No More Labels | Teen Ink

No More Labels

March 30, 2016
By thisisnotzedd BRONZE, Dutch Harbor, Alaska
thisisnotzedd BRONZE, Dutch Harbor, Alaska
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection. I’ve known what love is since I was a child, but as I got older I’ve seen so much pain in our world due to others treating each other so poorly.  The definition never says anything about who you should love. It ties in with passion and respect for one another, not with gender, race, sexuality, religion, etc. Everyone should be able feel that strong passion and give others that distinctive sensation. Love has no labels and we’re are all human, but why are we treating others like they’re not?

While some believe that many Americans are being treated equally and fairly, and definitely want to be treated with respect, countless others still report feeling discriminated against. It’s because we are unintentionally discriminating against them, like referring someone that they are their gay friend instead of their friend. What we need to do is educate others on biases and become more aware, so we can make a better society where there are no labels.  There are multiple ways you can stop criticizing others and stop biases. Ways to stop bias is to start off with at home, school, work, or other places that could also benefit. In your house and amongst your family members (everyone is different, so be careful of what you say) you might want to discuss actively and describe what’s happening with what you want to talk about. In your school, you can start class room discussions and teach tolerance. If you can teach other about biases, you can lower that percentage of people being treated unfairly, which will definitely benefit our society.

If I asked you what LGBTQIA+ is, would you be able to answer? Do you know the meaning of each acronym? I bet you know LGBT, but a lot of people have no idea about the rest of the queer (a positive umbrella term that includes all kinds of sexualities and gender) community. If you don’t know who or what that community is, it stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual. Some might believe that these are all made up, but it’s a way to include all of those who don’t fit the heterosexual cisgender (self-expressing the gender you are born with) person. "There’s a very different generation of people coming of age, with completely different conceptions of gender and sexuality,” said Jack Halberstam (formerly Judith), a transgender professor at the University of Southern California and the author, most recently, of “Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal.”

It’s true that people believe that loving the same sex is a completely idiotic and according to some that are highly religious, a “sin.” I don’t really think of it as terrible or dishonorable, but as a way of fighting the norm and being with those that you should truly love. Many family members aren’t supportive towards their kids who decide they’re gay or trans. On December 28th, 2014, a transgender teen, Leelah Alcorn committed suicide for not gaining support from her parents. Her death made transgender identity and suicide cases a massive topic, ‘"We grieve and mourn the loss, but this is for those still here. We need to show those still here before they end up in the news, before they become hashtags and memes ... Trans youth need to know that their lives matter while they're still living them," Wright said.”

Race has also been an ongoing concern in the U.S. I’m proud to see that we’ve grown so much from the past, but there are still a lot of problems. Throughout my life, I’ve heard a lot of people say to me “You’re not Asian. Are you sure?” or “You’re too pale and your eyes are too big to be Asian.” More people should realize that not all Asians, Mexicans, or African Americans look all the same, so you shouldn’t judge them by their appearance. This also ties in with stereotyping, like how Asians are considered geniuses or African Americans are presumably thugs. People everywhere should be able to get to know whomever they meet, instead of assuming that they’re a good or bad person. We all should be able to live free from refereeing others as a certain race, or stereotyping others because it’s how the media often portrays them.

This also ties in with disabilities. Some disabilities are more visible than others, but that doesn’t mean you should point it out. You have the ability to treat someone with respect, no matter what happened, because that’s none of your business. It may take some time to be kind and learn how they are, but that’s better than assuming that they’re “stupid” or avoiding them because they look or act different. This also relates to refraining from ableist slurs as an insult, like telling someone they’re retarded. You also shouldn’t say anything like “oh you’re so anorexic” or “stop being so bipolar” because it shows you’re degrading a mental illnesses by referring to it as an insult. There are times you can’t tell if someone is hurting, so please be careful with what you say around them.

Another topic is religion. It’s been around for so many years, but why are we treating other religions like they’re dangerous? “Americans are more than twice as likely to express prejudice against Muslims as they are against Christians, Jews or Buddhists, a new survey found. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they have little or no knowledge of Islam. Still, a majority dislike the faith.” There are people that believe that all Muslims are terrorist, but that’s like saying all the Jews are unworthy and the ones who started WWII. We should all be able to believe what we want to believe, without being called out for it and without getting accused for being something else.
Everyone faces discrimination at some point, whether you’re male, female, homosexual, heterosexual, religious, non-religious, etc., there will be times you face inequality—some facing it more than others. What we can do as a society is stop labeling and judging one another. We’re all human, I think it’s time to treat everyone that way. You don’t need to refer someone as “the gay guy in high school” or “that one Buddhist teacher.” Show some respect. Refer someone as their name, not with what they are. Try to get to know someone and understand their point of view. There was so much hate in the past and as our world grows, we are continously maturing together. Let’s continue that by taking down the labels and start loving one another.

The author's comments:

I want to be able to help those in need. I was really inspired to write this piece because I wanted to stand up for those who are too afraid or don't have a voice. I want to show how small, unnoticeable things can grow into something huge and powerful and important. I hope people understand that everyone is different, but that doesn't mean you should treat them differently.

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Damian said...
on Jan. 2 2017 at 7:04 pm
Beautiful work.
A nice non extremist view of equality.