The label maze can be daunting as we sort through our unique gender identity and try not to offend anyone by not using the right label or pronoun. Lately I have been referring to myself as a gender fluid crossdressing trans person. In general I also consider myself as part of the LGBTQ or LGBTQ+ community – falling under the broad trans umbrella label. However, increasingly as I read things I hear people use the labels LGBTQ and Queer interchangeably. One person I chatted with said it generally is older people who use the LGBTQ label and younger people who prefer the Queer label. I have great admiration and respect for your thoughts and wonder if you have any observations or suggestions on the use of these labels.
I admit I haven’t noticed different generations using different labels or terms to describe how they identify, but I would suppose that “queer” can cover a lot of ground, similar to how “transgender” can do the same thing. As you mentioned, “transgender” is very much an umbrella term that, in my opinion, covers anyone that isn’t cis. More specific terms, such as crossdresser or drag, can also be part of the transgender spectrum.
Not to sound like a cliche, but younger generations are the future. What is lacking in life experience is made up in progressive thinking and the rebellion against the status quo.
I mean, we were all there once. We also fought against the generation that sired us.
I work for a college and I work with a lot of people who are (much) younger than I am and I have to say I love that generation. They are smart, funny, and despite what a lot of people think, they work hard. Juggling full-time college and a part-time job is not easy.
Just like my generation was more progressive than my parents’ generation, they seem to be, for the most part, less interested in labels (whether it is gay, straight, Democrat, uh, country music fan). Queer covers a lot of territory, whether it is gender presentation or sexual preference.
I don’t necessarily identify as queer, even though trans is under the queer umbrella in a similar way that crossdresser is under the trans umbrella.
Trans, Drag, and Crossdressing
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Eloquently answered, Hannah. I admit it can be hard to be stuck within certain labels by people that don’t have a clue what the label even means.
Everyone I know in the community uses LGBTQ+ to describe us as a whole. I think some of the people using queer as a more blanket term though is because it is a good way to describe people along both the sexual identity spectrum and the gender identity spectrum.
I have spoken to my wife at length about the discomfort that I feel personally with the way the labelers have lumped groups together that really have no unified characteristics other than being different than what is perceived as “normal.” To elaborate a bit for LGBTQ+ as a grouping, consider that the first three letters are all used to identify an individual’s sexual identity(lesbian, gay, or bi); whereas, the last two are mostly used in a gender identity (transgender and queer.)
Another sad truth of the issues inherent with the LGBTQ+ label was brought to my attention about a month ago. The heart of the matter is ignorance, as my mother showed during a conversation with me about Christmas presents for my son( who is trans and gay.) She purposefully started throwing out random letters after the LGBT as a joke about how many groups of people have been caught under this umbrella label. I’m sure she found it hilarious but I was rather hurt by the disrespect and her failure to correct herself when I tried to inform her otherwise.
In any case, I seem to have rambled on enough about this.
(Before anyone asks, no, my mother does not know how I identify and it is none of her damn business. My son chose to tell and I choose not to.)
Ah, labels. I’d say, the more, the better, until we arrive at a point where it all doesn’t matter anymore. The point where the term gender will be obsolete. For the time being, I identify as a non-binary transfeminine gynephilic person 😉
Hi Hannah. As always, I enjoy reading your insightful response to our questions. I agree with Elise S that many of the existing labels are from people who don’t know or understand who we really are. These labels often infer that we are not normal, I would prefer to think we are a minority group. We are not weird or that gender is binary as the terms “queer” or “crossdressing” suggest. If I have to choose a label, it would be gender fluid (best compromise). I also like Louseloverix’s suggestions, now if only we can some how make it universal….maybe one day we can create a label that we are all comfortable with.
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