in defense of MOGAI label hoarding

(originally posted to Pillowfort)

something I ended up talking about with my wife today was how like, it's kind of boring to be an adult with a relatively settling identity when I was a former label hoarder/hopper and would switch them up a lot and find a lot of self-expression in new labels people came up with. And now I'm just ... fairly stable in my core identity no matter how much new labels might be descriptive of smaller aspects of them? I still have many words that I find useful to describe myself, but the list has been pared down to its core aspects in a lot of ways, and new things don't come up often that resonate.

And I think this is just how being an adult with a stabilizing identity is :V and I'll have to add it to my mid-20's crisis pile. But it makes me much more sympathetic to the idea of label hoarding and term coining and all that by, if we're honest, mostly young people and people who are new to this part of their identity. Because I look back and realize it was the fun of MOGAI culture that makes me unable to relate to the people who find queer identity confusion and exploration to be scary and distressing because it's confusing and subject to change.

MOGAI made the confusion of identity (notice how many words coined in these spaces relate to confusion, unknowing, etc?) into a thing that didn't have to be scary and intimidating. It could be its own identity, aesthetic, meaningful thing, whatever. And the hoarding of labels took the pressure off if I decided one or another didn't fit, or fit better, or if more than one thing was true. I didn't have to "come out" every time I waffled between being bisexual, trixic (or whatever word filled that gap at the time), lesbian, NBLM, whatever. It let me just swap those out with all the other hoarded labels.

I think without this "label hoarding" culture making identity confusion into a fun way of expressing yourself, I'd have stressed out so much more about what I "really am" instead of just rolling with whatever felt right to throw on the pile. And I get that it doesn't have that same effect for everyone, and especially people for whom the MOGAI lexicon is just a more daunting game of "what am I REALLY" instead of a fun game of "this is what I am NOW" -- that's not a position I understand personally, but I recognize and respect that there are people who just get intimidated to hell by all these damn labels.

I just wanted to offer the other perspective -- it felt freeing. And I miss how exciting it was to find words that expressed new parts of myself and allowed me to explore and share them with others as I learned about them. It's just that now I gotta contribute to the *depth* of what's written and shared about the identities I've settled into now, I guess? I've moved from one stage to another. But looking back, I think for all its flaws and all my gripes about it now, the original MOGAI community environment was kinda cool for giving me a queer space to play in.