It has been awhile since writing in this blog, and I apologize for all those who have been keeping up with it, I sometimes don’t make it to this blog because I am constantly working on my fitness/health blog. Thanks for the continued patience! From the title you can probably assume that this blog post will be about labeling within the gay community. The above link is my soundcloud audio also speaking on the matter, hopefully some of you will share your thoughts and feelings on this topic as well.
For beginners, if you aren’t sure what I mean when I mention “to label” someone in our community something, here are just a few words:
and I am sure those of us in the community could think of so much more, but not only do these words label us, but they put us in a box — and while some people like myself don’t mind having a label, I also don’t want people to put me in a box and think we are all the same based on my label alone. Now to be more honest and open with all of you, I didn’t realize there were so many labels and I didn’t know which one was for me, and what they meant exactly, never paid much attention to them. It wasn’t until about last year or so, that I became more interested in finding a label that fits me, because I wanted to belong somewhere, but also wanted a greater understanding of myself within the community and I thought by doing this, I could do more research and learn more about who and what makes me who I am and how others might portray me.
Come to find out, I am what they call a “stem”, someone who isn’t real femme but definitely not butch/stud, but in the middle, I can dress up real girly or dress masculine depending on the circumstances and my mood and what I feel comfortable in. Growing up, I would have probably labelled myself as a tomboy but as I got older, my style and mindset changed. With this being said, some stems wear men’s clothing and some don’t wear men’s clothing but dress less girly in women’s clothing. I am on the spectrum where there a few things in my closet that are men’s but it isn’t the bulk of my clothes by any means because I am comfortable wearing women’s but when I do purchase a men’s wear, it usually is a sweater, basketball shorts, soccer shorts, their long socks, sometimes their button ups, and on rare occasions their T-shirt, and I don’t mind wearing men’s sweatshirts, but I find sizes that fit my body and aren’t necessarily bagging — oh and men’s boxer briefs and sweat pants; I like those too 😀
I don’t really think about if people around me can tell if I am wearing men’s or women’s clothing, it doesn’t really bother me because I wear what I feel comfortable in. I think the issue with clothing sometimes is we tend to overthink it, all that matters to me is if I look good in it and if it makes me feel confident/comfortable when wearing it. If I don’t feel comfortable wearing it, I won’t buy it. This is one of the reasons people in our community don’t like labels, because once they are labelled something, it is then assumed they dress a certain way or have to look “the part” and I feel like it is bullshit. If someone is considered femme, we assume she has to wear dresses and high heels with make up on, if she is a stud/butch lesbian then we assume she has to wear all men’s clothing and have short hair — a superficial way of looking at someone. I base everything on how one carries themselves because a femme could want to wear dresses during the week but maybe she also likes wearing hoodies and sweatpants and a stud might love wearing men’s suits but occasionally will go out their way to have a blouse and skirt on — everyone is different and labels shouldn’t make a person.
My overall opinion of labeling yourself and others is, if you want to label yourself, that is fine! for some it is helpful , it helped give me understanding but if you choose to not label yourself, that works too because you are what you choose and want to be and feel comfortable in. Labeling others– I won’t, because I don’t know someone until I REALLY KNOW SOMEONE, and clothes and hair don’t make someone who they are. If you choose to label people then that’s your own prerogative but be warned some individuals may take offense to that.
I don’t mind being labelled as a stem, but call me by my name because that is who I am, don’t call me by my label, or clothing or how girly or manly I look, call me human , because I am only human after all & every human deserves the right to be who they choose.