I've spent most of my life growing up with a label or two. As a kid, it usually was "Mexican" or "Hispanic." Those labels suited me, as I see myself as part of that community. Growing up, I prefer the labels "Latino" or "Chicano" as it was more specific to who I was an individual. I know that some labels we cannot escape, such as those for gender, race, and ethnicity. However, some labels really bother me.
One of them is my religion and faith. I was born in to a Christian family, raised a Christian, and continue to be one. However, because my denomination is changing from Non-denominational to Catholic, many see me as no longer being a Christian. How is that possible? Am I now a pariah that ceases to exist because I'm now affiliating myself with a denomination that some see as the whore of revelation (yes, I used be one them)? Or is that many say that I "worship" Mary and the saints that make me less of a follower of God?
For many to be a Christian is to follow Christ, believe that he rose from the dead, and is our saviour eternal. I have those covered. So what makes me different than others? Nothing. The problem is that we want to see differences where there are none, and as such, we think that by making a certain exclusive to a few, we will achieve that. I disagree. For me, saying that I am Christian is one thing, and saying that I am Catholic is another. "Christian" is a label of my faith, as it states I am a follower of Christ (btw, I prefer saying that over Christian, but that is another post). My religion, or denomination, is Catholic. I have fallen in love with the Church, and I have seen that it feels right with my soul and spirit. So, as a Christian, I choose to be Catholic. Both labels fit, but neither is exclusive of the other.
Now the other label deals more with my sexuality. Yes, I am gay. Yes, I like men. But the question remains: am I fem or butch (or masc.)? Now I understand the gay communities affinity for labels. I mean, we all create them one way or the other. Many of us wear them with pride, and show it off in our cars/notebooks/computers or any other place we can display who we are. I have known twinks, bears, jocks, st8 acting, brothers, thugs, and the list goes on and on. I mean, we all want to fit in somewhere, but the main issue is the first two labels we all have to deal with one way or another: fem or butch?
I tend to be between a rock and a hard place with this mainly because I do not see myself in either category. Let's see some examples of what makes me one or the other, shall we?
I paint my nails. I wouldn't mind doing drag. I LOVE makeup. I have no problem calling myself a queen, miss, girl, or any other feminine label. I carry a man bag (which I sorely need another). I love to shop. I like fashion.
I've no problems working on my car when and if I can. I have no problems hiking, going on trails, and getting dirty. I love to sweat. I'm not too fond of the Oscars, Grammy's, or any other award show for that matter.
Looking at the lists, I can be pretty much either one. It's no big deal, but when talking to guys, it gets pretty interesting as they want to place you in one category or the other. I don't like that at all. I want them to see me for who I am, not the label I best fit. If that is impossible, then they need to move on.
So, for some, labels tend to be a defining moment in their lives. For mine, they are nice to have (some of them) but for the most part, I want to see as one label, and only one label: "Hi. I'm Manny." :)