Labeling Your Boxes

Ah, my wonderful little corner of the Internet I carved with my own bare hands. Something that truly belongs to me because I made it myself.

Unlike the person that I thought I once was.

As I once again blur the lines between this being a public blog on the Internet, where anyone can come waltz in and read everything I write, and my own personal diary, I want to lay out my thoughts on morality, identity, and just who the hell am I?!

I’ve had this little stint before, where I was experiencing a small episode of disassociation—which I think I still have, but that’s beside the point. This odd feeling that encompasses me now revolves around another form of labels: rather than a name, it’s my identity.

No offense to those who love labels, but I think, in its current form, the LGBT community has too many labels. I thought the community first started to be beyond labels—or at least, to be beyond whatever predetermined box society had forced them into at the very start. Now, somehow, they’ve taken a step backward and there are more labels than there ought to be, at least in my opinion anyway.

I understand that some people want a label for themselves that more closely resembles and better describes who they are. That’s totally fair and valid, but by god, even I have a hard time picking it up.

I’m absolutely not a fan of being referred to as genderqueer whatsoever. In fact, it’s a stretch to say that I particularly like being called transgender in general. I hate the label. Not because I think it’s shameful (maybe) but because of the annoyance that comes with it.

We can’t assume everyone has the same pool of information and knowledge and context as you do. I’ve had people ask me if I was a transwoman before, which honestly offended me so much that I had to sit back and let my soul project into an astral plane so that I don’t say something hurtful to anyone.

People here, in general, don’t even know what the hell the LGBT community is. It makes it harder to explain to them what being transgender is. Sure, they know what being gay is. You’re a man who likes men (hehe), or a woman who likes women (sheshe), but that’s all they know. I have reason to believe that bi people make local conservatives even more confused. They might just consider homosexual relationships as phases, and their kid will “go back to normal” and date the opposite sex.

How do I even begin to explain what it means to feel like a stranger to your own body? To wake up and feel like something is wrong, every second, like your skin is two sizes too big or too small for your skeleton?

Okay, maybe I’m being a little bigoted. Maybe they do understand. Or, maybe, they don’t care even if they didn’t. Maybe this is my inner transphobia speaking, thinking that trans people bring nothing but confusion to the table. Maybe that’s it.

Even I’m confused by myself. I hate who and what I am because it’s never going to end. This is who I am for the rest of my life. Why do I have to pay to be mildly comfortable in this wretched body of mine?

And, on the surface level, what’s so wrong with discarding the label altogether? No one will ever know. Well, those who need to either already do know or they will find out. People I meet outside of those areas, like coworkers and casual acquaintances aren’t owed this part of me. We aren’t going to know each other for long enough, or well enough, for them to know this. It makes no impact, right?

I have lived as a man socially since 2012. In real life, I’ve done so since 2017. Save for checking my ID card or stripping me naked, there’s no way now to tell I am not assigned male at birth. So isn’t that enough?

It feels as though I either owe everyone my life story when I mention that I am not cis, or they become so curious that it’s borderline uncomfortable. I hate attention. And that’s the only thing labels seem to bring nowadays.

No one bats an eye if you’re straight or cis, but the moment you mention you are anything other than that, people want to know everything about you. It’s especially worse when it involves your body.

Some people think it’s their job to tell you that you are going to regret everything you have ever done, others will be so grossly interested that they are blurring the lines between curiosity and sexual harassment.

On the other hand—and I mean this in the nicest, most personal way—I think it’s necessary for me to distance myself from the community as a whole. I understand the purpose of the community, the fact that there are other people who know exactly how you feel and whom you can turn to, the so-called 同路人 brings comfort. But the problem with a community is that you will always have bad apples. And a few bad apples spoil the bunch.

It sucks that the rotten ones speak the loudest. They are the most vocal. They demand to stand out the most in order to bring their message across. Yes, I agree that you should be who you are, either unapologetically or on the down low. You don’t get to decide that for other people, though. When you set yourself up as the representation of one specific thing, you are telling the general audience that this is what that specific thing looks like on average. You are not just throwing yourself out there, you are thrusting everyone else into the spotlight. Just because you can handle it, doesn’t mean others can, too.

I know it’s not fair to judge the entire community after just knowing one person within that community, but that’s how a lot of people work. They use you as a baseline. When it comes to godawful people who make their identity, their label, their entire fucking personality, it’s even easier for the majority of people to just write you off as a lunatic.

There are normal people out there trying to live normal lives. Being who I am doesn’t actually define me on a day-to-day basis. Sure, it comes into conversation and it’s actually a point of serious discussion, my whole identity does matter. But what we eat for lunch, what bus we take to go home, or what movie we should watch… None of this defines it. I live a normal life. I am a normal person. I just go to the doctor every three months and I have the hormone fluctuations of a teenager despite being in my twenties.

I don’t need people to think that I am secretly a deviant or a sex worker, or that I’m not serious about my transition. I don’t need people to question my every motive or ask me if I’m really trans because the trans people they saw on the Internet blur the lines on the binary. No, I’m not a bootlicker or a milk-drinker for following the gender binary. I’m not conforming to the patriarchy by exhibiting traditionally masculine gender roles.

This is what being trans means. You are just a regular human being. I’m just some guy. I don’t crossdress, I don’t show off my “special features,” and I most definitely do not plaster blue, pink, and white on everything for fear of someone not knowing.

I much rather you not know because then you won’t ever ask me these questions.

It’s funny how the label that once described my condition perfectly is now actively describing things that are the opposite of me.

With all these labels and all the talk of escaping the binary, people in the LGBT community are doing a damn good job at limiting and alienating themselves. If I can, I try my best to distance myself from them, too. The original purpose of the community is gone and that’s a damn shame.

It’s no longer a place where I feel accepted, even though it should be the only place that wouldn’t judge me.

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