Underneath my yellow skin

The limits of labels

I wanted to do a post on labels, so I looked up ‘No Labels’ to se ewhat they were up to these days. Unfortunately, they’re deciding to be assholes as usual. Basically, they are a bunch of rich people who want to rule America. So, per yooz, but without being principled enough to choose a political party. Because they would not suceeed in that party. So they took their balls to make another party. In other words, they are exceedingly egotistical people who think it should be all about them.

If you are a power-hungry asshole, just SAY you’re a power-hungry asshole. I do think that only having two political parties is bullshit. Most of my life, I’ve voted for the lesser of two evils, and it’s not great. It gives too much power to those two groups and disenfranchises many people. The solution is not to tave a bunch of gazillionaires declare themselves as de facto rulers of the land. that’s way too much like an oligarchy.

That is not the point of this post, though! I’m talking about personal labels. Back when I realized I was bi (thirty years ago), the common refrain in the queer community was to rebuff the ‘its a choice’ or ‘it’s a lifestyle’ phrasing when it came to being queer. And I get it. Straight people didn’t waake up one day and think, “Hey, I’ve decided i’m going to be straight today.” So, yeah, I was born this way to quote Lady Gaga. But. And this is the important part. I would have chosen to be this way if I had a choice in the matter. I ilke being attracted to people of all genders. Or no gender like me. I’m greedy. Why limit myself to just one? It’s broaden my horizons, and while I do see gender, it’s not the most important factor in my attraction to someone.

I didn’t like the ‘I can’t help being queer’ mentality because there was always a tinge of…negativity to it? Not negativity, exactly,  but….

Look. Let me put it this way. When I was in my later twenties, women started asking me if I had children/was plainning on having them/wanted them. I was young and naive, and I said no. Just no. Not “hell fucking no!” or “No, I don’t want them.” Just no.

I thought it was a decision that only affected me, but I was so wrong. Everyone had something to say about it, which boggled my mind. For whatever reason, the content of my womb was fair game to other women. I hadn’t got the memo, so I was gobsmacked with the outsized reactions I recieved.

Then, because I was feeling like an outcast, I looked for a book that might have stories from other women* about not wanting children. This was before the internet was as ubiquitous as it is now, so I was looking for an actual anthology. As in a book. I found one, and I was elated to get it. Imagine my disappointment when I realized that almost all the stories (and I mean all but one or two) were by women who wanted children, but chose not to have them for one reason or the other. Or who decided to not have children because of medical issues in their family.

All of them bent over backwards to say how much they loved children and how they were so disappointed not to be able to have them. More than one made sure to mention how they were aunts or had other children in their lives.

I was so disappointed by this anthology and sad that the women felt they had to apologize for being defective women (my interpretation). If I was going to be brutally honest, I would have written something like the following:

I don’t want children. I never have, and it was a  massive relief when I realized that I did not have to have them. I was elated, and I felt like I was floating on air. It was a weight off my shoulder, one I did not know I was even carrying.

It was a birthday, Christmas, and graduation present all at once. It’s the best thing anyone could have done for me–even if it was me myself and I who did the giving of the gift.

In the decades since, I don’t think about not having children very often. When I do, I am profoundly grateful not to have them. I would have been a terrible parent, and it’s my gift to the world not to have them.

My point is that not having children is the best decision I’ve made in my life. It’s not something I feel the need to apologize for or think is a negative thing. It’s not sad, and I’m not missing anything. Or rather, yes, I am ‘missing’ children in my life, but I’m also ‘missing’ cilantro in my life.**  I know most people love cilantro, but it’s gross to me.

Same with kids. Well. Similar, any way. I like kids fine in general, but the idea of having one–noooooooooo. I instinctively flinched at the thought because it’s just horrifying to me.

My point is, I am joyful being queer. I love it. I would not have it any other way. Same with not having children. Best damn decision I’ve made in my life. This brings us to gender. If sexism weren’t a thing,*** then I would be fine with being called a woman. I have no issue with the label. Again, if there weren’t thousands of years of patriarchy and sexism behind it, then I would be fine with it. It does not spark joy, no, but I would not find it objectionable.

What I don’t like is how people treat me because of that word. Or tell me that I’m doing that word wrong. So, fine. If I am doing it wrong, then I don’t want to be identified as that word any longer. That’s when we get to no label. I’ve just given up on finding a label that fits. It’s the same with most of my other identities. I have just chosen the one that is the least burdensome to me. By the way, I just found the video I included today when I Googled labels and song. It says almost exactly how I feel about labels.

I know it’s impossible to do away with labels completely, but as the song says, let the labels serve you. If a label works and gets you what you want, then use it. If it doesn’t do either, then don’t. It really can be that simple.





*How I identified at the time.

**I’m allergic. It tastes like soap. Thank you, NYT for verifying that’s a thing.

***Hahahhahahahahhahaah (deep breath) hahahahhahahahahhahahahahahahhaah *sob*


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