sexual orientation – labelling and educating ourselves

Hi,

Victoria from hermionefowl made a post called Sexuality – Do We Need Labels? in this post, she made so many good points about labels and how they can pressure us into fitting into a certain category but also how they can help us find new people who we have something in common with.

Her post really got me thinking about why we label people, why society feels like we need to fit into a certain category.

I believe that this is because in our society people who aren’t straight aren’t seen as “normal”, and for some reason, they just don’t understand how we could be different. We live in a society that assumes that we’re all straight, as homosexuality isn’t the norm. Labels help people understand who you are when it comes to your sexuality.

However, I can think of one big reason why labelling can get confusing. I feel like if I try to explain this it’ll be too complicated, so I’m just going to give an example.

Steven identifies as a bisexual. He tells this to his friend Julie. Julie then googles what bisexuality is (according to google Bisexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior toward both males and females, or romantic or sexual attraction to people of any sex or gender identity; this latter aspect is sometimes alternatively termed pansexuality.”)  but Steven doesn’t one hundred percent fit into this description. Now Julie is confused, and/or starts making assumptions about Steven which are not true.

These assumptions can create a social pressure to find a label which describes them perfectly. This can be seriously hard if someone doesn’t know exactly how they feel anyway.

No one should feel pressured into fitting into a certain category or labelling themselves just to make other people’s lives easier. You should do what makes your comfortable and what you believe is right for you.

After coming out, a question I’ve seen and gotten myself is, ‘well, how do you know you’re blank if you haven’t been with someone of the same gender?’ This question is one of the most annoying questions I have ever heard and it comes from people who don’t really understand the fact that not everyone is straight. I think the best answer to a question like this is, well how do you know you’re straight? Because it’s highly likely that they’ll respond with something along the lines of because I do or I just am.

I think a lot of the misunderstanding of other people’s sexual orientation comes from a lack of education surrounding social issues. This was something Victoria and I talked quite a lot about, we are both from New Zealand, are in high school and have both gone through a lot of our education (excluding university). The two of us have only had discussions about social issues, such as sexual orientation, once or twice throughout my eleven years of school and Victoria’s thirteen years. All of the conversations I have had at school about sexuality, gender, and race, that aren’t brief, have been with my friends at school.

Absolutely everything I know about sexual orientation, gender identity, I have learned through the internet. The lack of education when it comes to these social issues is so obvious when it comes to the misunderstanding of sexuality within the older but also the younger generation.

Recently I was watching a TV show with my younger brother, and there was a character on it who was bisexual. Because she kissed a woman (she’d previously had sexual and romantic relationships with men), my brother assumed she was a lesbian. I had to explain to him that, she’s bisexual, she likes both girls and boys, and it doesn’t matter who her partner is at the time, it doesn’t make her straight or gay. She’s a bisexual no matter who her partner is. I’d like to point out that my brother’s eleven, I wasn’t surprised that he was confused. But so many people are uneducated on sexuality to the point where if someone isn’t  straight they assume that they’re gay. I think this kind of thing needs to be taught in schools, sexual orientation isn’t black and white. There is so much more to sexuality than homosexuality and heterosexuality.

Do let me know how you feel on labelling in the comments, I’d love to discuss this issue further.

Yasmin xx

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3 thoughts on “sexual orientation – labelling and educating ourselves

  1. fireheart books says:

    This is a great post! I’ve struggled with putting a label on my sexuality for a while, I knew I was attracted to both guys and girls but it wasn’t 50/50, I’ve always preferred guys. The problem is that a lot of people have this idea that bisexuality is liking both genders equally. Now that’s a big fat lie, I know that now, but it made me really unsure about myself growing up. I’ve come to realize that bisexuals don’t really have a place in the LGBTQ community, only if they’re dating someone from the same sex. So because I’ve always been more attracted to men (tho I’m still attracted to women as well) people (both straight and gay on the Internet cause I don’t feel confident in coming out in real life yet) have always made me think I’m straight and only curious about girls because it’s “trendy”. So because of that influence both from uneducated straight people and the LG community who should be more educated on this matter (I mean the LGBTQ community is supposed to be a safe place for all people whose sexual orientation isn’t straight, regardless of the sex of their partners) I didn’t feel confident calling myself bisexual for a long time, I kinda just repressed my attraction to girls and tried to convince myself that I really was straight and just appreciated the female body cause I wanted to be like them. But now I realize that that’s just pointless, I am who I am and labels don’t matter, we shouldn’t stress so much about finding a label that fits us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • readbooksanddrinkcoffee says:

      exactly exactly exactly! you made so many good points. Just because someone labels themselves as a bisexual does not mean they like boys 50% and girls 50%, they could be more attracted to girls and vice versa. I feel that society believes men cant be bisexual, I cant think of one fictional character, other than Magnus Bane, that is male and bisexual. It once again ignores the fact that not only women are attracted to both genders. I think the only TV show I’ve watched that has a lot of representation of people who are a part of the LGBT+ community is a show called Faking It, this show got cancelled after its third season but it had so much diversity and I actually learned quite a bit more about different genders. the show actually dealt with labelling in one of the most beautiful ways I’ve ever seen. I think coming about is hard, but then having to put a label onto yourself to help people understand makes it a lot harder
      – Yasmin

      Liked by 1 person

      • fireheart books says:

        Yes exactly. And I think tv shows play a big part in teaching society about LGBTQ+ and other issues and often can help someone accept their sexuality. I only fully accepted myself when I started seeing bisexual characters in shows I watch. But like pointed out, I mostly only see girls. The only bi guys I know (both in tv shows and books) are Magnus and Damen from the Captive Prince trilogy (tho I’ve heard Aedion from Throne of Glass is bi too but I haven’t read the latest book yet). There’s a lot more prejudice against bi guys than bi girls cause everyone thinks they’re just gay but in the closet. I wish that would change and that’s why creating more bi make characters is important.

        Liked by 1 person

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