Remember how we talked about how labelling people might be a bad idea?
Why do we label people, to begin with?
Well, I will try to encapsulate my experience as a therapist and as an individual here and tell you what some of the fuss is about.
As people, we love to have a predictable and controllable world around us. That is basically our ego which wants to know what to expect from others and avoid any possibility of trauma, heartbreak or pain – especially since it is so vulnerable. One way that it might go about doing that will be the infamous imposter syndrome. The ego will be basically inflated while underneath the surface something totally different might be there.
So we might be labelling others or doing this to ourselves internalising oppression just as the relevant blog post demonstrated.
So what are typical stereotypes that will come across the path of a gay man or a gay woman?
Well, as a gay man one might come across all kind of different stereotypes. One common misunderstanding is that all gay men are promiscuous or have a good taste in clothes. Or you might have heard that “gay men are the most handsome guys there are out there”. Or lesbians are aggressive and angry or ambitious and successful.
It is easy to fall into the trap of positive or negative stereotyping and miss the mark that stereotyping is not the way to make contact with someone. And why is that? Well, mainly because you miss the other person altogether. There is a generalisation going on there and as such, it is obviously not accurate. Gay men and women come in all types, sizes and personalities just as straight men, trans men, trans women, bi men, lesbians, straight women etc.
We basically need the categorisation of sex and gender to avoid feeling confused and overwhelmed by choice – but sometimes this categorisation brings much oppression when one feels that they have to conform to certain standards of behaviour.
So what is the main message here?
What I am trying to say in a nutshell is this:
Being gay, straight, bi or asexual is not about anything else other than that. Anything that starts with “All gays are…” or anything like that is just a huge disrespect to another human being as we are trying to fit someone into a preconceived idea.
I came across the following video which I think explains it pretty well…
So what do you think? What are some stereotypes you have faced while you were “trying” to be you?