Are LGBT Labels Good or Bad?

I feel like LGBT labels are seen by some as an amazing concept and by others as the worst thing in the world. Personally, I don’t feel like I’m that opinionated when it comes to labels which is surprising seeing as I’m opinionated about pretty much everything else. So naturally, rather than leaving it be, I thought I’d take a look at some of the different advantages and disadvantages of labels today. I thought it might be interesting to look at some varying viewpoints from other people. You can write your opinions in the comments and stuff and we can start a little discussion thing…if people want to 🙂
Some disadvantages of labels I’ve heard:

  1. Bullying/discrimination: Some people think labels encourage bullying, discrimination, and exclusion. This can happen when people change the meaning of the word ‘gay’ to insult someone or use nasty slurs such as ‘tranny.’ Discrimination like this can ruin people’s lives and in extreme circumstances, even put individuals in danger.
  2. We don’t need them: Lots of people think labels serve no purpose because they argue that ‘we are all human.’ They think we should be able to accept everybody for who they are without needing labels to categorise people into different groups.
  3. Pressure to meet society’s expectations for labels: Some people think assigning a label to yourself pressures you to meet societal expectations, for example dressing or acting a certain way to fit a stereotype. This pressure could potentially make individuals act differently from who they really are.

Some advantages of labels I’ve heard:

  1. A sense of belonging: Many people in the LGBT community know the feeling of being an outcast all too well. Some people argue labels like ‘gay’ introduce individuals to a group of people they can relate to where they can discuss any struggles they may face with others who empathise.
  2. Empowerment: Lots of people argue they are proud of their identities and like being able to use LGBT labels to tell the world who they are. Labels can also lead to events like Pride being organised which benefit those within the community.
  3. Labels themselves don’t cause problems, the people misusing them do: People argue words like ‘gay’ and ‘transgender’ aren’t the concern here but the people turning these well-meaning terms into harmful insults are. They argue people like this shouldn’t make us cut these words out of our vocabulary entirely.

I asked some people I know how they felt about labels and here’s what they said:

Boyfriend – ‘I don’t care for them at all, (I think the world) would be a much better place if we stopped using labels entirely.’

Friend 1 – ‘I think labels are good because they tell people where they stand or what they go for but they are by no means necessary. It’s okay to still be figuring things out. I think especially at uni labels aren’t the best because people are still very closed minded still and rely heavily on stereotypes in my experience which frustrates me A LOT.’

Friend 2 –  ‘I do not like the idea of labels because I feel like assigning yourself in a particular box will always cause controversy from people who may not understand what it means. I also feel like for people discovering themselves as LGBT in a traditional household may not feel as though they are comfortable ticking a certain box. For a lot of them the way they feel is a lot more than just a word, and I feel like that very label may isolate them because of the stigma related towards it whilst growing up in such households. They may think it’s a crime to act like the way they do when it is perfectly normal!’

If you have any opinions on labels, write them in the comments below as I’m sure there are many points I haven’t included in this particular post. Hope you found this interesting!

Thanks for reading,

ranterwrites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ranterwrites

YouTube: goo.gl/j4OiTx 

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3 thoughts on “Are LGBT Labels Good or Bad?

  1. This post is a little offensive to me, and I highly suspect you are not LGBT yourself because I can’t imagine you’d write this if you were?

    I’d recommend you check out the various blog posts written for the Carnival of Aces on a similar topic, including the blog post I wrote:

    There are also some really good posts written by The Ace Theist (Coyote) on the subject of the importance of labels:
    https://theacetheist.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/labels-looking-forward-vs-looking-back/

    And :

    https://theacetheist.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/what-youre-doing-when-you-take-labels-away/

    For example.

    Also actually, this Carnival of Aces theme is also quite relevant:
    https://valprehension.wordpress.com/2016/09/01/naming-it-august-2016-carnival-of-aces-round-up/

    And my post I wrote for that month’s blogging Carnival is one of the most popular pieces I’ve written, actually.

    I know these are ace themed, but that’s what comes to my mind first.

    I’d love it if you read as much of that stuff as you can find time and motivation to read, then come back and tell me what you think.

    Saying that labels might be “bad” misses so much of this nuance and so much of their vital importance is all…

    • Hi luvtheheaven,

      Really sorry my post offended you, wasn’t my intention at all. However, like I said in the post (albeit briefly), all the points listed were simply things I’d heard other people say, both online and in real life (so in other words, not necessarily my opinions). Whether I agreed with the points or not is a whole other story haha! I thought I’d made that obvious as the points contradict each other but I can see how the post could be read that way. I do identify as bisexual by the way (although sometimes I identify as questioning/choose not to use a label just out of personal choice). Hope you understand where I’m coming from now! 🙂 xx

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