Reflections on Selfhood
Recently, I have been asking my peers who are doing various projects in their academic careers to relay to them how I perceive myself or how I believe a word is perceived in society today. Some of these words include feminism, lesbian, African American, welfare, and affirmative action. They have pressed me to identify how I feel inside and outside about these buzzwords we use all too lightly. The most common questions I received include, are you a feminist?, what is it like being a gay athlete?, and what is like being an African American at U.Va.? I find it harder to answer these questions than I originally perceived. Am I a lesbian? Am I an African American? Do I identify as a female? Yes, I do, but I find it hard to identify myself as one or another or find any of them standing on their own as a descriptor for who I am. I don’t walk up to someone and introduce myself as lesbian — I walk up to others and say, “Hi, my name is Britt. What’s your name?” Might that person infer I am lesbian, or black, or female? Yes, but I hope that the discussion that en- sues proves more representative of my character than those descriptors.
I find it hard to label myself as purely lesbian. I find it hard to label myself as purely anything. Some peers find it weird and wrong that I don’t show a stronger outward pride in being a lesbian in the U.Va. community and that I am not as involved in the LGBTQ community as I should be. But I am proud of being a lesbian without wanting to dedicate as much of life to that identity. I appreciate those who do care vehemently about these issues and primarily identify with their sexuality, but I ask they respect my opinions and lifestyle. Some might disagree with the statements I have made, and I am open to that, but I ask you be respectful of my opinions, my lifestyle, and my interests.
Gay athlete — How’s the locker room? Is it awkward? Have you told them? Are you being treated fairly? Does your team respect you?
First, I am not a case study on gay athletes. I didn’t quit lacrosse because I am gay. I am gay, and I use to be an athlete. To me, they do not go hand-in-hand. They are two separate entities that add to the conglomerate of my experience and decisions as a human being. Too many times have people grouped me into categories rather than looking at my character independently of whether they like that character. I challenge individuals to look at character, personality, opinions, and interests rather than using narrow identifiers like lesbian, black, female, and so on.
These blog posts are personal and not complete. They don’t encompass all my opinions, they don’t encompass exactly who I am, and they don’t encompass what I believe everyone should believe. They encompass thoughts that have floated through my mind being part of the U.Va. community, and perhaps someone else will find them useful.