For Out Magazine
Love the Label-less Way
By: Brittany Adams
Love, the one thing human’s strive to find to help complete their lives. A general issue that I see with today is that the desire for love is creating a culture of addicts who are addicted to the emotions that come with love, but as we all strive to find a person to help fill the void that our personal addiction leave us with we still fill need to label each other as straight, queer, or bi rather then in love.
Instead of being so concerned about the sexual label of other’s; people should simple be happy for the person who is in love with another living, breathing, blood flowing through the body human being. The label does nothing for anyone except allow them to decide if ones lifestyle is acceptable to the one who actually cares about said label.
There are two pieces of young adult literature that I find does a great job at at adding commentary to the idea of sexual labels and how they need to be let go in order to really appreciate the emotional state that comes with love. These books are Weetzie Bat written by Francesca Lia Block and Brooklyn Burning by Steve Brezenoff. These books were both written over twenty years apart, but they specifically deal with love in such label-less terms. These books send such a positive message that they answer the question on why, not in direct terms, but instead in a way of saying the why is not important, but that the love is what really matters.
In Weetzie bat the characters are gender specific and the reader is aware that Weetzie is a heterosexual female, while Dirk her best friend and one of the three fathers of her child is gay. But in the 1990’s people were absolutely concerned with the labels because of the AIDS epidemic. Though the labels were present in the book, but in the dynamic of the four main adult characters their personal labels did not matter. It was clear that they all equally loved each other and were all equally happy that they found love. It did not matter the one was gay the other straight what mattered in the book was the pure form of love. When Weetzie decides that she was ready for a baby her lover is not ready, but Dirk and his boyfriend Duck want to make a baby with her. They all three participate in the baby making act.
In the scene I want to hold your hand plays in the background. This song allows for commentary on the idea of being loved and loving is simple like holding a persons hand. It is about the simplest act of love not about the person another is loving. The creation of the baby is not done between a man and a women it’s done between a group of people who want a child and know that their sexual orientation does not change the kind of love that they plan on giving their baby. Three fathers and a mother seemed completely normal and like the best thing for the family of Weetzie Bat.
Brooklyn Burning, a book where the main characters lack a gender label. Is a great example of not caring about the label of sexuality or even gender for that point. As I read the book in the begging I was mentally begging Brezenoff to just let the gender and sexual label slip, but as I continued I found out that I loved the characters for the sheer fact that they had such an interesting and deep love story.
An example of the genderless, label less love story goes as follows, “I almost kissed you that night. I thought it could be our last night. We were sitting on the windowsill in Jonny’s apartment at his end-of- summer party- looking out into the heart of Green-point. I watched you purse your lips when you sipped your drink, and I thought, We could kiss.” As the reader I was completely sucked into the intimacy of the idea of them kissing. The lack of gender and sexual labels in this book make the love story seem more about the love then the actual people experiencing it. I stopped caring about the label and gave into the story. I have to tell you that I am was one of those people who complexly cared about the label, but with the help of Brooklyn Burning I was able to give that label up and love, love.
I truly feel that all the love addicts are slowly progressing to just wanting to find love in whom ever, but no matter how society may progress there will always be people who want to label others by their love so they can decide if they agree or don’t agree. But with Weetzie Bat and Brooklyn Burning act as aids to the progression of accepting love not based on gender terms or sexual orientation terms, the battle for love becomes stronger.
So when it comes to answer the question of Does a culture full of love addicts still feel a need to label one another by their sexual orientation? The answer is the addicts of love the people who make up the many couples of the world still feel the need to label one another. Many are not at the level of being able to look at one another and appreciate each and everyone’s own personal love story.
With that being said I do see progression of using love as the catalyst in stories rather then label of straight, queer, and bi. Weetzie Bat and Brooklyn Burning are stories in the current culture of today, the bring light to the world that is still into the labels of love. These books are extremely progressive when it comes to what the normal love story looks like and what the new normal love story should look like.