I understand that often these labels can have some use to identify needs, but really aren’t they just a subversive way of segregating us as a human species, a classification system in a way. Before anyone points out, I know I have described myself as a transgender, a trans* person and a host of other things over the years, but there comes a time when the labels hang heavy in your soul. A time where you simply do not see yourself as anything more than a person, yet you feel labelled like the unclean of yesteryear walking around with a label to describe yourself, as if the smell wasn’t enough.
As I say labels are used by ‘the system’ by people to classify us all, however really I wonder today could they not be more of a lever for prejudice and segregation than having no label at all. What’s worse do they not in this connected age provide people with xyz issues in their life, with a ready list of stereotypes to latch on to, so they become the label instead of themselves? I ask would I myself have gone from transvestite, to tgirl, to crossdresser, to freak, to transgender, to intergender, to whatever if I hadn’t have had the labels to wear? Probably not, probably if my parents and society where a little more acceptant of the mere fact I was breathing healthy and had a lot of love to give they would have simply accepted the fact I kept saying “when I grow up I want to be a girl” (at 5 you have few ways to describe how you feel) and let me get on with being myself. Instead they where too afraid of what people may say, what they themselves wanted and how they wanted me to be, the chances of me being bought a piece of jewellery or cosmetics voucher even 40 years on as a gift from my parents is slim to say the least.
Instead I was driven to a state of fear hiding and self loathing, self depreciating and eventually self harming through alcohol because I myself was terrified of the label that I saw hovering over my head. The truth of the matter was I wasn’t terrified of the label itself and wasn’t really terrified of me, I was terrified of societies perspective of the label and in turn me, it was that that drove a stake through my very spirit and led me to the place I am today.
So what’s the alternative, abolish labels? In an ideal world yes, however we don’t live in an ideal world and people who work ‘in the system’ need labels to classify people for good and bad reasons. All the same the abolishing of labels would be the best thing, no labels for ethnicity, no labels for gender…. In fact the more I start to think of the list I realise it is impossible to do without labels as labels are necessary in some ways, they are how we can describe ourselves if we so choose.
I think my point is I wish the only lesson society would take from the trials and tribulations of so many years of segregation, slavery, war, hatred, greed, famine and prejudice is that we are all simply human beings, our differences are minimal in fact microscopic, we are all one. I believe if someone isn’t going out to harm another in anyway then they are simply a human to me and I endeavour to form my own opinion because of the content of their character rather than the labels that society or even they use to classify themselves.
We can all shy away from people but we should shy away because of who they are rather than what their label says they are – as long as they aren’t harming anyone in anyway. Ok some labels are very important especially those that describe criminals of the worst variety.