So I"m thinking today about labels, and realizing that I don't much care for them when they are applied to me. I have never really enjoyed being put in a box and treated like I was like everyone else in that box. Even when the label seemed harmless, like "graduate student", it still came with implications about how I was to act or what I "should" do. 

I know that labels serve as identifiers and that we as humans have the need to categorize. It's just when those identifiers come with assumptions and even judgments that it gets sticky. For example, if I tell you that for a large part of my career (yes, career) I was a stay-at-home mom, what pops into your mind? Do I seem like a highly intelligent, creative person that gave up her life to be with her kids? Or do you see stereotypical images of a soccer mom?

Labels can be hurtful, bullying even. "You're such a diva", "Nerd", "Quitter". I think, or maybe hope, that most of us mean no harm when we assign a label. Sometimes it's just part of wanting to know someone's story, to understand who they are, and maybe cultivate a closer relationship. If I know that your labels match my labels, then chances are we'll have a better chance of connecting because we have that in common. 

So why am I making all this fuss? I suppose it's because I'm on the edge of a label that I don't want because it will identify me in many people's minds as incapable, weak, bumbling, declining, or senile. I'll let you wonder what the label is. The point is that this whole label thing has me wondering what members of the community feel about the labels they have been given and all of the implications surrounding those labels.

As I peruse the interwebs, occasionally I will see a post by someone in the community talking about LGBTQIA+ labels and how they are imposed, and how tired they are of being labeled. Other articles talk about needing more labels for the community, not less. If you are a member, do you feel this way? Do labels help or hurt? In my quest to be an Ally, I want to know how members of the community feel about the labels I use. Are they something to be celebrated? Are they restrictive or do they come with too many preconceptions? 

Let me know what you think. I'll keep pondering too.

until next time, 

Lots of love, and thanks as always for being part of this community,

Ellin (she/her)

 *PS- this is just too funny not to share. If you go to our YouTube channel, @becauseimproudstudio7650, you will see a video we made to introduce ourselves. This is an outtake from that video- - you should watch, especially if you need a good laugh!


January 17, 2023 — Rebecca Porterfield

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