A Whole Lot of Labels by Stella Turowsky-Ganci

A Whole Lot of Labels
by Teen Advisory Board Member
Stella Turowsky-Ganci

I have a long history with labels. I have two moms, they are lesbians. This fact is something that has never seemed weird to me, but did seem weird- or at least not what one would expect- to many of my peers in elementary school. I was always peppered with questions that my still-developing brain tried my best to answer, “no she isn’t my stepmom,” things like that, but there was one question that always hit me hard. This question was, “will you be a lesbian too because your moms are?”

I remember being asked this on many occasions, but one that I remember very vividly was during one of my elementary school birthdays. A couple of my friends and I were sitting on my trampoline, talking about what kind of boys we liked, and one of my friends turned to me and asked me if I liked girls, because my parents do. I was probably 9, and I knew that I had had crushes on boys, so I said a confident “no”, and that was that. After that, I stood by that answer. 

I didn’t come to terms with my non-straightness until later. This was after almost calling myself bisexual once, but seeing a joke about the whole “Mike Pence Summer Camp” thing and getting scared…I now understand that I may have taken my generation’s very interesting sense of humor a little too seriously back then. Now don’t get me wrong, it was never because I didn’t want to be a member of the LGBTQIAP+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual) community, to be honest, I was pretty disappointed in the fact that I was wasn’t (or, I thought I wasn’t). 

Even now, I loosely identify as bisexual, but still worry about whether I’m actually pansexual? Or a lesbian in denial? Or straight and just looking for attention? There is an infinite amount of “what if’s” that I worry about, and that’s okay. 

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Labeling yourself can create a lot of stress, and that’s why I like words like “queer.” Daniel Howell (one of my idols and long-time comfort YouTuber) said in his coming out video: 

This is why I personally love the word queer. I understand that some people don’t as it is a slur but as someone that’s been the target of it several times throughout my life I’m up for some reclamation. It’s like recycling. The definition makes sense because until society is equal with all sexual and gender identifies, it is literally strange from a conventional viewpoint, plus it’s better than a super long acronym, it’s inclusive of everyone and therefore great for formless blobs. There we go, an identity I feel comfortable with. A highly-strung, depressed queer praying for a giant meteor to hurry up and finally eradicate humanity.” 

Labels can also be very validating, and feeling comfortable in your label is an amazing feeling; I feel that it is important to understand that they are not always set in stone. It’s okay to change because we are all changing all the time. I have friends who have come out multiple times because they evolved and realized that the label they once felt comfortable in is maybe not the one for them, and that is 100% valid. Do you know what is also 100% valid? NOT HAVING A LABLE AT ALL! Labeling yourself is for you, not for anyone else. 

I hope that something about my everlasting quest through the caverns of sexual identification resonated with you, and if you are currently struggling with anything relating to this, I hope you know that whatever you are feeling is perfectly…well…perfect. 

About the Author

hi my name is Stella, and why i’m rhyming i couldn’t tell ya. i like kpop and true-crime, also anime, i’m freshman is high school, and swimming is the sport i play. i vocalize my beliefs, on my wall a rainbow flag, and honestly i have to say these rhymes were pretty swag.


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