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 ;)