I Have No Idea What My Sexual Orientation Is & I’m Trying To Be Chill About It
Abby Norman
12624

Language and linguistics are my thing, and as such, I know how grossly limited and limiting they can be. The greatest weakness in labeling is that sender and receiver (i.e. you and your audience) seldom agree on the meaning of that label. Take “queer” for example. For many, an excellent label to describe anything that doesn’t fit into heteronormative patterns. That said, a significant audience — including in the queer community — view “queer” as homosexual. Most of us are left looking at a couple of choices. We can try to find a label that the collective conscience of our time can affix to our box with some degree of accuracy. We can stubbornly refuse labelling, letting society label us against our will, suffering for our petulance. Or, we can try to find the label that feels right to us, responding with a flippant disregard to societies attempt to redefine us. A few examples of the latter, pansexual and omnisexual. Less pretentious than saying “I am attracted to the individual not the gender” or “I am post gender” while essentially meaning the same thing. Also two labels that fly over most heads. This is actually a good thing. It gives the chance to educate. It bypasses preconceived notions and automatic assumptions by letting you get the first word in. It stops and creates space in the dialog. Then there is my favorite, the use of humor. I have been known to say that I am trysexual. It always gets strange looks as the receiver tries to process what this could possibly mean. I allow the beat before flippantly telling them that I’ll try anything once, often twice to be sure. This does two things. The first, it displays the fluidity I ascribe to my own sexuality. The second, it displays just how unconcerned I am about making them comfortable. It suggests ‘If you really have to have a label, fine. Here, have one’ without attitude or superiority. Even among very conservative audiences, it often gets laughs that move past the desire to attach a label to the box their mind is desperately trying to put me in. It allows for connection. And, let’s be honest here, it gets them the hell off my back, because when all is said and done, I don’t live my life for them, but I do live my life with them in it. Coexist. It isn’t just a bumper sticker.