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Labels We Bear...Do They Have Any Bearing?

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Self

We wear them, we share them, and we place them on each other...as if we have that right!

We’re just days away from knowing whether the Romnesia faithful or Obamacare followers win out. It also seems that once again it comes down to those “swing voters.” Kind of funny that in less than two sentences and 26 words, I’ve been able to dump all the American voters into three nice, tidy buckets. Of course, I could’ve just said “Voters will determine our next president in just a few days!” No labels, no segregating, no putting people into nicely categorized holding pens. And, what does this have to do with Your Tango readers?

Truth is, the majority of relationship issues that rare their ugly heads are because we put labels on one another. It seems we’re always just one breath away from cluttering up the communication landscape with some form of “boxing one another in” that leads to strife, grief, and more than likely going to bed without even a “good night.” Why? Because we just can’t let people be people. They have to have the proverbial label.  Case in point...

I’m gay, a man, a father, a partner, a ex-husband, a son, a brother, a uncle, a coach, a mentor, a board member, a teacher, a optimist, a doubter, a cyclist, a bear, a daddy, a writer, a radio show host, etc.

Truly, without some of these labels, people wouldn’t know me or get who I am. On the other hand, how much does it really matter what I am? As long as I treat people like people, love without boundaries, care from an humanitarian perspective, laugh to share pleasure, dance to feel free, and contemplate to make a difference, then, does it really matter that you know I’m gay?

In reality, I don’t know that it really matters if anyone knows if someone is gay, straight, bi-sexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, etc. Think about it. Even if it’s hard, just open your mind for just a few moments and let’s play with this concept and see what happens.

You’re walking down a dirt road. To make it interesting, let’s make it a dirt road in Turkey. You’re thirsty and the sun is beating down. There’s no danger that you will pass out from dehydration, but a cool drink of water does wet the appetite. In the near distance a human form appears. Unable to discern whether it is a man or a woman, you pause where you are, and let this unknown stranger make way in your direction. Step-by-step he/she gets closer. Unable to discern their gender from the clothing which adorns their frame, you remain in a state of curiosity and slight apprehension. Your thirst is now more pronounced and nudging your desire to engage the genderless individual in conversation to determine the closest possibility for whetting your whistle. Fifteen, ten, five feet from you. You catch yourself phrasing the question but then catch yourself. What pronoun fits? Sir, Madam? Stumbling over your thoughts and tongue you finally settle on “Excuse me. Might you guide me to the closet place to find a drink of water?” Silence reigns and then in a voice indiscernible of gender the stranger responds, “Around the corner you will find a fresh spring with the purest of water in the country.” Your question answered, you begin to move forward, but your innate curiosity has caught you in the throws of “Was it a man or a woman?” Yet, the reality is this, “Didn’t you get your most basic need met?” And, “Does it really matter the gender of the person who guided you to a place to quench your thirst?”

For whatever reasons, we humans have an innate need to be the consummate label makers, classifiers, and “put you in your place” organizers. It’s as if this is the only way to get through life, or is it. What if there were no labels and we began to just let people be people? There were no gay, straight, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, etc. We opened up the space for people to be free from any type of labels and simply just be human. Not saying it could work, just throwing it out there as an interesting way of taking all the combined energy we expend as a human race putting labels on one another, and wondering what would happen to that energy if it went somewhere else.

So what would you do if there were no lables?

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