I used to be very, very label-friendly. I was one of those people who insisted that words help us define things for ourselves, and in defining them, we can decide whether they are categories we like.
For example: I am a Witch. I have identified as several different labels in the past, spiritually, including: Wiccan, Shaman and Shaman-Witch. These days, I simply call myself Witch. I sometimes introduce myself as Wiccan or Pagan, if an individual asks about my religion (which is becoming more rare these days). Wiccan and Pagan are easier for most people to define for themselves.
As another example: I identify as a Gay Man. I like the label. It suits me. It is me. I’m gay because I am sexually attracted to the male gender. And I’m a man, because I am of the male gender and have other qualities that make me a man. At least, they are qualities that I think make a man, a man (i.e., sensitivity, caring for others, emotional intelligence, the ability to communicate, being strong when I need to be strong, etc, etc). I am a Gay Man.
Hell. LGBTQ is a label in and of itself, that contains other labels. LGBTQ is the label for a community of individuals. Each letter stands for something: L for Lesbian, G for Gay, B for Bisexual, T for Transgender, Q for Queer.
That group of people is further categorized into things like: Twink; Otter; Bear; Wolf; Cub; Leather Daddy; Silver Fox; Chicken Hawk; Trade; Top; Bottom; Vers(atile). The vastness of labels in the LGBTQ community is staggering, to say the least.
I’m simply a Gay Man. I don’t really identify as any of the other labels that further serve to divide the LGBTQ community. Well, maybe Vers(atile), but that’s about it.
Notice what I said there: other labels that further serve to divide the LGBTQ community.
In my mind, that’s what labels do.
I have had friends from all walks of life. The only label that matters to me is, “person.” Because I don’t care how they identify sexually, or what sub-categories they fit into, or what terms they slap on a sticker and stick to their chests. The truth is: we’re all people. And we’re struggling with a lot of the same shit. And the only way to deal with it all is to love and support each other unconditionally through the shit times and the easy times.
And out of all the shit times I’ve had recently, and out of all the friends that I have surrounded myself with, the few that have loved me through the hardest times in my life to date are the ones that I want to keep around. You know who you are. And I adore you.