Labels can hold many distinctions in our societal circles. They hold stigmas and sterotypes both good and bad, some are able to easily own up to their labels while others are repressed by them. Now in this I can highlight some of the easy to spot labels but others are a bit deeper and easier to dismiss. I will hit them all and while it may seem trite to some they can make a major difference in the society we live in and I’m going to start right off with the most confusing of them all… Normal.
Yesterday I did something I like to regularly do as a thought experiment. There was no right or wrong answer. Just a couple simple questions without me guiding the conversation. “What is normal? Along that line, what labels have been used to describe you. In this questioning I notice a trend that made me smile and that is the reality that normal isn’t some stone set way of living. Normal is imaginary. It’s some made up in the idea that we all have to be some cookie cutter mold of the other. We see this in TV adds, magazines, and movies where we must be this thin, this tall or this type of person to be “normal”in our society. Thankfully in my friends list and hopefully more outreaching outside of them are finding this as more common. Normal is more a setting on a dryer then a descriptor of a person.
This leads to labels. Sure we have all seen the common ones, but when the labels are used not as a descriptor but as an insult it tends to get overwhelming very quickly. And even more so when you add in other micro aggressions like missed pronouns, dead names or complete denial of the other. Pretending a situation doesn’t exists doesn’t make it disappear but sadly this all to well what happens. Labels used to discredit, belittle, or degrade someone all in the search for some power of the other. We have seen this not only in recent times with happenings around our local area of Western PA but also coming on a national level.
This is why I’ve become a part of an amazing group here. A start up group that has grown very fast in the Mercer county area. This all stemmed from the growing realization that many in the LGBT community felt alone. Like no one was around for them. As this group has grown we have made many strides all in building an amazing group for everyone. We have started discussing some ideas and key phrases to build on and one many of us liked is what became the title to this post “More than just a label”.
I am a spouse, parent, daughter, mechanic, employee, college graduate, friend, writer, advocate, and so much more. Sure I happen to be transgender but in the context of life that is the smallest part of me. Being transgender hasn’t limited my life, it has explained it in more ways then I could ever imagine.
Now tell your story. Tell everyone who you are. Tell the world you are more than just one thing. You are more than just a label.
Image care of my good friend Dave S. Someone who I meet for one small reason, yet have grown so much more from having him in my life.