Identities as Adjectives


I prefer to use identities as adjectives rather than as proper nouns, as tools for communication rather than viewing them as fixed boxes into which we must attempt to squeeze ourselves. For this reason, I welcome the proliferation of creative and new identity words — and I’m quite fond of some of the old standards as well.

When someone shares one of their identities with you, please don’t assume that you know exactly what they mean when they use that word. Its meaning can get quite distorted in the space between their mouth and your ear (or their fingers on the keyboard and your eyes).

Rather, someone who takes the time and effort to share their identity words with you is giving you a gift, possibly an invitation to a conversation. If you care about that person, ask them to tell you more about what that identity means to them.

Robyn Ochs

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