Throughout this series, we've talked a lot about labels. Identifying as gay or straight can be complicated enough; for those of us somewhere in the middle, it gets even trickier. Discussions over "bi" versus "queer" versus "pansexual" versus "fluid" get very complicated, very quickly. It makes me wonder: Why are we so hung up on labels? Do we even need labels anymore?
As I've read through the comments on my first two posts (thank you for those, by the way!), I've noticed an interesting trend that relates to what I want to talk about today: A lot of folks seem to have mixed feelings about the word "bisexual." Some are uncomfortable using it because of the way others react to hearing it; some prefer other words to describe non-monosexual attraction, such as pansexual, queer, or fluid. I understand the reasons why "bisexual" doesn't work for everyone (for a long time, it didn't work for me, either), and I'm not interested in dictating language choice or policing identities. Labels are personal, and different people react to words differently. However, I am interested in exploring the reasons why people choose the labels they do and, similarly, the reasons why many people resist the label of "bisexual."
Yesterday, Republican Presidential hopeful Herman Cain clashed with Piers Morgan about whether or not people are born gay. Here's the video:
The important thing to know is that Cain sets out saying that "homosexuality is a sin" because of his "Biblical beliefs," but Morgan quickly steers the conversation into "born this way" territory, outraged that Cain won't concede his point. Cain's response: "What does science show? You show me evidence other than opinion, and you might cause me to reconsider that... Where's the evidence?"
Last week, a good (lesbian, childfree, professor) friend sent me an article from an issue of the Palgrave MacMillian journal Feminist Review from 2003. I've tended to stay away from these sorts of pieces in this series because I don't assume I'm writing for a specifically scholarly audience. That said, the article is a great overview of some dense, theoretical issues facing childfree feminist women, specifically in the scholarly research/analysis context, and I thought it was worth mentioning.
Since today is Father's Day, I want to take some time to reflect on my dad, and try to start giving voice to some ideas and pain and anger that have been simmering in my mind.
My dad died this past winter after a shitty and long battle with cancer (he was a life-long smoker). He was 67. Now I know this might seem like a particularly loaded way of bringing politics down to the level of personal (and thus emotional), but here's the thing. I've been doing a lot reading lately. Of books, of blogs, of zines, magazines, chapbooks, of vision statements and organizing principles of self-described radical organizations and people... I've also been doing a lot of listening. And struggling to find the language to pull these ideas and feelings out of my head/heart, thoughts about identities and experiences. Critiques of which ones are validated/politicized and which ones aren't, and which others aren't even considered as possibilities for political analysis. And I've been struggling to even speak because, who knows? Maybe I haven't considered enough. Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe I haven't been as thoughtful as I think I have. Maybe I haven't searched hard enough.