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“Don’t label me!” The unlabeled flag is meant for those who refuse to be put in a box

Robyn Exton

Jul 28, 2023

“Don’t label me!” The unlabeled flag is meant for those who refuse to be put in a box

At this point, we have dozens and dozens of terms for sexualities and genders, but sometimes people just want to be unlabeled.  

Language is always trying to keep up with the unique experiences of human beings, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But sometimes, some people just get tired of feeling like they have to box themselves in – and there’s nothing wrong with that, either! 

If you’re unlabeled or know someone who is, you should check out this pride flag with no label: the unlabeled flag!  But first, let’s destigmatize what it means to have no labels.

What it means to be unlabeled: you decide! 

Being unlabeled in terms of sexuality or gender usually refers to people who don’t identify with any specific sexual orientation or gender identity or choose not to adopt a specific label to describe their sexual attractions or gender identity. 

The choice can be entirely personal or sometimes even political: a way of acknowledging that human sexuality can be complex and diverse and that not everyone fits neatly into the traditional categories of sexual orientation such as heterosexual, gay, pansexual, even queer, or something else.

People who identify as unlabeled can sometimes feel that the existing labels don’t really capture their experiences or that they don’t find the concept of labeling their sexuality necessary or relevant to their personal identity. By rejecting the limitations or expectations that may come with adopting a specific sexual orientation label, they gain control over their own narratives. 

Again, identifying as bi, queer, gay, lesbian, pansexual, asexual, or cupiosexual are not bad things. You shouldn’t be ashamed of using labels or no labels – it’s all about what you feel most comfortable doing. 

A couple wearing colorful makeup poses in front of the camera, with a crowd of behind them at a Pride march.

Unlabeled and other fluid sexual and gender identities

The beauty of labels in the first place is that they’re meant to encapsulate the experiences of individuals or groups of individuals, but sometimes labels just don’t do it justice. 

Ironically, more than just one word like “unlabeled” describes this conundrum, but they can all be used in different ways. Yes, we recognize the irony that there are labels for the unlabeled! But hey, language is gonna language – what can you do? 

Pomosexual and pomogender – labels for the unlabeled

As we said, there’s a bit of irony here, but that doesn’t make these words any less useful for some people who want to really think outside the box!

Pomosexual refers to people who don’t adhere to a specific label in terms of sexuality. Pomogender is for people who have an unlabeled gender! This brings up the next logical question: what about non-binary people and other similar terms?

Genderqueer, non-binary, and unlabeled people: similarities and differences

Genderqueer people fluctuate between genders. For them, it depends on the mood, the environment, and the day. Non-binary people simply don’t adhere to either man or woman gender identities, and this is the case no matter the mood, environment, or day. The similarity between these identities and being unlabeled is simply the refusal to stick to what is socially accepted as the norm. 

The difference between them all is simply that unlabeled people wouldn’t necessarily identify as genderqueer or non-binary in the first place. Still, they may also not identify as a man or a woman.

Are questioning people unlabeled, too?  

Some people argue that the Q in LGBTQ+ stands for either queer or questioning, depending on the context. Questioning means someone is not sure of what they identify with.

To be clear, being unlabeled doesn’t mean you’re questioning. You can be unlabeled and completely feel comfortable and stable with that. 

But sometimes, some people can be questioning and choose not to use any specific label as they figure themselves out. Sometimes, there is an overlap between questioning people and unlabeled people, but not always.

What pronouns do unlabeled people use?

A person holds up a small whiteboard that reads “HELLO. MY PRONOUNS ARE,” followed by a black space with a slash dividing it. The text is written in rainbow colors.

If you’re unlabeled and want to explore using different pronouns to refer to yourself, know that there are no rules here. Just because you’re unlabeled doesn’t mean you have to pick up neo-pronouns or even use the pronouns you’ve been using all your life. 

Mix and match, play around, and see what sticks! The idea is not to get put in a box, right? So have fun! 

And if you’re wondering how to refer to someone you know who is unlabeled: just ask them! Chances are they’ll be happy to let you know. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you could always play it safe and refer to them in a gender-neutral way: using they/them pronouns until you’re told otherwise.

The colors of the unlabeled flag

The unlabeled pride flag has four horizontal stripes. From top to bottom: pale green, white, light blue, and pale orange.

Source: Ello Felicia 

You might be asking why unlabeled has a pride flag if it isn’t a label anyway. It’s a good question! 

Just because some people don’t use labels doesn’t mean that their existence shouldn’t be celebrated. Simply put: regardless of labels, people deserve to have some color to show off their pride! 

There’s a lot to be proud of when it comes to being unlabeled, and the unlabeled flag reflects that. It’s made up of four horizontal stripes. At the very top is a green stripe, which represents freedom. Think of it like nature, which is free and ever-evolving, like unlabeled people! 

Next up is the white stripe, which represents understanding. Understanding you’re unlabeled is a powerful stance when it feels like everyone around you is expecting you to “pick a side!” After that is a light blue stripe, which represents acceptance. Once you understand you’re unlabeled, you accept it — you become free to live your life! 

Lastly is the orange stripe, which represents flexibility. All these words (freedom, understanding, acceptance, and flexibility) are key components to being unlabeled and proud. It just makes sense to have a pride flag to go with it. 

Understanding the unlabeled flag in the LGBTQ+ community

Like many other labels and non-labels, this is a relatively new term that people are taking more and more seriously in the community. This is especially true when there has been a rise in pressure for celebrities and famous figures to come out before they’re ready. So identifying as unlabeled can be as much a tool for safety as it is a term to feel proud of. 

“I don’t think I ever plan on labeling my sexuality; it seems like too much work just for other people to know who I’m attracted to. I already know that why does anyone else need to know that?” says one Reddit user, really emphasizing the pressure put on people to identify one way or another. 

Another Redditor responded: “It’s more than okay to be unlabeled! queerness doesn’t need strict, rigid boundaries. It’s flexible and fluid!”

So take that into your next conversation with an unlabeled person: support them by letting them know that you don’t have expectations for how they should identify themselves. 

And if you’re unlabeled yourself, know you’ve got a lot to be proud of and even a colorful flag to go with it! It might even be worth it to add the flag to your dating profile as a conversation starter with your next match on the HER app. Connect with other unlabeled and queer folks on HER today.

Robyn Exton

Robyn is the CEO & Founder of HER. Find her on Twitter.

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