
        The reason I don’t think labels are constructive is because they feed the us vs them, they highlight the differences instead of the commonality. I understand a common label can give strength and give clarity but at the end of the day minority groups have been taking a lot of shit because they could be identified by a label. By using more fine grained labeling the minority is getting divided and thus smaller making it easier to target.

        And no you shouldn’t hide it, but I would rather have that the reason we need labels, ie bigot asshats,
        disappear then that we get more labels.

        So yeah I would call you a woman and be done with it, but I realize reality is not there yet. In the Netherlands the rights situation is mostly ok, we still have bigotry unfortunately.

        As a side note this teaches me to not respond to threads on my mobile phone because I tend to omit information.

        6 votes
        1. kfwyre
          Link Parent
          I hope you're having a nice vacation! I can't speak for moonbathers, but it's been my experience that prejudice exists independent of the labels. People who have hated me for being gay haven't...

          I hope you're having a nice vacation!

          I can't speak for moonbathers, but it's been my experience that prejudice exists independent of the labels. People who have hated me for being gay haven't hated me because of which words I've used to identify myself -- they've done it because they outright dislike the idea of people like me, and modifying our language/identifiers doesn't fundamentally change that. Choosing to label myself can appear to sow division and highlight difference, but I think the driving force behind that this split isn't the label itself but the negative judgment people have in response to it.

          5 votes
    2. [4]
      asoftbird
      Link Parent
      Pretty disappointed this post has so many votes, for precisely the reasons @moonbathers described in her post.

      Pretty disappointed this post has so many votes, for precisely the reasons @moonbathers described in her post.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        That's understandable, but I think you can also look at it from a more positive direction: @moonbathers' post is even more valuable because there seem to be a decent number of people reading the...

        That's understandable, but I think you can also look at it from a more positive direction: @moonbathers' post is even more valuable because there seem to be a decent number of people reading the topic who think a similar way, and can benefit from an explanation of why a viewpoint like that isn't "good enough", even though it seems reasonable on the surface. Like she mentioned, it's similar to a lot of other discussions happening recently explaining why just personally being "not racist" isn't good enough, and it's important to be actively anti-racist.

        Hopefully she doesn't mind me saying so, but I also want to mention that she specifically asked me not to take any action on the post because she wanted to respond.

        10 votes
        1. moonbathers
          Link Parent
          I don't mind you mentioning it at all. I had asked you hoping that to get a response from the person I replied to in case we were on the same page and I just misunderstood them, but people have...

          I don't mind you mentioning it at all. I had asked you hoping that to get a response from the person I replied to in case we were on the same page and I just misunderstood them, but people have gotten some use out of my post and if you removed the top-level comment my response wouldn't have as much impact. Thanks for listening to me on this.

          5 votes
      2. dotsforeyes
        Link Parent
        Just chiming in to note that I consider the voting system here not necessarily a system of assent or agreement, but as a marker that the comment opened a good avenue for discussion, which I think...

        Just chiming in to note that I consider the voting system here not necessarily a system of assent or agreement, but as a marker that the comment opened a good avenue for discussion, which I think is true in this case.

        7 votes
  3. [8]
    Ellimist
    Link
    Doesn't bother me any. What someone chooses to label themselves as is their own business. All I ask is patience as I'm not a learned man when it comes to the increasing number of labels for folks....

    Doesn't bother me any.

    What someone chooses to label themselves as is their own business. All I ask is patience as I'm not a learned man when it comes to the increasing number of labels for folks. I'm trying but it seems like there's a new label every week. I'll do my best to use the proper terminology whenever someone makes it clear how they want to be addressed but don't assume I'll know what you're wanting either and get mad if I address you inappropriately.

    10 votes
    1. [7]
      Kuromantis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I agree. While I don't mind you identifying as you please and noone ever should, some labels are not very intuitive. Using demisexual as an example, the etymology I found showed demi as a neat...

      All I ask is patience as I'm not a learned man when it comes to the increasing number of labels for folks. I'm trying but it seems like there's a new label every week.

      I agree. While I don't mind you identifying as you please and noone ever should, some labels are not very intuitive. Using demisexual as an example, the etymology I found showed demi as a neat synonym for half or semi, but demisexual people aren't half or semi sexual, that would be like calling someone with high functioning autism/aspergers a half autist. While typing "demisexual" into your search engine is not hard, needing to do that does make the topic feel more complex and less intuitive, which are not good things for a movement looking for acceptance/tolerance.

      There are definitely better ways to do this, this this chart posted here is one example I found.

      2 votes
      1. [7]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          To add to this, my relationship history with cisgender, heterosexual people has been mostly problematic, even for the most open-minded individuals. Often times I'm the gateway to them having their...

          To add to this, my relationship history with cisgender, heterosexual people has been mostly problematic, even for the most open-minded individuals. Often times I'm the gateway to them having their minds opened to all sorts of non-traditional relationships, neuroatypical behavior, gender norms they aren't familiar with, etc. While this usually makes them a better person, it comes at the expense of a failed relationship because they didn't realize we were incompatible from the start. Because of this I often specifically search for queer flagging, terminology, or other shared signaling so that I know I'm not going to be someone's first relationship experience with alternative lifestyles.

          5 votes
        2. [5]
          Kuromantis
          Link Parent
          Fair enough. Noone said I, a cis, het, white (enough for the meme) man had the right to tell you how you should label yourself/call your orientation as. In that case, what should I do/refer to to...

          Frankly, it's a little self-centered to try to dictate the conversation around a label when you're not someone who identifies with said label.

          Fair enough. Noone said I, a cis, het, white (enough for the meme) man had the right to tell you how you should label yourself/call your orientation as. In that case, what should I do/refer to to keep up with the labels you're coming up with to describe yourselves? Is there any coherent framework/chart to tie all of them together? Does that make sense? Is there a regularly updating document/site/dictionary of the sexual orientations you have come up with for people like me to look at?

          (Also, does it feel this comment is implying these orientations are being printed to you, because I admittedly could see that being the case.)

          2 votes
          1. [5]
            Comment deleted by author
            Link Parent
            1. [4]
              Kuromantis
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              long bloke Huh. So labeling sexualities here is (uhh)... an anarchic free-for-all mess derived from human emotion? I guess this should be moved to ~humanities then. Do you think that is just a...
              long bloke

              These terms are constantly evolving, organically and in real-time. In other words, there isn't an Official Committee (TM) who define terms rigidly and objectively; the definitions instead come about from the people who use them. From my experience, the process of word adoption goes something like:

              1. "I have a feeling... a tangled, messy feeling... how do I... what language do I even use to describe this? It's kinda like being <label-1>, but not really. Ahh, it's ALMOST like <label-2>, but that just doesn't capture what I feel. [shrug] Oh well, I'll think about this another time."

              [Some months pass, with this unresolved feeling sitting buried in your psyche, popping up every now and then but never really going anywhere.]

              1. [One day, you come across a blog post or an article or a book where someone is able to put the feeling into words in a way that you couldn't at the time.] "Oh my god! Yes, that! That's what's I feel! Ahhhhh, and they're calling it <label-3>?
                Damn, yes, okay, that's entering my vocabulary. I'm going to start using this when I write about my own experiences."

              Repeat as each label cascades virally through queer communities.
              (It's worth noting, though, that the terms themselves may mutate as each person puts their own personal spin on them.
              So, you may even find multiple simultaneous definitions with sliiiight distinctions, depending on which spaces you're peering into. You may even find that one person's definition isn't compatible with another person's definition, even when they're both identifying with the same label!)

              I think concrete hierarchies and frameworks just don't line up very well with how language actually works.

              Huh. So labeling sexualities here is (uhh)... an anarchic free-for-all mess derived from human emotion? I guess this should be moved to ~humanities then.

              Do you think that is just a reflection of our/human/non-cishet (maybe, idk) sexuality? If so, then no wonder gender studies is a full blown field/discipline where you can get a PhD or a doctorate, because this apparently seems very complicated. Usually it's either out of my mind, or it's in the conservative/reactionary context of "SJW/liberal/shitlib cringe". And given its a discipline trying to understand human sexuality, a pretty big aspect of emotion and psychology, it's not only a serious field you can actually go deep into, it's also a pretty valuable/important field too. That's not something I'd be expecting.

              long bloke

              Because of these complex networked interactions, I'd say it's not worth attempting to learn everything. Like any specialized topic, it takes time and effort to even scratch the surface of the latest developments, let alone try develop an accurate, up-to-date picture. Instead, I think it's more pragmatic to look up things as they become relevant to you personally. "Oh! My friend says they identify as <x>. I should do more research on what that means! If they're comfortable, maybe I could even ask what the label means to them personally. What is it about this label that they connected with?" Otherwise, you end up trying to predict what you'll need to learn ahead of time, and that's just not feasible.

              Instead, I think it's more pragmatic to look up things as they become relevant to you personally.

              I don't have any friends or know anyone not cishet (although TBF, I don't think it would be a very welcoming environment for anyone who isn't) so I guess never/not today? Okay then.

              2 votes
              1. [3]
                Gaywallet
                Link Parent
                Anything that humans spend a lot of time, energy, or effort doing has a vibrant field of study. Relationships and sex are an incredibly important drive to most of human life, regardless of...

                And given its a discipline trying to understand human sexuality, a pretty big aspect of emotion and psychology, it's not only a serious field you can actually go deep into, it's also a pretty valuable/important field too. That's not something I'd be expecting.

                Anything that humans spend a lot of time, energy, or effort doing has a vibrant field of study. Relationships and sex are an incredibly important drive to most of human life, regardless of sexuality or gender. Frankly I find it rather interesting that the field has taken so long to really take off, as it previously existed mostly in the realm of philosophy.

                I don't have any friends or know anyone not cishet (although TBF, I don't think it would be a very welcoming environment for anyone who isn't) so I guess never/not today? Okay then.

                There's a good chance you do know these individuals you just aren't aware that they are. Especially in the case of sexuality, it can be fairly easy to hide from cishets. Many queers feel the need to hide their identity from general knowledge because they don't want the persecution that often comes with living out in the open.

                I'm going to offer an alternative here - reach out and ask when someone uses a label you don't understand. I have never been offended to explain myself to someone who genuinely is interested in understanding more about me.

                4 votes
                1. [2]
                  Kuromantis
                  Link Parent
                  I agree. I'm assuming it's either because tolerance for LGBT people was pretty limited until 15-20 years ago or because the vast majority of people are cishet and even then most of the main LGBT...

                  Frankly I find it rather interesting that the field has taken so long to really take off.

                  I agree. I'm assuming it's either because tolerance for LGBT people was pretty limited until 15-20 years ago or because the vast majority of people are cishet and even then most of the main LGBT labels (with the exception of queer, but I think that's the point) are relatively simple to understand and well established, so it could be that you can talk to a lot of people before getting to know someone who has gone through the process @radiator described to find/describe their sexuality instead of just questioning or taking a Kinsey/KSOG or finding a meme subbeddit like aaacccceee overly relatable, and being such a minority made you hard to find, see and understand before the Internet took off.

                  There's a good chance you do know these individuals you just aren't aware that they are. Especially in the case of sexuality, it can be fairly easy to hide from cishets. Many queers feel the need to hide their identity from general knowledge because they don't want the persecution that often comes with living out in the open.

                  Pic unrelated /s

                  So you can in most situations and for most GSRM identities pretend to be cishet, so the closet is primarily mentally taxing instead of physically? If so, I would not be able to tell those 2 apart.

                  I'm going to offer an alternative here - reach out and ask when someone uses a label you don't understand. I have never been offended to explain myself to someone who genuinely is interested in understanding more about me.

                  That's nice and encouraging, but that kind of seems like (2) in @radiator's exemplary comment.

                  1 vote
                  1. Gaywallet
                    Link Parent
                    Well, yes and no. Being in the community you start to recognize others that are a part of the community as well. Partially because we signal to each other in different ways that we are queer so...

                    being such a minority made you hard to find, see and understand before the Internet took off.

                    Well, yes and no. Being in the community you start to recognize others that are a part of the community as well. Partially because we signal to each other in different ways that we are queer so that we can find each other more easily. This signalling can come in a variety of ways: dress, actions, language, pride flags, locations we hang out, hobbies, and likely other ways I'm not thinking of right now.

                    However you are absolutely correct that the internet has made it easier than ever to connect with other queers all around the world.

                    So you can in most situations and for most GSRM identities pretend to be cishet, so the closet is primarily mentally taxing instead of physically? If so, I would not be able to tell those 2 apart.

                    You wouldn't really be expected to, however, if you do find anyone who is queer or become a good ally (seek out LGBTQ+ clubs and join as a straight ally) you'll start to recognize the signalling better and you'll begin to get a feel for people who are likely closeted.

                    that kind of seems like (2)

                    Ah, apologies, yes that's also what I'm advocating here.

                    3 votes
  4. [2]
    Edgeworth
    Link
    I think the prolific nature of the labels is a stopgap toward having a fully developed language for describing sexuality with nuance. I don't describe other parts of my life with one of a bunch of...

    I think the prolific nature of the labels is a stopgap toward having a fully developed language for describing sexuality with nuance. I don't describe other parts of my life with one of a bunch of existing labels. When I tell people about myself, it tends to be in a story-like way. It's natural for people to talk this way. Seeing how their story connects to one of these labels is not intuitive, and people will of course resist this.

    Take the "snowflake" insult. Nobody gets called this when they are telling their own story, even though that story makes them unique. "My favorite color is gray and my favorite food is french toast" probably narrows me down to way more specificity than any of the sexuality labels would, yet nobody would complain about me describing myself like that. Maybe if I called myself polichromophilic (greek roots for gray-color-loving, I doubt it's actually correct), it would bother someone.

    Personally, it took me a long, long time to realize which of these labels applies to me. There was no way for me to know unless I specifically learned the definition at some point. Even so, plenty of people have a natural aversion to being labeled.

    I'm definitely not calling for abandoning the labels. They have helped a lot of people discover themselves. "Oh hey, this applies to me." But I don't see them as the thing that will get nuanced sexuality into mass acceptance. And considering how universal sex is, it is to our advantage to have this nuance.

    10 votes
    1. Qis
      Link Parent
      OH, THANK YOU!! I also like gray best and there's a case to be made that my favorite food is the waffle. If I told you I am also polichromophile do you think you would be more inclined to sign...

      OH, THANK YOU!! I also like gray best and there's a case to be made that my favorite food is the waffle. If I told you I am also polichromophile do you think you would be more inclined to sign this petition I'm working on submitting to our local council to establish breakfast as the most important meal of the day? I think it's criminal that there aren't any early-morning diners in this town and I'd start one myself if I could get some support for it -- but gosh, really I'm just grateful to hear that there's someone else like me, and to have a word for this thing I have always felt. Surely this very helpful label shouldn't be used just to identify us as-uniquely-as-possible but is actually a means of establishing collaboration. I guess color/food preference isn't everything to me, maybe you and I would have other kinds of disagreements -- but so long as we have polichromophilia I know there's something to connect us and I'm not going to take that for granted.

      2 votes
  5. Marijn
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm more than a little baffled by all the concern in this thread about lesser-used labels potentially putting off non-accepting people. People aren't coining these terms for allies to learn;...

    I'm more than a little baffled by all the concern in this thread about lesser-used labels potentially putting off non-accepting people. People aren't coining these terms for allies to learn; they're coining them to describe themselves — at least, that's what i felt when i felt i had to coin a term for how i related to my own gender because none else fit.

    Our lives aren't led to be explained to non-LGBTQ folk, so why does the conversation around labels come back to that? It just feels like another version of the "but how will we explain this to the children?" argument.

    10 votes
  6. scrambo
    Link
    I kinda look at the labels as shorthand for a much wider description of a person's sexual persona. I fully believe our (human) language is sufficiently developed to the point where if someone...

    I kinda look at the labels as shorthand for a much wider description of a person's sexual persona. I fully believe our (human) language is sufficiently developed to the point where if someone described themselves as: "A person who is attracted to men on Mondays, women on Wednesdays, and is Asexual the rest of the week", we could find some amalgamation of latin words to adequately describe it. Whether others would understand what that word means at first glance is another story. There's a pattern to language, so we can use that to our advantage. I think this blends in with @Edgeworth's "Story of Self" idea, since person are such complicated things you can't describe everything about an aspect of their life in a word, (or couple) without losing nuance along the way.

    In other words, labels are like colors? You have "Blue", but under that wide umbrella you have Teal, or Sky Blue, or Baby Blue, or Seafoam - all of which describe different Blue's. Notice the names don't always describe the Blue's relationship to other Blues, or even its own color lol, but seem to exist to differentiate from other Blue's.

    I can't speak to the aspect of how this relates to the LGBT+ community as I'm not very familiar with it :(

    9 votes
  7. Tygrak
    Link
    I think having more specific labels isn't bad. There are times where you don't need them, so you don't use them, and times when they can be useful. For most people I am probably straight, or...

    I think having more specific labels isn't bad. There are times where you don't need them, so you don't use them, and times when they can be useful. For most people I am probably straight, or unknown if they don't assume I am straight. A much smaller group of people knows I am gay. And for a even smaller group and on my dating profiles I use gay demisexual. It's just two words that explain to others kind of what they can expect. Or would you say that if I wrote "hey, I am mostly not really into sex, but maybe if we really hit it off we could maybe have sex sometimes, but no guarantees" on my dating profile that it would be better? In ace circles I might use homoromantic demisexual/gray asexual. Context is important.

    Another debate is if asexual people are just straight people trying to invade LGBT places, which I think is pretty dumb. But I kind of don't care, exclude them if you want to, what counts and doesn't count as LGBT is kind of arbitrary since the beginning, so I guess you can say asexual people don't belong in there. But please, at least don't say that the A in LGBTQIA stands for ally...

    4 votes
  8. Removed by admin: 2 comments by 2 users
    Link