Dear Ancestors,

I wish I could just shout, once and for all “DON’T LABEL ME. EVER!”

I’m glad that we’re at a stage of awareness and acceptance that we’re all starting to ask for pronouns (she/her, thanks for asking!), and I’m simultaneously wishing we could just have a gender-neutral language and avoid all these labels altogether (“it” just doesn’t work, obv.).

The labels that bother me most are the ones relating to my skin color (as a cishet woman, these are the ones I face regularly, but this is more generally a rant against labeling in general.)

People ask “what ARE you?”

Let’s be honest.

"what are you" is a very "othering" kind of question. OBVIOUSLY.
“what are you” is a very “othering” kind of question. OBVIOUSLY.

My only problem with any of the words above is that I don’t get to choose one. They’re chosen for me, usually as a box to check. (Test skills comes in handy: it’s not which answer is correct, it’s which is the best answer of the choices given.) Or they’re put on me by someone looking at my picture.

If I’m the only brown face in a sea of white people, let’s just call a spade a spade and call me other. If there are a sprinkling of people feeling marginalized by the way they look, we’ll find each other and present a united front with whatever word suits.

These words all work for me, if I’m using them as bridges to connect with other people. None of these words work for me if they’re labels being PUT on me in order to constrain or limit me.

It’s not about the words, it’s about the way they’re being used.