In class this morning we were talking about the value of having language to express your identity and what that means of your identity if there are no words for it. (Specifically, discussing a gay-identified Ethiopian man living in the U.S. unable to fully come out to his mother in their native language.)
And this one woman said that “everyone wants to have a label for themselves” and another got sort of mad and said she, politically, rejects labels of categorization. And while I see the value of that in some aspects, it still just came off as such an asshole, privileged thing to say, especially in the context of sexual identity.
Because, yes, I reject things like a political identity intentionally, to leave room for myself for ambiguity, for criticism, for self-determination. And while I may not feel particularly cis or male, being read and understood as such comes with privileges and I want to recognize that. But the identities I do hold—Fat, Brown, Queer—are reactions to the ways that my self has been used against me. They are reclamatory, defiant, empowering. To self-righteously position oneself above the repercussions of a destructive world is to conversely shame the mechanisms those less fortunate use for survival. And I fucking reject that.
Embracing my identities is an acknowledgement of my own humanity and an attempt to undermine the powers that try to hurt me. My survival is dependent upon me embracing my self(s). And this life, for me, is very much a fight for my survival. Identity informs my struggle. Don’t erase that.