Why microlabelling is harmful

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to yet another lockdown, and with cases continuing to rise the long wait to our once normal lives endure. Being stuck at home for many hours on end has caused many people to become more anxious and makes it difficult to conceal many of our intrusive thoughts. The topic of sexuality is very common among teenagers and young adults alike and especially during these times it can be common to question it.  There are many different sexualities as sexuality can be very fluid and easily changeable. Trying to discover one’s sexuality can lead to a lot of questioning and self doubt. Although questioning your sexuality is quite normal and common, there can be a downside to getting too obsessed with it. One harmful trait of trying to discover your sexuality which many experience includes micro labeling. 

Micro Labeling can be harmful for many reasons both for the person and for the LGBT+ community itself. Because of societal pressure, people feel the need to categorize themselves into a certain label or sexuality. As there are so many different types of attraction including romantic, sexual, sensual, platonic and even aesthetic, this may make the person feel like their emotions are invalid or confusing. All of these different attractions may make up a different part of a person’s sexuality, which is what may lead to micro labeling. A person may be unsure if they have romantic or sexual tendencies towards a specific gender and may even mistake these attractions with platonic or aesthetic which is basically wanting to be their friend or finding them pretty. 

There are ways where micro-labeling can be harmful towards the LGBT+ community especially towards bisexual people. People sometimes label themselves as biromantic heterosexuals as I once did, which could potentially be offensive towards bisexual people as it can be seen as bisexual erasure. If people label themselves as bi, and then only proceed to date people of the opposite sex, it can be hurtful for those who are actually bi and makes them feel as if their sexuality as a whole is invalid and somewhat dehumanizes their experiences.

Micro Labeling tends to force the person into a certain stereotype or box and just stick to it. This often makes people very confused and upset as they don’t know if that is what they specifically want to be or if their feelings are even valid. Forcing someone to label themselves may lead to an identity crisis and be very difficult to cope with as nothing seems to be the right fit for them. 

It is important to note that people should not have to label themselves if they are not ready or comfortable with it. It is perfectly okay to be confused about one’s sexuality and not need to properly place their feelings with a specific category as all of these attractions and feelings are valid.