Recently, I have been thinking a lot about identity labels. More specifically, I've been thinking about whether identity labels help or hurt us. In today's post, I will look at the ways that identity labels support us and, at times, the ways they might hinder us.
The Life: LGBT
There are a lot of new words and concepts out there to describe one's gender identity or sexual orientation, and one of them is bigender. As our community continues to expand and evolve, we develop new language to describe our experiences and identities. You might not have heard of the term bigender before, and trust me, even as a queer person, it can be hard for me to keep up with all the identity words. Today, I want to talk about what bigender means. As a bigender person, I hope you find this helpful.
It's time for me to say goodbye to "The Life: LGBT Mental Health" here at HealthyPlace. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to share my mental health experiences with everyone. I've learned a lot as a mental health blogger. Most of all, I've learned more about myself and my identity.
Sometimes, you have to leave a queer relationship. All breakups are hard, no matter how you look at it. I have found my queer breakups to be particularly challenging, however. I think for some of us, this can have to do with living portions of our lives authentically, and when we finally are dating the gender or genders of partners that we truly desire, emotions can become intense, and so can connections. My excitement about being with a woman for the first time blinded me from being able to see some of the major issues in our dynamic. But now, I've identified five signs it's time to leave your queer relationship that I wish I had thought about earlier.
October 8th was International Lesbian Day, and in celebration of this day, I thought I would cover one of my favorite topics: lesbian breakups. Breaking up is hard, no matter your gender or sexuality. I know because I've lived all along the gender and sexuality spectrum, and I've survived a lot of breakups. I've had breakups with straight men, gay men, bisexual men, bisexual women, and, oh, lesbians. Hands down, the most challenging breakup I've had has been with my most recent lesbian-identified relationship.
I live as a transgender person, and I also have bipolar disorder. While being transgender is not a mental illness, these two things still have a lot in common. Over the years, I've reflected on what these two things share. Today, I'll discuss the commonalities between them and what it feels like to live both as a transgender person and as a person with bipolar disorder.
Identity policing is when a person tries to tell another person (usually one with a marginalized identity) that their identity is invalid or that they can't or don't belong to an identity group they claim to identify with. I wanted to talk about this after my last post, where I talked about what it means to be a lesbian. Unfortunately, even within the queer community, I have had my identity policed on more than one occasion. Identity policing can be extremely hurtful and problematic. Allow me to illustrate with the example that follows from my life.
Lesbian is the first letter of the queer alphabet soup. We've all heard LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus.), but what does lesbian actually mean? People used to define lesbians as "women loving women," but this definition is outdated and doesn't take into account the many transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming humans who still proudly call themselves lesbians. I am one of these people.
Passive communication has been the silent killer of all of my friendships. While I've been developing my communication skills to create better long-lasting platonic and romantic relationships, I've learned how my communication style has been one of my greatest flaws. Passive communication is a style in which a person avoids expressing their thoughts, feelings, and needs. Passive communicators are unlikely to assert themselves and stand up for their rights. Friendships have come and gone, ending both ambiguously and anticlimactically, because I allowed them to pass by. By letting my fear of rejection and need to please others control me, I've done a great disservice to myself. Time and time again, I have held myself back from expressing my feelings and needs only to create great internal conflict, emotional distress, loneliness, and feeling unfulfilled in my relationships. That's the crux of passive communication.
My name is Daniel Lyons (they/he), and I am the new co-author of the blog "The Life: LGBT Mental Health." I am 36 years old and a transgender, queer, bisexual, non-binary person living in California with multiple mental health diagnoses. Throughout my life, I struggled with misdiagnosis and struggled to get adequate care for my mental health. Some of this had to do with being assigned female at birth and doctors not taking my symptoms seriously and underdiagnosing. Some of it had to do with diagnosis difficulty and the presence of multiple diagnoses. I can confidently say now I live with bipolar disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I also live with gender dysphoria, which I will talk more about in blog posts to come. It’s a complicated matrix of diagnoses, but I want to write this blog post for folks to know there is hope.