Even LGBTQ+ Labels Can Be Super Frustrating At Times

Even LGBTQ+ Labels Can Be Super Frustrating At Times

You do not need labels to feel loved.

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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.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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A Florida House Committee Is Undermining Your Vote On Amendment 4

Before felons can regain their right to vote, they must pay court fines, fees, and take care of any other "financial obligations." Essentially, this is a poll tax.

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Amendment 4, also known as the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was added to the Constitution of Florida after being passed this last midterm election on November 6, 2018.

Amendment 4 restored the voting rights of Floridians with prior felony convictions after all terms of their sentence have been met, including parole and probation. This amendment only applies to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses.

On January 8, 2019, an estimated 1.4 million ex-felons regained their right to vote. This is monumental. Prior to this amendment, Florida was one of four states that used felony disenfranchisement. Amendment 4 gives voice, and rightfully so, to felons who have served their time. Amendment 4 is also putting to rest, finally, years and years of disenfranchisement and suppression.

Now, only two months after its passage, the House Criminal Justice Committee is trying to water down this piece of legislation. This is a direct violation of the will of the 64% of Floridians who voted for the legislation as is. This amendment was not to be "clarified," as Governor DeSantis put it, but rather to be self-implementing.

However, the House Criminal Justice Committee proposed a bill that would tack on some extra qualifiers in order for felons to be enfranchised. The bill will require court fines, fees, and other "financial obligations" (in addition to fees administered in a judge's sentence) to be paid in full before a felon's voting rights are restored. This seems awfully similar to a poll tax to me. Obviously, this is going to affect people without a lot of resources rather than white-collar criminals who can afford a $500,000 bond.

This new qualifier will prevent felons from voting based on the money that can be coughed up as if they don't have to worry about their finances long after they leave prison.

Some may argue that these felons shouldn't have committed a crime in the first place. However, I would argue that holding a felon's vote hostage on the basis of money is unconstitutional.

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