I am going to label myself. I am a gay atheist. Yes, it is a label. I like having this label. And I do not mind if others have labels. I actually want to see those labels. What would happen if we didn't have them? And yet many refuse to accept them or want them.

I want to know if people are of the same ilk as myself. Personally, I don't want to be groping around in a dark room, full of people without labels, in fear that I would grab something that I did not want to grab or grope. There really is nothing wrong with having a label.

I would much rather be warned ahead of time, of someone's label to better prepare myself for the meeting, or whatever it is that we might be doing to have such an encounter. Would you rather know nothing about someone that you might not like or know a little about them, with their label so you know what to expect.

Yes, I suppose you can pre-judge with these labels, but I still believe they are necessary. Just think of all the places you use labels. Are you M or F ? A label. Gay or Strait? A label? Religious or Atheist? Labels. 

I want to know if my future mate is compatible with me and that means he needs to be labeled as well. Without getting too graphic, I can only imagine being set up on a blind date..without that label on the date and knowing nothing about them. 

I am a Gay Atheist. I like my label.

Views: 261

Comment by Davis Goodman on July 24, 2014 at 8:09pm

No ... I'm pointing out your utter lack of dating experience in the gay world. You had a gay friend who talked about their experiences in theme bars? You must be an expert then like you seem to be about everything. I certainly have a lot more experience than you do in any case. And your whole leather-bears equating to wanting rough sex proves my point entirely. It's a useless stereotype. A man in a bear bar will likely be disappointed if they're looking for rough sex. A twink not wanting to meet a bear? You clearly know little about the subject. An effeminate avoiding certain bars? Why would they? Stereotype.

A guy goes to whatever bar they enjoy being in or where their friends insist on going. A guy hangs out with other guys they like being with. A gay man has sex with guys they find attractive and or interesting. These labels have little to do with it. These labels are just characters and personas played out in specific theme bars and in movies. Tops don't necesarily look for or want bottoms. Hairy fat gay men do not necesarily see themselves as bears (nor want to be considered one). Macho guys in a jock bar often turn out to be faggy in every day life. A queen who dances all night in a kilt often wants nothing to do with that world in their daily lives. The relationships that forms have little to do with the places where they met or the "labels" that follow them. Their personalities change overnight. So while these labels may be interesting for a night of fantasy in specific parties ... they will often disappoint and become useless in the long term picture of relationships and even friendships. Of course there are some who fit the label well and thrive off of it. Good for them. It is not the norm.

I never said these labels were imposed from the outside. They were created by a small group of gay men with extreme tastes and/or fetishes whose personality became a prototype stock-character that some (and only some) others adopted and identify with. These labels are extremely limiting for most guys, washing out the varied personality traits and characteristics of people who might somewhat gravitate to one of these labels. These theme bars and theme parties are a small percentage of the night-life and scene.

For advice to a young man coming out and starting to meet guys Quincy ... avoid these labels as much as possible. Have fun, meet people, don't only hang out with gay guys, go to tons of different bars and parties (or avoid the scene entirely if you don't like it), avoid these stereotypes, have fun, test your limits, learn your limits, have fun, be very safe and always try to be yourself. And have fun. If these labels really work for you ... great. If they don't (and they probably won't) don't be afraid to cast them aside. A lot of guys do. And have fun. And fuck anyone who every tries to put you down or get in your way.

Comment by Unseen on July 24, 2014 at 8:56pm

If the labels were useless, they would have disappeared. A guy who doesn't want to end up at a leather queen bar might appreciate knowing that a certain bar attracts that type. That probably would be especially true for the gay you describe who isn't into theme bars. 

My gay roommate was that more generalized sort of gay, yet he used terms like "sissy" or "bear" to describe other gays or gay activities. So, he found such labels useful. 

If labels are "limiting," that may in fact be their value and why they continue to be used.

Comment by James Cox on July 24, 2014 at 9:03pm

I expect that they 'appear' to have utility for the purpose of control or marginalization of others, so labeled. It confines the labor pool, helps to define 'in' and 'out' groups, and might be used to 'justify' violence.  

Comment by Unseen on July 24, 2014 at 9:44pm

I expect that they 'appear' to have utility for the purpose of control or marginalization of others, so labeled. It confines the labor pool, helps to define 'in' and 'out' groups, and might be used to 'justify' violence.  

I'm having a problem relating this comment to the gays community. For one thing, is there violence going on between these sub-groups? Leather queens beating up drag queens, for example?

Comment by bongani muthwa on July 25, 2014 at 6:24am

Reg, always appreciated, though I did not pose the question, I have picked up a lot of useful information.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on July 25, 2014 at 5:34pm

Labels are just linguistic symbols.  When I think of I think of Alan Alda, I don't start thinking, "White, tall, American actor," but those might be the words I used to describe him (linguistic transfer of concept) to another person.  Removing labels does nothing more than limit communication - and perhaps some hateful communication should be curtailed, but that is another discussion.

Comment by Unseen on July 25, 2014 at 6:25pm

That was my point. that it is with labels (=concepts, =stereotypes) that we think about things. We think of them in terms of how we can describe them.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on July 25, 2014 at 6:40pm

Except when I think of Alan Alda, I do not think in labels.  The first thing that comes to mind is the sound of his voice - same thing for Hitchens, actually.  The next thing that comes to mind is the passion with which he argued for 'the right cause' when playing Hawkeye Pierce.  These things aren't very useful, however, when his name has slipped my mind and I'm talking to someone who hasn't seen MASH.  That is when I reduce him to 'tall, white, American actor' first, then go into other details afterward.

Comment by Davis Goodman on July 29, 2014 at 2:24am

A group of psychologists invented an inventory of six different kinds of personalities. It was done especially to categorise worker bees in the office as to how they work and get along with staff members. These labels are still used after several decades. People are often tested by HR departments to see what kind of personality they have and if they are the right kind of personality and get the job ... the label often follows the employee throughout their career even when they change roles, evolve or move to a different company. They are:

Doer. Thinker. Creator. Helper. Persuader. Organizer.

Which one are you?

Comment by Erock68la on July 29, 2014 at 9:28am

@Davis Goodman

It kinda reminds me of horoscopes and the zodiac, as if there are only 12 types of people in the world, as if what month you're born in has more to do with personality development than genetics or environment.  But I'm sagittarius so I'm naturally skeptical.

I suppose it's a natural human tendency to want to place things in nice neat little boxes so that we don't have to think too deeply about them.  I suppose there's some benefit to that; you can't wake up and re-invent the wheel every morning.  But it's not very helpful when trying to categorize people.

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