Labels divide us. Why can’t we all just be human?
I’ve seen that come more often from straight, cisgender people, but I have seen it from just about every walk of life. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this statement, and I disagree with it on a fundamental level.
It starts with this preconceived notion that labels are bad, then ends it with trying to utilize one particular label as the only thing we should claim. This makes the whole statement inherently flawed and contradictory. If labels divide us, why would we claim the label human? Why would you say labels are bad, and then ask us to use another label?
Can labels divide us? Absolutely. I would be lying if I said anything otherwise, but do you know what else they do?
Bring meaning for us
Bring us together
Help us understand both inwardly and outwardly
Identify us, personally and socially
The concept of labels has no inherent morality. It’s nothing more than a tool. Like all tools, how it is used will create it’s moral significance.
I think labels are fantastic and fascinating things that makes understanding a person more obtainable. I also think it’s a really bad idea to make labels the only tool you use to try and understand yourself and others, and can end up dividing people through lack of understanding.
We often pigeonhole people based on their labels. Notice, that is an action someone does, not the label itself. Also notice why.
That’s where the lack of understanding comes in, see, we forget too often that a label is used to understand a particular subject in a broad sense. When we forget this, it leads us to believe that we know what the label means on an individual level.
You have to remember, labels are a beginning of an understanding, not an end. Here’s an example.
What are some ways that I would define myself?
I am queer, trans, autistic, female, human
I live with disability, mental illness, relatives
I am a humanist, gamer, musician, riot
I proudly own my labels, and I have many, many others I use for myself. They have allowed me to find and come together with other people who can understand my existence on different fundamental levels. I would not have found these people without my labels to understand certain things.
These same labels have lost me friends, gotten me beat, made my life more difficult, and made me the butt end of a lot more hate.
These same labels have helped me grow by finding people with other labels that aren’t mine and trying to understand the world through their eyes.
For you though, my question is this. When you see those labels,
Do you know me?