Sexuality is fluid: Why LGBTQ+ labels don't help us
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The acronym LGBTQ+ is a label. Labels exist for us to make more sense of the world around us, to define and determine things. In the past (and still now), certain labels for people have been divisive, offensive and downright wrong. However, LGBTQ+ labels have a unique place in this discussion. As a queer woman, I have had a tumultuous relationship with labels regarding my sexuality since I first realised I liked girls aged 15. I came out as a lesbian when I was 17, but I was never fully comfortable with this ‘label’. I felt like it was restrictive, forbidding me from any potential possibility I may ever be attracted to anyone identifying as something other than a woman. However, this was all fairly subconscious so I overcompensated by making a huge deal over being gay and immersed myself in teenage queer culture. When I first went to university I ended up in a relationship with a man and came out again as bi. Because I’d been so vocal about being gay originally, to those friends who’d known me a year before it was humbling and almost funny for me to realise I liked men too. If I hadn’t labelled myself so intensely the first time around, would it have been so bad when I realised my sexuality wasn’t as black and white as I’d thought? Sexuality is most definitely fluid. There are some people who know they’re definitely straight, or definitely gay, from a young age, with a minuscule chance of that ever changing. The way we learn about sexuality - through the internet, exposure to queer culture and bare-minimum PSHE in the UK - often focuses on sexuality being black and white.
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