Label: (transitive verb) To attach a label to. To identify or designate with a label; describe or classify.
Libel: (noun) A false publication, as in writing, print, signs, or pictures, that damages a person’s reputation. The act of presenting such material to the public.
I am dedicated to giving people the opportunity to see how labels and the idea of libel are almost the same when it comes to judging supposed orientations. Orientation, as used in this discussion, relates to personal choices (yes, I said choices) in sexuality, or with whom one is sexual. None of us have the right to decide who—outside ourselves—is gay, straight, or somewhere between.
When an individual takes the time to size up the appearance and character of another, giving him or her a label (i.e. gay), we are not only limiting him, but we are limiting ourselves. I know I cannot step inside the mind or heart of someone, and can only observe the gifts/talents of that person. How often, when you see a man, do you first decide if he is gay or straight? I am going to say that, at least more often than not, you make that decision. Why is that? If you see a man at the mall, getting fuel, or using the urinal next to you—is he a threat to you? Do you have vested interest in him? I would say no. Does that man’s orientation say something about yours?
I am not trying to make you think any negative thoughts, or feel negative emotional responses with my questions, but I do want you to question why labeling is so important. I also want to ask you to be willing to view a new perspective.
Part of the perspective, in my processing labels with libel, is that there is danger in verbalizing one’s opinion on another’s assumed orientation. If you assume the man you saw is gay, and you tell even one other person, you can be placing yourself in a libel situation. It is never up to you to tell others what labels should be put on another person. Have you ever been hurt when false information has been stated about you? Or if the information is true, do you agree that negative or implied negative statements could drastically alter your life?
I hate labels due to the fact that I have been denied the right to develop positive relationships with three wives, my own sons, as well as hundreds of other people. This is a very personal affront to me. Even if I had been gay, I should have been loved and accepted enough to be left to live my life, and make my own choices. This is not about asking you to feel sorry for me—but it is about asking you not to cause unnecessary pain and suffering to another person.
Do you not realize that the majority of men who are attracted to the same sex have enough to deal with, without the labels of others? Many feel the hate—or at the very least, the dislike and the discomfort—because of how they are viewed due to orientation issues. Having said that, it is my opinion that 80 to 90 percent of all men have had some level of same-sex attraction. This is regardless if they have actually been sexual with another male or not. Additionally, the numbers of young men that have had negative sexual experiences could be as high as 70 percent, according to statistics.
I may revisit this topic as things become clearer in my thought process. This topic itself has affected 99 percent of my life experiences. Think of it as a dented cake pan—every time one bakes a cake, that indentation will be apparent in every cake that results. To me, it is like a scarlet letter—every new or similar experience is tainted by that original label.