Thursday 15 October 2020


Labels are useful things, human things even, given our propensity to classify everything, including ourselves. It's good to be able to say “this is me”, and to have a place to stand, both alone and with others, all sorted out in your own mind – until you change it again.

Labels are annoying things too, oppressive things. In that they often carry baggage, a set of possible assumptions and interpretations which may not, very likely do not, apply. Yes, this is me. Yes, I am this. No, that does not mean that. The title on the cover reveals little about the whole book, not even, necessarily, what shelf to put it on.

So I can sort of understand people who say: “I'm not a label, I'm just me.” Intellectually, that is. Emotionally, I'm inclined to impose a label on them anyway: “Prat”.

Why am I thinking about labels again? Because of today's date. Over the years, I've adopted/adapted/discarded numerous labels but can't usually pinpoint when from. For example:

Transvestite — Going right back to teenage years in the 1970s. Almost quaintly old-fashioned now, but I have a nostalgic fondness for it.
Genderqueer — Some time in the 1990s. My favourite. I've never stopped using this one.
Trans — 1990s again. More of a political affiliation really, with the trans community, albeit while hanging about on the borders.
Femme — Probably 2006; exactly when I'm not sure. I do know where: by the window in the bar of the Chameleon Club, Nottingham.
Non-binary — I've gone back and forth on this since the 2010s. Maybe.
Sissy — 15th October 2019. For no obvious reason or purpose I made a note of the date.

And yet today is a year on from then. Which makes me a one-year-old sissy. I thought I should buy myself a card ;)