Friday, 8 April 2016

Labels

Butch, Dyke, Femme, Lipstick Lesbian, Chapstick Lesbian...

All labels.

When I first thought about my sexuality I had no labels. I didn't really understand it but I knew I was attracted to women. Even as I explained it to people it was difficult because I didn't put myself in a box. I guess this was harder for them to understand as they couldn't compartmentalise it.

I have never identified with lesbian as a label. Yes I like girls, but I just can't get along with the word. The sounds are harsh. It's wrong. That's just a personal preference. Once I decided I needed a label, gay was what I went for. In its other context is means happy. For me it meant that I was fully happy to be me. To live the life I wanted. To happily be honest with all around me. I also liked how gay could cover so much of the lgbt community.

Once I had put myself in this box I found a community. It gave me the opportunity to be myself like I'd always wanted. I found some fabulous people who stood up for the issues that are important. They understood all those unsure moments. The tummy flips when coming out to someone new.

But then the labels started again. 'So, you're a femme then?'. I was put into a feminine stereotype because my hair was long. Because of a photo people made an assumption on my likes, hobbies and preferences. I am put into another box. Everyone else had one too. The term Femme grated. It presumed that I only had feminine traits and gave gender to everything I did.

I tried for a while to understand where I should put myself. The lesbians that I saw depicted were firmly in the butch department. I thought I needed to change. To be accepted I needed to have short hair, refuse to wear dresses and stock up on DMs.

Identity and labels are so personal. There are so many facets to personality that putting people under a label makes that the only thing you think of. A label of gay/ lesbian suggests that the only part of my personality you are interested in is who I'd like to date. A label of femme suggests that you only see my long hair and manicured nails and not my hobbies and passions.

So here I am. A girl who loves to play cricket. Who cares deeply about my work, the people in it and the people away from it. Someone who dresses for comfort and sometimes hates that it takes ages for my hair to dry, but would never chop it off because sometimes I like to pretend I'm a princess. I like to create. Using colour and shape to explore my emotions and thoughts. Who values friendship highly and is honest and loyal. Who loves to dance and make beautiful shapes with my body even though one time I was told I would never walk. And who likes girls.

Everytime you put a label on me you reduce me to a word and take away the story behind everything my personality is.

Kate xx

16 comments:

  1. This is such a wonderful post, I hope you continue living your life the way you want to x

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    1. Thank you Becca, I intend to do just that! x

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  2. This is such a fantastic post, Kate, so heartfelt. I hope life brings you only good things, you wonderful person you xx

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    1. Oh Cat, that's such a lovely comment, thank you. I hope the same for you x

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  3. I love this post, you have written beautifully on a subject I think needs to be discussed more. Although I know having labels can hugely help and comfort people who feel marginalised or abnormal feel like part of a group and not alone, I think our society has become too obsessed with labelling people. People cannot be pigeonholed because we are all more than one thing, we are multi faceted. The emphasis seems to have become more on herding people into stereotyped groups and less on personal expression, and I think that's sad.

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    1. I completely understand how labels can help you find your tribe, but I agree they can become very stereotypical. We are so much more than the labels we ar given. Thank you so much for your lovely comment x

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  4. Yes yes yes! Wow! So powerful and so beautifully stated!

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    1. Thank you so much Meghan. Your comment means so much x

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  5. Repeating what other commenters have said - this is a wonderful post, brilliantly written and heartfelt.

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  6. I've been meaning to write something similar for quite a while. I identify as a femme because I don't like the word 'lesbian'. I've never fully thought of the implications of that until now though, and you've definitely made me think about how people see me.

    This is such a fantastic post, I've shared on twitter & followed on bloglovin!

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    1. Sarah, these are my opinions and how I feel about labels. If you identify with those labels I am not trying to change that.
      Thank you for sharing. xx

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  7. You, Kate, are ruddy marvellous and this is an incredible bit of writing. I wish I could say something more insightful thank you for sharing this...
    M x

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    1. You have no idea how much your comment meant, coming from someone whose writing I really admire. Thank you! xx

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  8. Coming here from Michelle (Outside London)'s post. I can totally understand why she loved this - it's so true and this piece of writing has really struck a chord with me. You've explained it beautifully. BRAVO.

    Katie.
    xx La Coco Noire

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    1. She's such a babe for linking (and the most amazing blogger!). Thank you so much for your kind words.
      xx

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