I almost agree. Sometimes, though, it’s important to let people know what is out there. I remember for instance seeing people trying to be inclusive quoting how the one perversion is chastity. They evidently didn’t know ace was a thing. Hopefully knowing about the label would prevent that kind of mistake.
More importantly, it gives people some options for finding themselves. I can remember someone telling me about the different “types” of gay people out there, and wondering to myself that anyone would be so eager to be put in boxes, and then realizing he was excited about them because he never used to have any.
I have a very common gender identity and orientation. Figuring myself out in those respects was simple, so labels weren’t necessary, and it’s easy to see how they were mostly placing limits…men should be like this and that kind of garbage. But there are others who see the pieces they are given and have no idea what to make of them. In that case, finding off-the-shelf answers like “trans” or “ace” or “pan” can be a huge benefit in giving them at least a place to start.
The problem of course is when taxonomy becomes limiting, when people forget that there are always exceptions and the exceptions are ok, which happens a lot. Representation would be much better, to simply have role models for people to identify with. But that’s I think still a long time away, and to some extent the categories could help us make sure it doesn’t miss too many people.
Those are my thoughts, anyway, to be taken with a lot of salt as someone who knows he has less personal stake in this than a lot of people.
The paradox is that taxonomy is always limiting. Categories are models by which we strive to understand the world. And models always omit or elide information to facilitate understanding – otherwise the models would not actually aid understanding (consider: a map that was the same size as the place it was mapping would manifestly not be useful for navigation).
So any category must leave out some of the granularity present in reality. This means that there will always be something (or someone) who doesn’t cleanly fit into the categories as-defined. Then you’ve got two choices: force the poorly-fitting element into one of the existing categories (introducing additional falsehood into the categorization, and also can be quite uncomfortable if you’re the element being forced), or update the category scheme to make space for the element that needs fitting (moving the categorization incrementally closer to “each thing in its own category”, and making it a worse model for understanding reality).
If you are using category as a tool, you will always eventually face this dilemma. And there’s no easy solution. The best we can do is find a level of granularity to the category scheme that maximizes utility while minimizing the falsehood/discomfort in forcing a fit. (And before someone suggests the possiblity of an “other” category, this both scores low on the utility metric and is ipso facto othering (and potentially harmful or uncomfortable) for the elements that get so categorized.)
Taxonomy as identifying mutually exclusive sets to put things in is always limiting. Taxonomy as identifying some common modal points in a spectrum with the understanding that not everything will or should conform to them doesn’t have to be…and like I said I think helps people by giving them a starting point.
(Anyone who has already read my cloud model of sexuality can skip this one)
My theory is that human sexual identity and attraction is an amorphous cloud which seeks to assume the shape of it’s container. Whether you assume 2, 22 or 222 boxes to contain said cloud, you will always have the same outcome. There will be those who fit quite comfortably in their assigned box, those who just barely squeeze in and are never comfortable there, and those who are nowhere near fitting in and are left out in the cold. The only true answer is to do away with the boxes and accept that there are no dualities, and everything is a fairly smooth continuum. It is a very different model than most of us grew up with, but I am of the opinion that it is closer to reality. That said, it is a model, and suffers from the same map shortcomings you pointed out above. Just a better model than the strict straight-gay, male-female, cis-trans dualities that we are seemingly always taught to think in.
Not to get too in the weeds with theory of information, but there’s a case to be made that all taxonomy is fundamentally limiting: at the very least defining a taxonomic identifier X implies that some things are X and others are NOT-X. There are plenty of ways to patch it for edge cases and the like, but by necessity (since it’s a model) some information is lost.
But yes, taxonomy, category, and other sorts of models are absolutely necessary for making sense of the world! It’s just important to explicitly recognize their inherent shortcomings. As George E. P. Box said (and I’m sure I’ve quoted this many times on BBS): “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”
Bisexual doesn’t necessarily exclude trans or enby people.
The most common and inclusive definition I see (and use myself) is attraction to my own gender as well as other genders.
Technically pan fits into bi, and bi fits into pan.
There’s a meme in bi subreddits that goes around fairly often, that basically shows bi/pan/multi/omni in and has Hannibal Buress saying “while many of these identites overlap, some people choose to use them in distinct and specific ways. And that’s okay”
I find there’s a nonzero amount of merit to the idea that this “infighting” amongst LGBTQ+ groups is the work of agents provocateur whose mission is to weaken the entire community or at least keep it busy to prevent it from engaging in any outward activism. It’s exactly the kind of ugly bullshit hate groups would engage in (and have).
The difference is that we would mostly get along if we were left alone. The agent provocateur argument could be dismissed as conspiracy theory paranoia, if we didn’t have leaked private discussions of 4/8 chan and TER organisations talking about how to do this to us.
Divide and rule is an old game, one that is best not played by those who are to be divided.
While I understand the thought, I cannot accept that. Within my memory we went from Matthew Shepherd to an openly gay man running for president. Things have moved agonizingly slowly, but they have moved. We need to assure they continue to move.
It just feels like a group of humans who have been persecuted and denigrated for centuries finally make strides towards acceptance from the people who have done them wrong all these years and some of them then celebrate their acceptance (yes, I know it’s not TOTAL acceptance) by turning on each other, thereby becoming the very thing they had been oppressed by themselves.
But you’re right, we all need to push things forward as best we can. But Jeeesus…