March 28, 2017
advice articles
Struggling with Labels

Struggling with Labels

Hi Will and RJ!

I just wanted to ask you about something I’ve been kind of struggling with for a while. I hear a lot of LGBT people say that they’ve been sure of their sexuality since they were really little, but I’ve just never been quite positive. I’m 18 now, and back when I was 15/16 I had a girlfriend for a year (I’m a girl) who I can honestly say I was in love with, like as a girlfriend and not as a friend or anything, but I haven’t found myself attracted to any girls in that way since we broke up. I haven’t had a boyfriend, but I’ve hooked up with guys and been attracted to them and everything. I hesitate to label myself as bi because, as I said, my previous girlfriend has still to this day been the only girl to whom I’ve been sexually attracted. But the fact that I was even sexually attracted to any girl should make me bi, right? I just don’t want to label myself as bi and then scare off any potential boyfriends because they think that I’m really a lesbian or something… It’s just hard because nobody thinks that bisexuality is legitimate and I don’t want to say that I’m bi and then later on take it back for whatever reason, which would only further people’s beliefs that bisexuality isn’t a real thing. I also really want to get involved in LGBT groups/organizations on campus in the fall when I go to college, and I just don’t know what to say if/when I’m asked about my sexuality there because I feel like anyone in those groups would already be sure of what they are…

Sorry that this was long! But thanks in advance for answering and thank you so much for everything you guys do, from your videos to the site and everything in between—you guys are absolutely incredible and an inspiration to me and so many others.

-Anonymous

Well, Anonymous (actually, I’m going to call you “Keisha”, because fuck it), I would like to start by saying that I can’t think of a single straight man on Earth who would cease to find a girl attractive just because she identifies as “bi”. Seriously, pretty much every straight man fantasizes about having a girlfriend who is also into girls. So if you just-so-happen to find the only guy who doesn’t find bisexuality attractive in a woman, I can imagine that it’s because of one of the following reasons: one, he’s a bigoted, hyper-conservative bastard and therefore not worth your time, or two, he’s not actually into girls to begin with.

That said, I can fully understand many of the difficulties of being labeled bisexual. It is annoying when people dismiss your identity as “not valid”, or say that you simply haven’t chosen a side yet. It’s especially frustrating when we get labeled as being slutty people who can’t make up their mind, or simply people who haven’t decided which team we want to play for. But part of the reason why a lot of people think these thoughts is because they haven’t come into contact with a legitimate bisexual before, and haven’t had anyone correct their erroneous beliefs. It’s sort of a vicious cycle, since bisexual people are often hesitant to be open because they don’t want to deal with stupidity. If this is your only hesitation with identifying as bi, then I highly encourage you to suck it up. Your struggle that you deal with now is very similar to the one that gays had to deal with years ago. Just like they don’t choose to be gay, you don’t choose to be bi. Not to mention that the situation is currently improving for gay people because more and more of them are living their life openly and showing how harmless they are. The same can be true for bisexuals if we follow suit.

Then again, this might not be your current situation. You might legitimately be concerned since you legitimately don’t know how you identify yourself. If that’s more your situation, then I encourage you to stop thinking about labels entirely. First off, there are only a few people in this world who are either 100% straight or 100% gay in every single situation whatsoever. Even people who identify as one of these two categories tend to have moments when they deviate from the path. Even Will, who is a “gold star gay” (he only touched a vagina once—when he came out of one) has admitted to there being a very short list of women that he’d actually consider sleeping with. Thus, it’s pretty safe to say that most people fall more towards the center of the sexuality spectrum. On top of that, labeling isn’t something you do for yourself. Picking a label is something that you do for other people. There’s no law that says that you have to choose a label for your sexual identity. Instead, I say that you let your heart and your libido guide you towards whatever and whomever you desire. Granted, there are a myriad of different sexual identities to label yourself as: gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, omnisexual…the possibilities seem almost endless. I’m sure that if and when you volunteer at an LGBT organization, you’ll hear all about these different labels. But before you start obsessing over which of these categories you belong to, realize that you’re putting the cart before the horse.

Take some time. Experiment. Find out exactly what revs your engine (actually, your engines: the one in your chest and the one in your pants). Then, once you feel comfortable that you’ve secured yourself in your sexual identity, then you can think about labeling yourself. Even then, there’s no rule that says that whatever you choose is permanent. People spend their entire lives discovering new things about themselves. So yeah, long story short: do what makes you happy—fuck what everyone else thinks. A lot of questions can be answered using that phrase. We should put it on a shirt or something…

-RJ

About RJ

RJ is a blogger/vlogger/writer and the other half of the NotAdamandSteve duo. When he's not making videos or writing stuff online he's usually working out, traveling, telling you factoids you never asked for, working out, or spending quality time with his new husband and German Shepherd.

3 comments

  1. That was amazing advise, Rj. I also have trouble with labels. I’m a girl, and have had crushes on girls all my life, but just now started liking a boy. And I’m scared that if I tell him I’m bi then he will label me as a lesbian. I don’t know what I am, and my label of me keeps changing. So, you are not alone in label confusion. Good luck. 🙂

  2. ☯Ashanti(troyler)☯

    so glad you made this post, RJ. this relates to me so much and the way you replied was incredible. thank you

  3. I feel like I just stepped out of a cave after a massive war to realize I’m not the only one alive >.< I'm currently falling for a guy for the first time EVER (I'm a girl.) & it's been driving me crazy all this labeling shit! Thank you so much to the person who asked for advice, you're not alone! Thank RJ!

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