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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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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A Glimpse Of My Adventure In Germany & Poland

This why everyone should study abroad.

Learism
Learism
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Two days ago, I arrived back in the States from a two-week study abroad trip to Germany and Poland. This trip was entitled Experiences in International Justice. On this trip, we studied the Holocaust and its consequences through the lens of criminal justice. This trip changed my life in so many ways.

Firs, I really connected with all the other students on my trip, so I know that I can find friendship and understanding in them because we shared this experience.

Secondly, I discovered a newfound respect for life and need to work towards a more just world through learning more about Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust. We visited three infamous concentration camps: Dachau, Sachsenhausen, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. I don't know if I can explain to you the emotions I experienced, but I would like to try since I think it is very important to share my experience with others. It was so surreal to be in a place where millions of innocent lives were taken away. Seeing where the many Jews, Roma, and many other groups slept, worked, suffered, and died really put my life into perspective.

It got me reflecting on what I have to be thankful for, and the problems that I feel are a too big deal to handle. Nothing I could ever go through can be compared to what those poor people went through. Because of this realization, I have become empowered to do what I can to help those who are suffering and who do not have anyone to stand up for them. I know I can't effect change all over the world, but I want to help others in any way I can, in my community and in my future career as a Forensic Psychologist, as well as with my friends and family.

I also have been inspired to be a torch-bearer for the memory of the victims as well as the Holocaust itself, so that something like it never happens again. Knowledge is power, and so being educated about what happened and how it happened can help us take a stand for what's right. Because not everyone has the privilege to travel to the concentration camps as I have so I have an obligation to share my experiences there with the world. I do not want the victims to disappear, from the Holocaust or any tragedy. From a criminal justice perspective, it was also very interesting to read more about the perpetrators, how normal people can be so violent and destroy fellow humans without remorse. I think it is beneficial to study them because it shows that anyone can become overwhelmed with power and let it go to their heads.

My trip to Germany and Poland was an amazing experience that expanded my mind and my world, inspired me to continue down my chosen career path, and gave me great friends. I hope that everyone has a chance to study abroad and always be curious and open-minded because it will do so much good for you.

Learism
Learism

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