Originally published on August 6, 2012 on Pledge Your Voice.
I am… a women, young-adult, student, employee, manager, free-thinker, writer, blogger, entrepreneur, lover, sister, daughter, athlete, aunt, friend, androgynous, Hispanic, enemy, dancer, lover, ex-lover, gender queer, feminist, dyke, mixed race, no label, activist, mutt, lesbian, gay… but first and foremost, I am a human being.
The world has chosen to fit me with labels based upon first meetings, in passing hallways and minuted conversation while knowing me. While some get to know me better than others and some don’t at all, few labels seem to become clearer than others and take a stronger definition, while others fade out of light. Yet regardless of how true they may seem, they are words that are defined based upon definitions that cannot merely encompass fully what it means to be me. For how can a few simple words define what creates my life? They do not. I would hope one would see more than the twenty-some words that came to mind. Some of which I do not find flattering at all.
I would hope in a world with no labels one would see me as a creative, daring, human being. Also someone who is scared of facing struggle and has had troubles with finding their voice. Throughout those struggles I have gained experience that has shaped me into who I am becoming today. Someone who is a strong individual that uses their voice to empower oneself and others to strive for greatness.
Focusing on the queer community, I came out at a young age, still discovering who I was, there were few things I was sure of and more things I knew nothing of. Yet when I started to explore the gay community, it felt like a home for me. Letting Gay become one of the first labels I felt comfortable with. Yes, I say gay and not lesbian, for as I feel like in societies terms, where I hate to label anything, gay fits me best. Lesbian has a certain harsh, negative connotation on my tongue that I gained from a unpleasant coming out experience. Teenagers are rough, and feeling out who you are when you aren’t exactly sure of what you are is a hard experience. I ended up loosing many connections I have formed over the years by not letting people in and pushing them out for fear of what they would think of the labels I was questioning for myself. I wasn’t yet accepting of myself, so I questioned how anyone else could be with me. I spent my time angry and upset with letting a label define me and discourage me from being the confident, strong person I sought to be.
I let labels hurt me seven years ago, today I embrace the powerful ones and use them to better myself. While it may still be hard from time to time I embrace being a Gay women, who loves to dance daily to my head’s playlist. A goofy coffee drinker who is addicted to consuming Starbucks who finds the time to work full time and go to school full time. I am a female activist, who believes in woman’s rights and encouraging girls to find their voice and speak their mind. I seek to reshape the labels society gives us and not let them disempower the soul. I am a free spirit, who is an old soul and needs to remember I’m a young adult every now and then and just roll with life’s punches.
First and foremost, I am a Human. I am the Human Experience.
What is The Human Experience? It is the validity in your story and the story of 7,000,000,000 other people in this world. How do you put a label on being human? You don’t. You open your heart and listen.
This is the foundation of our queer publication, The Human Experience, which will cultivate stronger communities globally through dialogue and collaboration via discussion-based opinion pieces from our readers and in-person meetups, and we will give voice to our entire community by showcasing the creative folk and advocates who impact our culture and by covering global news with a focus on the marginalized communities within the queer spectrum.