Sexuality and identity: More than labels
By: Hong Jiang
Flicking through the pages of a magazine like Archer, it’s surprising to think that there was a time when sex was taboo.
Sex has since come to make up a large portion of our identity. Sex was once purely seen as something you did – an act, but now, sex has become who we are.
Today, we have an entire alphabetic spectrum to express sexuality, meaning that things can no longer be perceived as black or white – but in various shades. From lesbians to pansexuals, and autosexuals to zoosexuals; there’s no denying that sexuality is no longer represented by one rainbow flag, but by many individually identifying flags describing who we are.
But the question then is, why are we creating all these new labels? What’s the point in calling yourself gay, asexual or demisexual?
It’s because we want to find a way to express who we are. A message that is constantly perpetuated by society and the media is the idea that acceptance includes revealing who you really are, and standing out is how we fit in. But isn’t it because of these very facts, that the idea of a label is unsatisfactory?
We’re unique, and uniqueness can’t be categorised.
And sure, that’s not to deny that labels don’t say something. But what they say is only temporary. One’s identity is always constantly changing in the flux of time, but the labels themselves don’t. Labels are stagnant, yet we live and grow: we’re not human beings, we’re human becomings.
And maybe we were always more than these labels. Sexuality is only one piece of the intricate puzzle that makes up your identity. There are so many other pieces that make up who you are: your worldview, values, beliefs, rationality, culture and relationships. You’re not who you are because of your sexual inclinations, you have your sexual inclinations because of who you are.
And I wonder if making all these separations and generating more and more labels will actually let us express the infinite specificities you can have in just being human. You might as well have a category and label it with your own name. Because in the end, all that’s left to say is: I’m Hong, and I have Hong sexuality.
Hong Jiang is a uni student studying media and communications. In her spare time she enjoys chatting about philosophy, drinking bubble tea and watching Adventure Time.