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