As we know, affixing people with labels is a sensitive subject in society and I like to think that our community works very hard not to assign labels, particularly when it comes to our sexuality and gender identity. They can be offensive, malicious, sometimes downright disturbing. Worse yet, labels can be used as tools to bully, even as outright weapons. Nonetheless, some labels have purpose and how they are used often makes all the difference in the world to us. My good friend, Timmy, is here to give you his take on why labels can be good and why he likes them.
I’m a boy who likes labels. It’s how my brain works. I need the labels to feel safe and secure in life and in myself. Labels are something everyone uses. Categorical labeling is something our brains do to help understand the very complex issues in our environment. Labels help shape how we look at things, and what we see when we look at them. We naturally put things in categories in our mind. Food is not the same as drink, when someone says eat you don’t think of grape juice. Your brain puts food in the right category in your mind. This is how we learn. It’s how our brain stores knowledge. Without the ability to put a label on an idea, how can one describe, compare and or predict what outcome it may cause?
Every person’s brain works differently. In my head I use a Venn Diagram for things. I know it seems odd that one would do that, but that’s how my brain works. Some people have multiple labels, and fall into many categories. No two people are the same, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have things in common. Labels are just a way to understand people and their interests. It’s how we find like-minded people. There is a comfort in knowing the people around you have something in common with you. But how would you know if you didn’t label your interests and feelings? I believe that labeling serves a purpose. It allows us a limited rundown of a person with whom we may want to have a conversation without the need to give a life story.
I have heard many people say that labels are bad, they hold people back, they are used to hurt and discourage people. I say that’s the people using them and not the labels themselves. Not all labels are bad. Just like with any tool, words can cause damage. This is with all words. I could use the word “useless” in many ways. One is to hurt a person by labeling them, or I could be using it to explain that a task is a waste of time. It is all in the way we use our words. Some people work hard to get their labels, such as doctors who earn the right to use certain letters after their name. Some labels are very important to people because of their meaning; such as mother, father, friend, husband and wife. Then there are the people who hate the labels they have. To those people I say, if you are not happy with your labels then work to change it or work to accept that part of yourself.
I am a small, slender, 12-year-old gay male. I am proud of that. I like to wear some clothes that are made for girls, I like nail polish. If you used any one of those labels with me, it wouldn’t bother me. If you took it a step further and labeled me effeminate, I’d be okay with that too. I’d embrace that label.
Like with anything, there is a good side and bad side with labels. Some can be used in harmful and abusive ways, but not all labels are bad. Some are used as goals that we want to teach kids to seek. There are labels that are not only good, but ones we accept because they are characteristics that we work for and want to be noticed for. We need to learn not to read things into labels that are not there. Don’t give them more meaning and power then they should have. Labels are an organization tool, and nothing more. Don’t let people use them as weapons on you.
See you next month on Sunday, August 17th!
Available from: Harmony Ink Press
Όμορφη. Ómorphi. Greek. Meaning pretty
Pretty. adj. /pritē/ Pleasing by delicacy or grace
High school senior Michael Sattler leads a charmed life. He’s a star athlete, has great friends, and parents who love him just the way he is. What’s missing from his life is a boyfriend. That’s a problem because he’s out only to his parents and best friend. When Michael accidentally bumps into Christy Castle at school, his life changes in ways he never imagined. Christy is Michael’s dream guy: smart, pretty, and sexy. But nothing could have prepared Michael for what being Christy’s boyfriend would entail.
Christy needs to heal after years of abuse and knows he needs help to do it. After the death of his notorious father, he leaves his native Greece and settles in upstate New York. Alone, afraid, and left without a voice, Christy hides the myriad scars of his abuse. He desperately wants to be loved and when he meets Michael, he dares to hope that day has arrived. When one of Michael’s team-mates becomes an enemy and an abuser from Christy’s past seeks to return him to a life of slavery, only Michael and Christy’s combined strength and unwavering determination can save them from the violence that threatens to destroy their future together. Read an excerpt of Omorphi
Available from: Harmony Ink Press
Caleb had one mission in life.
To keep his boyfriend safe.
They met at ten, kissed at twelve, and were madly in love by eighteen. Caleb Deering is the captain of the swim team and the hottest senior in school. He comes from a loving home with a kind father and a caring, but strict, mother who is battling breast cancer. Nico Caro is small and beautiful, and has a father who rules with an iron fist—literally. One morning Caleb forgets himself, and he pecks Nico on the lips at school. A teacher sees them and tattles to the Headmaster. The accidental outing at school might be the least of their problems, because the ball set in motion by the school’s calls to their parents could get Nico killed. In the face of that very real danger, Caleb knows he has only one mission in life: to keep Nico safe. Read an excerpt of Safe.