There are many interesting things one can find on a daily midnight stroll around the campus: striking stars, stragglers to a party that hasn't happened, and confused students who are new to London and its bus schedules. What caught my eye and halted my steps for the fourth or fifth time that night was a particularly colourful flag hanging on the window of a townhouse, inside which I saw maybe three or four people.

I was filled with a driving urge to get their attention somehow, a pebble upon their window maybe, just so I could flash them a thumbs-up of approval or something; I wanted them to know that I approved of the people who approved of that esteemed rainbow fabric. But then the gravity of my night — a somber walk I began, intending to sort out what I believe and don't believe — sunk in, and I began thinking, “Should I really be celebrating what that flag represents?”

And what exactly does it represent? To Fanshawe's Spectrum club, a group of students who consider themselves LGBT and/or anything beyond and between, the flag is “a symbol within the queer community that unifies many people during their coming out process,” according to an email I received from Spectrum President Deanna Booton and member Kate. A lighthouse of sorts, the flag is known to guide questioning individuals “during a critical time in [the] self-realization process.”

A little about myself before I have my spin on the flag: I don't subscribe to any of the labels commonly attributed to that banner, perhaps not for the same reason you may not. In my head, the need of sex is equivalent to the need of food; the choices within both appetites, therefore, are mundane and borderline trifling. (One can also infer what I wish to eat varies from time to time — seek the double entendre if you please.) With that said, I'd hardly call myself a bigot, and am accepting of what makes our species so varied.

Therefore, when I began to mull over the concept of pride during that midnight stroll, I was conflicted.

One half of me insisted that such conviction — firm enough to manifest a sprawling flag for all passerby to see — is not only admirable, but necessary. In a society that fecklessly tosses titles around, self-labeling, the Spectrum members remarked, “can be a source of empowerment for many.”

The other half of me, however, suggested that supporting such a movement was counterproductive to itself: “I want equality!” the flag declares, and then, with an unaware, ironic tone, “ let me segregate and demarcate myself to ensure you know I'm different!”

Now, I have absolutely no ill sentiments towards those who title themselves with sexual and/or gender identifiers, but, after ponderous consideration, I can't say I support the identifiers themselves, nor the flag that precedes them. But I'm not alone.

Even Deanna and Kate had their quips with the eminent rainbow: “The rainbow flag — as clothing, pins or other physical manifestations — no longer or never truly defined [us] as a diverse group of people.”

That is to say, no one really likes the way the flag divides its members from “the rest of society.” I think one should be proud of their sexual orientation or sense of self as much as one is proud of being a Homo sapien sapien (which, I would think, takes form as a tepid mumble in the enthusiasm department). Rather, I'm not saying that sexuality or gender or anything beyond and between should be stifled — prudery or the stuffiness of conservatism isn't mine to endorse. I simply don't think sexuality should be trumpeted any more than the colour of my complexion.

What we need to recognize is the innate, human intent to classify and categorize all; we demand to know everything about everyone, and we want to know it within the second. We accomplish this, or so the ignorant and bigoted think, through the use of snappy, convenient labels: gay, straight; man, woman; black, white. The truth, a moderately objective individual would realize, is that there is no truth — there are several truths. We are astronomically diverse as a species, perhaps infinitely wandering the corridors of our selfness, never really finding a room in which to settle. We are usually above or below the titles that precede us; rarely do these classifiers actually fit.

And by willingly corralling ourselves into bottlenecked flasks, these human genres, we allow ourselves to be victims: targets of hate crimes, the fodder of cannonball generalizations, clear-cut caricatures whose sole purpose is to vegetate. Or sometimes undeserfing heroes: Forgotten celebrity faces rebooted across a billion tabloids simply because, yes, he likes penis, not vagina.

The overarching problem of these boxes with which we imprison ourselves is that we divide. We create a sense of alienness, of an “other.” I'm all for celebrating differences, but once your favourite Disney star is shot down from the heavens of idyllic childhood memories with nothing but a social network harpoon simply because she doesn't like what some other girls like, I think the weight we place on sexuality has reached a certain level of incredulity.

Spectrum club president Deanna Booton duly stressed the difference between choosing to identify with a label, and being victim to one imposed. As long as people choose the title, instead of being pressured into one, “it shouldn't matter with what they identify.”

One thing is clear: We need to disarm sexuality and gender. We need to stop seeing it as a weapon that either protects us or assaults others, as a social bomb whose eventual explosion either clears a path for or destroys careers and relationships. I think sexuality should be deprived of both shame and pride. It should be something mildly interesting, something unique about a person, our personal little quirks mentioned over a cup of coffee — not part of a circus act meant to distinguish a group of individuals or resuscitate fading names. I think what we should be truly proud of is not our differences, which pave the way for cursory categorization, but the fact that we are accepting of them.

Human beings are not elements on a periodic table, colours in a crayon box, nor foggy, nameless jars on dusty shelves. Don't label them. Human beings shouldn't be reduced to alphabet soup just so you or I can address them in five seconds or less.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.