It is difficult to keep up with all the changing labels and terminology for LGBT people today. Some people have already added several letters to the LGBT. And isn’t it Facebook that gives you 50 choices for your sex on your profile? I think all these labels are quite unhelpful. Let me explain.
First of all, I see why people want labels. If you label something, it seems to give it more validity. And if you label yourself and another person in the same way, it helps you to feel a connection together. And labels and terms give people a way to try to describe the vast array of what we see within sexuality and gender expression.
But, labels have proliferated to the point of absurdity. And it makes it very difficult and more problematic when people show offense for the general public not knowing or using all the labels “correctly.” And even worse, the labels and terms change continually. When I started my blog it was normal to find books and articles talking about transvestites and transvestism, but most people don’t use those terms anymore. When I started blogging, it was still common to talk about SRS, sex reassignment surgery. But now that term is already offensive to people. (I won’t get into the huge issue of people being far too easily offended and extremely intolerant in our modern culture today. I’ve written about that elsewhere. See my post – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”)
It is important to remember that even today people cannot agree on what all terms are supposed to mean, terms like – “crossdressing, transgender, transsexual, intersex, queer, pan-sexual, homosexual, etc.” There are many many more terms and people all seem to use the terms differently. Even just the people themselves who fit into these categories use the terms differently and disagree about what they mean. This is one reason I don’t spend too much time on my site trying to nail down different terms (but you can see my post on definitions of terms here). Consider also that the resources and articles I share use the terms differently. I believe it is more helpful to explore the issues of crossdressing and gender, and readers can see what applies to them personally and what does not.
Another reason I don’t get too worked up about the labels and terms is that I think there is a lot of overlap. Maybe someone has both gender dysphoria and also some same-sex attraction. Maybe someone crossdresses for stress relief, but also likes to dress androgynously. I’ve read too many testimonies now to believe that there is no overlap between these many groups. People are complex and they don’t always neatly fit into labels. The liberal community loves to talk about a spectrum of gender and they reject the gender binary. As I have written in other posts, I completely reject this. There are men and there are women, and some few with biological ambiguity because of genetic abnormality. We all have a sex/gender we were born with, only that we can choose to try to reject it in the way we dress and live. And people reject or live against their sex in different ways, and to different degrees, and that is what gives us the spectrum.
Well I guess it’s not really a spectrum but really a smorgasbord. There are homosexuals who act masculinely and homosexuals who act femininely. There are homosexuals who crossdress. There are heterosexuals who crossdress. Some crossdress for comfort. Some crossdress trying to live out their inner woman. Some crossdress because they think they really are women. Some who think they are women get surgeries to change their body, some do not. Some crossdress for sexual pleasure. Some of these eventually get surgeries to change their body as well, to try to live as women. Some say they are transsexual and homosexual, like m-t-f transsexuals who remain attracted to women. Some try to live androngynously blending both genders. Some try to reject gender altogether.
We can try to keep defining and labeling all of these people, but the people themselves often change or adopt new labels and new terms. Again, I think it is much more helpful to instead spend our time looking at people’s thought processes, motivations, and the actual phenomena in their lives (such as same sex attraction, crossdressing, or living as the opposite sex) and discussing those things. It’s too easy to speak past each other trying to use terms that can be taken in so many ways. In order to facilitate clear and good communication, I write about what I and others actually feel, experience, and do, rather than using terms that only muddy the conversation.