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Coloring outside of the lines

September 16, 2008

I think I attach too much importance to certain categories or communities; specifically, “woman” and “lesbian”.

By this, I don’t mean that I’m against labels. Excessive and compulsive labeling is dangerous of course, but categories help bring people together, and they can even make identities visible and legitimate. What I mean is that all categories –queer, straight, butch, trans, man, woman– include both cool and not-nice people; so I shouldn’t attach too much emotional value to any of them.

For instance, I’m reluctant to leave the “woman” and “lesbian” labels –even though I don’t feel too much like either– because of feminism and sisterhood and power to women. There are so many kickass people who are women and/or lesbians: Rosa Parks standing up (or sitting down) for her rights; Ani Difranco with her powerful, brave songwriting; Ellen Degeneres with her courage and wit.

I’m trying to convince myself that I can be funny, brave, and strong, too, without necessarily being a woman or a lesbian. Actually, just being myself –regardless of how I present my gender– is the strongest, bravest, smartest thing I can dream of doing.

I wanted to grow up to be a role model for girls, but I can be a good example for kids of all genders. I loved being gay because I thought it made for closer, more equal relationships; but I can be a loving, understanding boyfriend, too.

Gender and sexual orientation are just the paint with which I’ll color my world.

So let’s color outside of the lines.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 16, 2008 9:06 pm

    Many of us are lost without a label. We need classification else we feel alienated and confused. There are those strong enough to survive without, but i sure ain’t one of them. I am reluctant to use labels because they are presumptive and do not allow for deviation.
    I am not brave enough to colour outside of the lines, but i will gladly hold the paper for you.

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