Damn Labels

Why do we label ourselves? At what point did I become something that could be quantified? Yeah, I know, I’m a finite being. Still, when did I become all the rest? 

Labels define us. Labels limit us. Labels cause separation. Some are unavoidable. Gender labels are an example. Some should be avoided. I looked at what I put in the “About You” part of the profile “I’m a straight, married, Christian *not “religious” that’s different*, white, sober, male.” Those all describe me. They also limit me. “Straight”, yeah, don’t see that one changing anytime. “Married”, yeppers, gonna stay married ’till I’m dead. “Christian”, yes, but I have not always been and don’t have a problem with people that don’t believe that way. Ask my “best friend that is not my wife” about my views on that one. “Sober”, yes, but like the above, I’ve not always been. “White”, not really, some of me is sunburned red. Some is pale pink. Parts are bruised or bloody. I work with my hands. Oh, you mean race? That kind of white? Well, kind of, I think, but can’t prove, that I am mongrel Western European. Can’t prove it because the relatives I knew were Okies. See where I’m going yet? Those are just the ones that are basics. If we got to political views, there are not enough descriptive words. Deciding a political party, by necessity puts me in opposition to every other political party. Saying that I am a specific religion, as opposed to being “Christian”, means that I’ve decided the tenets of every other religion are wrong. That also means that I presume to know the mind of God. I don’t. I’m human. I fail and make mistakes all the time. 

Ok, so, all that to get to this *sigh*, I really don’t like the labels “gay rights” and “gay agenda”. Here’s my reasoning. To say that someones rights are tied to their orientation means that we have not gotten over the bigotry that the Civil Rights Movement of the ’60’s fought. Saying there’s an agenda puts one group into the position of saying “those people are trying to advance themselves at MY cost”. Somehow we have to remove the word “gay” from the equation. Somehow we have to substitute the word “human” for the word “gay”. We, society, has to remember or learn that there are no “gay rights” or “gay agenda” issues. There are “human rights” and “human agenda” issues. It’s those damn labels. By confusing ourselves that “gay rights” diminish “straight rights” we have become in opposition. By saying there’s a “gay agenda”, we also say there’s a “straight agenda” and that they want different, mutually exclusive things.

Damn labels. We really don’t want different things. We are really NOT in opposition. We are just fearful of what we don’t understand. We don’t understand that a noise in the dark is just an owl. We see threats that do not exist. We jump at shadows and label them enemies forgetting that it’s just the Moon through the shade tree in the yard. We become fearful and lash out because what we don’t understand we label as “dangerous”. Damn labels. 

Someday, we, all of us, have to find a way to remove the labels. “Gay” and “Straight” are not words that should mean “enemy”. Damn labels.

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