|I don't really
like labels or niches or forced choice tests of any kind. Although by the
fact of my writing this column where it appears, I've placed myself into a
category, and you've done the same by coming here, either as a coconspirator
or as a critic. But I don't really like labels. I'm more than the term
'lesbian' implies, even to myself. I've chosen to use it, though, in order
to make a point to people who don't like the concept of choice, who don't
like the concept of diversity. I may look just like what the world thinks is
straight, but when someone is up in my face, I like the idea of smiling and
saying I'm a lesbian. I like making people rethink positions. What ought to
be a non-issue (loving who loves you back) has to be made into an issue for
so long that it becomes what it ought to be: a non-issue. Out of boredom
with the discourse, if not out of acceptance or logic.
I don't like labels because, obviously, human beings are complicated. What a
label says is that I have to be this one thing and not another, and it's a
very slavish way to think. And it seems to me that slaves and stereotypes
are similar in a couple of ways: many people wouldn't mind *having* one but
nobody wants to *be* one. It's so tempting to have stereotypes since
original thought is so time consuming, what with making a living for forty
hours a week, and then there is all that quality time with the kids you have
to come up with. People had rather come up with a stereotype, buy or rent
one, and not have to deal with new ideas. People will use any and all
opportunities to avoid thinking.
When I say I'm a lesbian, the hearer has to take me out of the box they had
me in and put me in another, both boxes ones they constructed out of their
own less than airtight material, but ones they think will confine me. That's
a function of the limits of human intelligence, or the limits of the ways we
use that intelligence. It's very left brained. Which means people who think
in stereotypes are thinking like halfwits, only using half a brain.
I realize that it's natural to think in stereotypes and labels because it's
so much quicker. And for millennia, it saved our lives. We didn't have time
to think about individuals. That particular tiger might be a sweet baby
kitty, but in general, experience said that all of them were likely to eat
yer ass. Better for the species not to be introduced for an extended
interview. Stereotypes become almost hardwired, knee jerk responses that
avoid things like syllogisms or long discourse. And they're required by
people who want to run their own lives only through running everybody
else's. Those folks don't want anybody to have such unruly things as
original thought. And they certainly don't want to allow for many other
people such unruly things as love.
If I can control who you love, can tell you who you can or can not marry, I
have you by the short hairs. If I can keep you from having an original
thought, I have you by the synapses. There's a lot of money in this idea. We
don't have a lot of reliable information on the history of human
entanglements given all the libraries worldwide that have been burned to the
ground for millennia, but it's pretty clear that within the last 5000 years,
having original thought is a really rare phenomenon. And marrying for love
is a relative recent permission. Even heterosexuals (damn that label) have
only been allowed to marry for love for the last hundred years or so.
Liaisons are historically designed and plotted for political or monetary
gain, or both. Love was either adjunct, tardy or superfluous.
Now up pops all these noisy, demonstrating gays and lesbians and we have the
audacity to say that love is paramount, and that it cuts across class, race,
politics, religion, economics and even gender. What a concept. Jesus would
be proud, you'd think, that any people could be so ecumenical in their
application of love. Or in their application of original thought, which
really is what love represents. There is no thought more original than love.
Think about it. Love is the antithesis of control. Sex is pure anarchy.
People who love without regard to class, race, politics or gender, if
carried to a logical conclusion, would eliminate labels, and then where
would we be? You can't have a war, you can't have control of other people,
without an enemy. And you can't have an enemy without labels. What have we
done? We're a dangerous bunch. No wonder we are such a threat to the