I think we are the first generation to have a real discourse and set of vocabulary to help us understand, come to terms with, and define our sexuality. No longer are we trying to fit ourselves into the three boxes of gay, straight or bisexual. Terms have evolved to define not only sexual gender attraction but also romantic attraction, for example there’s a difference between being asexual and aromantic; you may not be attracted to the idea of sex with any gender but that doesn’t stop the desire for a romantic relationship. In being able to really break down and categorise our sexuality not only can we understand ourselves but also all those who span across the wide spectrum that is love and sex and romance and relationships and all that lovely shit.
For me personally I began to learn about all these different terms and labels from Tumblr. For some reason this blogging website seems to have stimulated a conversation amongst young people and has created a safe and comfortable environment for people to discuss and explore these things. This is where I discovered the term pansexual, which I feel comes closest to how I would define myself, if asked. Pansexual means that you are both attracted to all genders and no particular gender, generally you’re more drawn to a person than a gender. As much as I loved discovering this term as I felt a real kinship to this label it wasn’t quite right, close but not all there. But it was also here I discovered all sorts of labels giving people of every gender and sexuality a simple way to let others know this is me, if you don’t know it or don’t get it look it up.
However I have yet to find the perfect definition for me – yes pan comes close, but it’s not quite right. I’ve been going for the wrong people for ages, knowing regardless of gender or sexuality that they were wrong. I still did it. Me knowing they weren’t appropriate or even that attractive to me didn’t stop me. Sometimes these labels can be constrictive. As incredible as the Tumblr discourse is, there’s also a danger that if you define yourself but then don’t fit so nicely in the definition people will call you out for misrepresenting or lying. The almost academic approach to sexuality seen here can detract from the fact that at the end of the day this is about people with attractions, who may want to fuck or flirt, or get married, or maybe find a spiritual connection. People – especially when it comes to sexuality and gender – are unpredictable and not so easy to define.
As someone who hasn’t found their label and fears they never will (mostly because I’m not even sure if I know what I want) I’m a little cautious of Generation Label. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to proudly define yourself please do! I know that these terms can give people so much validation and justification especially when you’re young and sexuality can seem so confusing, but remember – there’s no shame in being undefined. Love is a fucker and will always catch you out. So if you don’t know, leave your labels and just learn to love. Or don’t. Just do you.