Labels of Convenience

Labels of Convenience

Why, hello there. I’m Belle, and I am one of the new writers for Queereka. Will should be along at some point to announce the others and introduce us, but I’m not patient enough to wait to post, the reason being this topic has been on my mind for a while now, and I feel I should share.

I’ve been open about my sexuality since high school. I grew up in a gem of a midwestern town that was surprisingly accepting of LGB people—not so much the T part—but I found it difficult to explain my sexuality. Most people, even those in the LGBT community, are neither versed or even exposed to queer theory and ideas. Explaining androsexuality—androsexuality is the sexual attraction to masculine gender presentations—was difficult to impossible. In fact, I wasn’t versed in queer theory at the time either. I identified as bisexual for a bit, but it didn’t accurately describe my sexuality. I’m not sexually attracted to femininity or female gender representations; I’m sexually attracted to masculinity and male gender representations. So, I started to identify as gay. I was using it as a Label of Convenience.

I became exposed to queer ideas during my senior year of high school. I found a term that more accurately expressed my sexuality: androsexual. I found it difficult to explain this to my close friends. The response was, unanimously, “So, you’re bi then?” In response to the confusion, I continued to identify as gay, and called female people that caught my attention “exceptions.”

I’ve continued to use the Label of Convenience, but there’s a problem that I’ve slowly started to recognize. I still feel closeted because I still am closeted. Those “exceptions” aren’t exceptions! They fall well within the bounds of my sexuality.  By continuing to use a Label of Convenience I am being a bad skeptic, and not being completely out about my sexuality. As a skeptic, I should patiently take the time to explain my and other sexualities and gender identities. I think that’s one of the primary goals of being a skeptic: educating the public.

I know that I’m not alone in using Labels of Convenience. I have friends who have and continue to do so. I know it’s not my place to tell anyone how to publicly identify, but I would urge any of you using a Label of Convenience,  as skeptics, to more fully come out—iff (if and only if) you feel safe in doing so. It’s important to educate the public to promote understanding and acceptance, but also to give a word to some kid who is confused about their sexuality or gender identity. While science/skeptic/queer proselytizers do good work, the real fight to educate the public is done by us taking the time to expose and explain things to our friends and family.

Be Queer, and be proud of it!

Gratefully,
Belle


Belle is a red bean paste filled androsexual, mildly closeted transwoman pastry who is working towards becoming a mathematician. She tends to spend her time alone with a glass of wine, and rarely goes out except for classes and the occasional swordplay. While she does have a very close network of friends, she could be described as a hermit of sorts. She also feels strange about talking about herself in the third person. Can you guess what pastry she is?

10 Comments

  1. Yeah, to be honest I should take the time to explain things to people. The only problem is that sometimes you just don’t have the patience or time.

    I feel like then it comes down to ‘should I take the time to calmly explain to all of the people in my life what my particular flavor of queerness happens to be?’ Can there ever be an exception to not using labels of convenience?

    What if someone simply does not understand?

    Also, you’re daifuku!

    • I think you should expose them to as much as possible regardless of the time constraint. You can always follow up later.

      The only exception that comes to mind is if you don’t feel comfortable or safe in doing so.

      You are correct! I am, in fact, a daifuku, It confused the doctors when I was born…

  2. There are some people who I would never bother explaining my identities to. For example, most people have a hard time grasping what being transgender means, so trying to explain that I’m genderqueer would require giving them a background in alllll kinds of trans* PC terminology and meanings.

    However, I don’t hesitate to explain what pansexuality is when it comes up in conversation. I do thoroughly enjoy educating people as long as it doesn’t threaten me. Most of the time, people take my explanation of pansexuality and compare it to bisexuality in their minds, which minimizes the threat to me. They aren’t really all that different, and I’ve never had anyone try to re-label me as bi, so it’s not a big deal.

    I have found a couple times that sharing information about various orientations has helped another person describe themselves. My good friend David and I were talking about what poly means versus mono, and it came up that he doesn’t like/want casual sex and only ever desires it when he’s in a relationship or very close to someone. I shot him a link that describes demisexuality and voila, he has a new word to describe himself.

    • I definitely know where you’re coming from. Gender is more complicated than sexuality, and most haven’t been exposed to different ideas on gender identity. They’re more ignorant about gender. Which is exactly why we should take the time to expose and explain it to them.

      I’ve had similar experiences, and know others with similar experiences. I think it’s important for the LGBT community for this reason.

  3. I’ve been operating under a label of bisexual for a while now, mostly because “well, I’m romantically and sexually attracted to female gender presentation, but penises are teh awesome and, while sex with someone with a male presentation/identity would be fine, I’m not particularly attracted to masculine presentation sexually, or at all romantically” doesn’t usually fit in the box on forms and I don’t know what the term for that is. Gynosexual? Gynophilic? Maybe I should just put ‘Queer’ in future; if people want more details, they can ask.

    • Haha, I completely understand. I’ve been attracted to females with masculine gender presentations, and would have no problem dating them and the lot. That said, penises are teh awesome indeed.

      That sounds like gynosexuality.

  4. Welcome! I guess that you are a cream cheese danish.

    • Incorrect… Do they fill cream cheese danishes with red bean paste?

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