Life beyond labels

November 10, 2020

Lonsbury moves confidently through her senior year now that she has shed the pressure to be defined by a label. (Photo courtesy of Haily Lonsbury)

The least talked about and generally the most controversial part of the LGBTQ+ community is those who decide that they do not need to label their sexuality and overall feelings. During Lonsbury’s time of self reflection, she looks back indifferently on her time of research for a sexual orientation she could identify with.  “I was confused,” she shares, “there were so many different options to choose from with the labels. When I decided on pansexual, I didn’t really feel comfortable because at the time, I didn’t realize that I didn’t even need a label.” 

Lonsbury finds that her lack of a label allows her to be happy and comfortable with who she is as a person. “With a label,” she explains, “I feel the need to map out the specifics of my sexuality when it’s not specific at all.” Most people who identify their sexual orientation without the use of labels feel as if their complex emotions could not be defined by one word and that they don’t need to be categorized in order to tell themselves how they feel or who they are as a person. “If I like someone, then I like them,” Lonsbury states confidently. 

Lonsbury has an ally in her decision to live life beyond definitions in her friend, senior Naomi Randall, who also identifies as pansexual. “I think labels are for people that want them,” she says. “No one is obligated to define themselves for the benefit of others; if it makes you happy, use labels, if it doesn’t, don’t. Anyone who tells you otherwise has no right to do so.” 

Both Lonsbury and Randall agree on the fact that labels can add convenience and make it easier to understand others, but for Lonsbury, it’s still worth it to abandon them for her own identity. “If someone thinks that everyone needs to have a label for their sexuality, they are being inconsiderate about that person’s feelings because you don’t know what may have happened that made them not want to have a label,” she imparts earnestly. “I’m happier since I’ve found other people that also don’t have labels. There haven’t been a lot . . . but the ones I do know are very supportive.” 

The lack of a label allows Lonsbury to be able to pick and choose which aspects of her sexual orientation she is willing to share, making her feel much more confident. “Now, I’m happy with my decision to not have a specific label and I feel comfortable with it. I don’t feel like I’m forcing myself to do something anymore,” she concludes thoughtfully.


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