Through Labels We Exist

I often see people complain about the human need to categorize and thus, label people.  It is often surrounded by people decrying how they do not see race, gender, sexuality, or any other labels. These people proclaim that they only see people, and do not see the labels that describe people.  Think of this thought exercise, it is a simple one, try to describe someone you know, anyone you know, without labels. Can you do it? I bet you cannot or, if you could, you forgot that words like nice, silly, goofy, annoying, spiteful, loud, and so on, are labels. In fact, another word for labels would be adjectives, words we use to describe a noun, like a person.  By removing labels, we effectively erase humans as the diverse and amazing animals we are. By removing labels, we silence ourselves, our histories, our experiences, and most importantly, what makes us, well, us. Without labels, we cannot exist, not in a world that honors people for their humanity anyway.

Removing labels is not only impossible, but dangerous and harmful. As mentioned, we would have to effectively remove adjectives from our vocabulary, or, never apply them to people. If we only applied them to non-human animals or objects, why should they be afforded language that shows how wonderfully diverse they are, but humans are not? To deny labels is to deny diversity. It is to deny human experience. In fact, to remove labels is vastly anti-human in a way. It removes the very things that make up each unique (another label) individual. In fact, I cannot hold a conversation about labels without using labels. They are not only ingrained into our language, but help define it. In fact, studying how other people use language and labels in other languages helps broaden our own sensory perceptions. Understanding how other people see color and define color allows us to broaden our ability to see colors and understand them.

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The ‘Innocence’ of Jokes

People try to pass jokes off as innocent, no matter the intent. Comedians seem to get a free pass to joke about whatever content they want without thinking about how the joke may further enable a certain set of ideas or behaviors. Jokes, and thus comedians, are not free from criticism for perpetuating and using these types of jokes either. Jokes, like all language, play a part in making certain oppressive parts of life remain ok and even funny.

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Do Not Use

TW: Transmisogynistic slurs.

I got a newsflash for you.  If you are not a trans woman, the word tr*nny is not yours. I can hear the whining now. But, tr*nny has been used against me! It’s a slur against all trans* people! Let me break it down for you. The simple answer is so? Doesn’t matter. Straight people call each other faggot all the time. I guess if a straight person gets called a fag, they can use and reclaim that word, huh? The answer is no, they can’t. The same goes for the word tr*nny.

I used to think the same way. I am a non-binary trans guy. People have called me a tr*nny (especially a trend tr*nny) numerous times. I was put in my place by some rather angry women when I argued for my use of the word. However, I have come to my senses. Just look at how the word is used. The most common and prominent usage is in porn; porn that features trans women. When people think of the word, they do not conjure all forms of trans* people. They conjure images of trans women, especially non-passing trans women.  The punch line of most tr*nny jokes? Trans women. Generally how they are really men, dudes in dresses, and not actually women (which we know is a bunch of bull).
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