Lesbian, gay, female, male, intersex, bisexual, queer, transgender… these are just a few labels that are used in the LGBTQ+ community. Human nature is to instantly categorize people into specific boxes. Whether people like it or not, they will inevitably be categorized based on their job title, income, race, gender, sexuality, or religion.
These labels can often be frustrating because society is constantly the forest with a thousand eyes. You will always have someone judging you simply because you look or act in a different way than them. It is truly terrifying to see how opinionated people can be and disheartening to feel the weight of shaming and judgment on your shoulders.
If I had to put a "label" on myself I would identify as a cis female who is bisexual. Now just because I identify as bisexual does not mean that I like both genders 50/50, I actually have a preference towards cis bisexual, pansexual or lesbian women. A lot of the time I would prefer not to put a label on myself, but I feel like I have to in order for the straight community to comprehend the way I feel.
The most common questions I receive are "how do you know you are gay?" and "are you a lesbian now because you're with a girl?" When these questions are asked it is more cringe-worthy than nails on a chalkboard for me. My response back to both of these question is "I just know who I am, do I really need to have to label myself, can't I just love freely without judgment?"
There have been several times this year where I felt like I could have changed my label from bisexual to lesbian in order to avoid receiving hateful comments from both the straight and LGBTQ+ communities. It would have been so much easier to explain that I like girls instead of explaining that I have a slight attraction to cis males also. For me personally, I am not a huge fan of the word "lesbian" simply because I do not label myself as one. I do however prefer the terms "gay" and/or "bisexual" because I feel like the term sounds less sexualized to the straight community.
Regardless of who you are. You have the freedom to label (or not label) yourself to the world as much as you want. You are still a human with a beating heart in your chest and a brain full of knowledge. Remember that as much as people would like to try to understand, there is no right way to share with others how you feel towards your significant other. Love is something that is felt deep within the heart, you don't have to share that with anyone but your lover.
I cannot wait until the day where we can simply introduce ourselves by name and not have to worry about all of the labels that come attached to us. We are not anyone's property; we should not have to fit into a certain category in order to feel accepted by others. If you are feeling even an ounce of unacceptance or judgment from those around you, you are in a toxic environment and need to leave. Find people who are going to love you for you and look past your labels. Find the ones who are going to love you regardless and not judge those parts of you. Be a part of the community that loves freely and will treat you like family. Never let these people go.