Why We Don't Need Labels: A Response to NikkieTutorials' Video

For years, people in the LGBTQ+ community have come out to their friends and family. This was no exception when NikkieTutorials decided to come out to her 13.1 million subscribers last Monday. In her video “I’m Coming Out,” she revealed that while she hates labels she felt that she owed her subscribers the truth about her being transgender.

By prefacing the video with her hatred of labels, Nikkie is voicing the opinion of hundreds of LGBTQ+ people in the world. We’ve grown accustomed to coming out culture but haven’t acknowledged how stressful and unfair it really is for those that are technically within the community and don’t identify with any of the labels that the rest of the world already “understands.”

There’s a good number of LGBTQ+ people who find it difficult to relate to the labels that are within the community, whether it’s for sexuality or gender identity. However, we still find ourselves choosing anything so that the people we are explaining ourselves to can understand what we’re feeling. But this poses the question of why should we have to explain ourselves at all?

lgbtq letters

It’s a whole new decade and the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community has come a long way, obviously. From general acceptance to marriage equality to discovering the true spectrum that gender is, the advances we’ve made as a society are pretty amazing. But if it’s so normal, why don’t straight people or cisgender people have to come out? Why is it if you don’t say something, you’re automatically assumed to be straight? We’ve made tremendous strides, but we’re obviously not done yet.

In psychology, we’re taught not to label children because then they grow up thinking that’s all they are or could be. When you expect people in the LGBTQ+ community to use labels they don’t actually identify with, you’re unintentionally shoving them into a box that makes things easier for you, not them. There is power in our labels, but there is also power in choosing to not label yourself. In her video, Nikkie says “I am NikkieTutorials and I am Nikkie. I am me. We don’t need labels; if we are going to be put a label on it, yes, I am transgender.” This resonates with people in the community because she’s right, we don’t need labels. We don’t owe the rest of the world a label.

 

The labels we choose or don’t choose, are for us — not everyone else.