Ben Leander Willgruber, MSc.
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Gay Men Love to be Labelled

Let’s be honest. We don’t live in the politically correct label-free world that is often proclaimed. No matter how many Absolut No Label vodkas hit the shelf, at the end of the day one is either straight or gay. Or bi. Or pan. Maybe trans. Non-binary anyone? We like to label ourselves to know that we are not the only ones who feel that way. We don’t wanna be the special snowflakes we’re told to be because that seems lonely.

I am no exception to this. In comparison to others I had it pretty easy because I realized early on that I was gay. Yes, there was a mystery bi-or-gay phase, but that’s it. And just like some label themselves as ‘nature-loving’ or ‘cat-persons’ gays do the same thing. But it doesn’t stop with hobbies and interests, gays have words for EVERYTHING. Imagine a sexual fetish, a body type or another kink. We do have a word for it. Let’s start by simply looking at the varieties of ways you can be a gay ‘bear’. In simple terms, bears are gay man who are chunky or muscular, have beards, body hair and a placid temper. So far, so good.

In short, this overview tells us that a chaser is a young guy with little hair who likes bears (someone might call them twinks), while an otter isn’t as big as a regular bear, a muscle bear is well-trained and a polar bear is usually older with white body hair. And if you’re larger than the average bear you might be called a chub. And if you’re Asian some might even call you a panda bear.
One way in which this system is used is to find compatible partners. If you log on Grindr (the gay and original Tinder) you can choose from a variety of labels for yourself and your prospective dates. So there’s a label for literally anyone.
Well, almost. I personally don’t fit quite in. I am not hairless enough to be a twink, not thin enough to be a chaser, not hairy enough to be an otter. I am at the desperate end of gay onomatology, without a label.
Well, I’m okay with that. I don’t sit in my room asking myself if there’s anyone like me out there. Because there is. Other gay men. I never understood why we have to find a label for every freckle we find on our body. Maybe it’s time to just date (or sleep) around and find what we like instead of looking for what we think is our type.

Well, I wish it were that easy. Let’s not forget we’re talking about the LGBTQ-community here.

Do you think labels are important? Do you use a specific label?
If you’re interested, here are two very interesting articles/opinions:

Do we need labels?
Discovering Sexuality



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