• Ben Pechey

The Great LGBTQIA+ Label Debate


Oh hello darling, and welcome back to Pride season on benpechey.com. Over the next weeks, I will bring you narratives that centre and focus on the LGBTQIA+ community. Today I want to look at the labels that are in play in the LGBTQIA+ landscape.


I have a real love-hate relationship with labels, which seems silly to say, but here we are. This is a conversation I have with myself all the time. I do see their need. On a personal level, finding the words and language to help me describe my own gender identity have been very affirming. This structure provided me with a framework - which I could use to explain who I am as a person. So labels for individual use are very very important.



The last twelve months has seen me take on far more diversity and inclusivity work with major brands. Having delivered keynote speeches, sat on countless panels, been a guest speaker and delivered training, I have been made painfully aware of how much the intersectionality of myself is measured as a primary requirement.


The letters I exist within the LGBTQIA+ acronym are used to book me, and sometimes make me feel like my talents come as a secondary element in this equation. Labels have a very cold feeling, they remove the personality and the human element in these interactions.



In the wider space of our community, I worry if the search to be as intersectional as possible, we have forgotten to treat marginalised people as people? This kind of human categorisation has featured in some of the darkest parts of human history. I worry that this is not a good way to support communities.


Labels, as I have discussed, are helpful for individuals to be self-affirming. They also allow people with similar identities to seek each other out, creating validating and affirming representation. Yet for this to be then used by people outside of the community feels a bit off to me.


I am not sure if I even have an answer. It makes me uncomfortable that sometimes I know I have got a job because of my intersections, and labels. Yet with that opportunity, comes a chance to make changes from within. I challenge the way people think, to show them how they can be more accountable in the discussions they make when it comes to assigning roles to community members.


It seems that labels are going to continue to be a contentious issue, and that is perhaps a reason to continue discussing them, and reassessing how we feel the whole community is viewed and treated! We all must keep this conversation going, as part of the wider discourse for more inclusion and genuine representation.


Thank you so much for joining me, as always, I love you lots like jelly tots, until next time, uh buh bye.


Shot by Rachel Pechey