CSUSB’s “shopping for labels”

By Kara Dement

Staff Writer

Our generation these days tends to love attaching labels to any and everything we possibly can. It’s in our nature.

Whether you’re straight, gay, bisexual, white, black or Hispanic, labels are something that we deal with each and every day of our lives.

However, labels affect all of us in one way or another and can be hurtful at times.

Last Wednesday Feb. 23, 2011 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. the Pride Center in the Santos Manuel Student Union (SMSU) put on an event called “Shopping for Labels.”

The event focused on types of labels that homosexuals are faced with in their everyday lives and how those labels affect them.

I’ve always been aware that there were labels amongst the gay community, but I never really knew to what extent these labels were used or how many there actually were. Not only that but also how they affected them and how labels influenced their views on themselves and others.

Labels are inevitable.

Everybody labels one another but it’s a totally different thing when the negative labels are aimed at others, especially in the gay community.

During the event it was mentioned that when people on the outside, meaning people who aren’t gay, use a label it hurts more than when somebody on the inside uses a label because they’re both coming from a similar place.

Even though people on the inside use labels with each other, some take offense because they don’t want to be falsely labeled, or labeled in general.

The term LGBT, an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, was used frequently throughout the event.

It is a label that brings people together whose sexual orientation is different from the heterosexual community.

During the discussion on LGBT several people thought that the term should be “ditched” because it’s not all-inclusive enough.

Whether or not labels are accepted in the gay community was another issue discussed.

Many felt that some were acceptable while others were not.

For instance, when going to gay clubs some felt that they were segregated within their own gay community.

Certain nights would be for only certain labels, like “Latin gay night.”

Places that should make you feel welcome and comfortable in your own skin weren’t doing that at all for the gay community, but instead were reinforcing the labels upon one another according to most of the persons at the center.

“We put events on like this because we want other gays to know that they have a voice and this is a place where they can ask questions and get answers in a comfortable environment,” said student Deejay Brown.

Hearing everybody’s perspective on labels in the event was eye-opening for me. I didn’t realize all the many labels that were used towards the gay community and the event brought my attention to it.

These events are put on by the SMSU’s Pride Center for one reason, to raise awareness for every student on our campus.

Labels

Crystal Cuyan | Chronicle Photo

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