To Bend or To Not to Bend

When I posted my coming out piece on TealArt, I said that now that I've made the jump (and come out on TealArt) I'd do some more musing on the subject. And in some ways I have, but I'm not sure how directly I've addressed the topic. I suppose that I'm wary of it, not because I'm particularly afraid of talking about it, but more because I don't want to affect the general interest aspect of TealArt, and over run the site with too much of this stuff.

On the other hand, it's already happened, it's what I end up musing the most about, and given that I have very little else productive-ish to say, I'm going to say it. I also don't think that the weblogging world has become post gay, and I think it'd probably be a good thing to embrace my niche genre. I suppose that my main irrational fear at this point is that I won't be unique and reduced somehow. This is an interesting point, but it's a bit off topic and I'll explore it more later, but. right now I'll continue with the previously scheduled post.

Gender and sexuality are commonly viewed as boxes and categories that we force people into. Some people fit into their boxes very comfortably, while a lot of people don't fit and feel comfortable with the boxes. For all of the faults of the Kinsey study, I think he put it best (this is from the 1948, study of Male Sexuality):

"The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. Not all things are black nor all things white ... Nature rarely deals with discrete categories. Only the human mind invents categories and tries to force facts into separated pigion-holes. The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects."

This is a fairly straightforward sort of statement, but it's also terribly hard to implement into the thought processes, scientifically, socially, and intrapersonaly. As a result, we tend to revert back to a very binary culture, which probably isn't ideal, but at the same time it seems unavoidable. Having said that, I know a lot of folks who are trying to break out of accepted boxes and rejecting traditional labels. I think that's really a great thing, but I'm also ambivalent about it some how, and I'd like to explore that a little.

See, while labels can oppress people and force them into characterizations that don't fit their identity, they can also be a source of power, pride, and unity. So do you claim a label that doesn't fit perfectly, but that empowers you, gives you a community, or do you claim an identity that marginalizes and excludes you from the community? What does that mean anyway?

Do we take labels for our own benefit or do we take them for the benefit of society? I'd like input on this, if anyone's willing.

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