Going with the flow: Sexual fluidity, bisexuals, lesbians and “hasbians” in pop culture


But this begs the question: Why do we need labels?

Maybe we don’t. But what we do need, as a minority group, is an identifier. It’s true that we are all different — some of us are queer, dykes, poly, omni, gay, fluid, or resist all of the above at any cost. But when you need to find those that are like you on this level, how else can you find them? There has to be a word, or a few words, that you can seek out or Google or use in conversation in order to find what it is you are looking for. That is what makes a community a community.

Walsh says she doesn’t feel like labels are important. “They can connect to a
pecking order of the ‘gold star lesbian’ being more legit or more truly
evolved than someone who has a more diverse sexual history,” she said. “I also think
that if we cling too hard to a particular self-identification, it can
blind us to the full spectrum of what feeds our souls — and
can make us more prone to judgment, and too rigid about others’
situations. Instead of parsing and arguing and classifying, we could be
spending that time making out, or meditating, or having some really
groundbreaking new conversations.”

“I feel it’s very personally important to me to identify as a lesbian,” Diamond said. “It’s part of how I find other lesbians; how I have a home in this world. I also understand, and I’m aware of this when I’m talking to a younger generation of women, they have a sort of different understandings of labels. We need labels because we need to find a way to identify ourselves and form a community and have solidarity … Labels are political functions.”

Community: a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.

It is possible that Anne Heche once felt like she was a lesbian or that Cynthia Nixon or Lindsay Lohan assumed that they were straight. It is also possible now that they can identify feelings that prove otherwise. What matters is not how they come to these conclusions or how they label themselves for the public to understand, but how they use their public voices to communicate about the subject. When discussing their own personal lives and pasts, they are standing on a soap box for the gay community, whether they like it or not; whether we like it or not.

The harm is done when those who used to publicly identify themselves as lesbians renege on it, also very publicly. For instance, Venus publisher Charlene Cothran, who went through ex-gay conversion therapy used her formerly gay magazine as a platform to help those “who desire to leave a life of homosexuality.”

Recently, British comedienne Jackie Clune wrote a piece for The Daily Mail about how she was “exhausted by the emotional dysfunction of her lesbian relationships” and then “discovered in her subsequent relationship with her husband a freedom to [walk] alongside each other rather than spending life locked in face-to-face intimacy or combat.”

She also wrote of the lesbian community’s reaction:

It seemed a betrayal of all they and I had stood for. Diva magazine, the biggest lesbian publication in the UK, voted me Most Disappointing Lesbian Of The Year. And the criticism still continues. There was (briefly) a Facebook group saying “People Like Jackie Clune Should Be Taken Outside And Shot.” Although the criticism is hurtful, I understand where it’s coming from — I’ve confused everybody. In the gay world some people hate the way many of us believe sexuality can be fluid. The idea of bisexuality is anathema to them. They see it as a mark of indecision or even self-delusion.

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