Why I hate the “flexible” labels

Being queer is all about being flexible. (Photo credit: ba1969, sxc.hu)

Being queer is all about being flexible.
(Photo credit: ba1969, sxc.hu)

I have a love/hate relationship with the terms hetero- and homoflexible. As someone who believes that sexuality can be fluid and ever-changing, I love that the terms acknowledge that sexuality doesn’t have to be set in stone. However, there’s one thing that really bugs me about these terms. They seem to kind of reinforce the idea that if you identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual, you’re attracted to every man and/or woman you see.

People who identify as whatever-flexible are mostly either gay or straight, but are open to new experiences with other genders. And I think that’s great! But by using a word like “heteroflexible” rather than “bisexual” or “queer,” you imply that you need this new word because you’re somehow different from other queer people. And I don’t really see a difference, other than the suggestion that bi or pansexual individuals are attracted to everyone.

I personally identify as queer even though I’ve currently only experienced sexual and romantic attraction to men or people with penises. I can’t really picture myself dating a woman or someone with a vagina. But I know that gender and sexuality are beautiful, complicated things and I can’t say for sure that I’ll never fall for a woman or something. Plus, that cutie with the full beard who was born with a penis might not even identify as a man, as one may assume. “Queer” just captures all of that and leaves room for so much interpretation and opportunity for connection.

That being said, I don’t think people should abandon labels that help define who they’re attracted to. They’re definitely helpful, especially when it comes to dating. I know a few people who identify as androsexual, for example, because they’re attracted to masculinity. That can help save time for them, if someone who’s more feminine tries to pursue them. They can be all, “Honey no. You’re cute and all but I’m androsexual.”

But that’s the thing—“queer” is often used as an umbrella term, which covers all of those more micro-level identities. Because of this, more people are starting to refer to the LGBT community as the “queer community.” And that’s how it should be because we’re all queer. Whether you’re flexible, androsexual, asexual, bisexual, pansexual, we all know there’s more to sexuality than a man and a woman uniting in holy matrimony or whatever. And I would argue that everyone is queer in some way. It’s my goal to create a world where people feel free to explore their queerness—which I think is just human nature—without having to label it.

So until we get there, everyone should use whatever labels describe them best. But maybe think about embracing your queer side and exploring what that means, exactly.

What do you think of labels like “heteroflexible?” Do you think some people’s sexualities are set in stone or unchangeable, or do you think sexuality is fluid? Let us know in the comments below or in your own blog post!

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