What’s in a Label?

In general, I’ve hated labels. I’ve yet to find a label that actually accurately describes who I am. This disdain for labels started when I was in college. It all started with the word bisexual. Someone who likes both women and men. But that felt too limiting to me (remember, this was the 90s and the term pansexual hadn’t been coined yet). My motto was hearts, no parts, and I found the “bi” in bisexual to be too limiting because I viewed sex and gender to be on a continuum. So I applied my own definition to the label that acknowledged that continuum, and woman and man being at the poles, with most of us falling somewhere in between.

Even without that definition, bisexual still seemed problematic because I tend to be more attracted to women than men. So I started using the expanded label of lesbian-identified bisexual. If you would ask my therapist, she seems to think if I had had a different upbringing, I would simply identify as lesbian. I don’t know about that, but it just makes it clearer that labels are inadequate, yet we need them to try to communicate about our identities to the world. Still, since labels are limiting, a lot can be lost in interpretation.

So, what are all the labels that apply to ME?

Woman. Mother. Sister. Daughter. Aunt. Niece. Friend. Survivor. Mentally ill. Bipolar. Lesbian-identified bisexual. Pagan. Feminist. Democratic Socialist. Witch. Author. Designer. Artist. Unitarian Universalist. Geek. Fangirl. BBW. Learner. Teacher.

And as my therapist points out, soon to be added to this list is divorcee and single mom.

How does it all fit together? It just does. It’s just who I am, and it’s fluid because I’m a work in progress.


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