When I found out at 46 that I had Cerebral Palsy I had no idea what I had been dealing with, but it didn’t stop me being labelled and misunderstood. People would talk about me and stare at me as if I wasn’t there.
If it was to happen now it wouldn’t bother me that someone may choose to label me, because I am comfortable with who I am. ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but calling names won’t harm me.’ Mum used to quote the saying when anyone called me names. Back then I had no idea what it meant.
I have Cerebral Palsy, it is what I deal with. Whether we’re gay, straight, black or white, we may often be labelled. I don’t think the problem lies with the individual. The problem lies with society and how society as a whole defines and sees us as individuals.
When we label someone, we may stereotype that person, but it is wrong to stereotype. In the past, others would do it to recognise that person so that when others talk about them, they know exactly who they’re talking about.
For example, someone may refer to somebody who is overweight and will describe that person as being fat, instead of trying to describe him in a kinder more understanding manner. I remember being in school as a small child and having a friend who was overweight. When other children referred to her, they didn’t refer to her by name, but by describing her fatness. It’s not politically correct now.
I would never choose to label myself, or anyone else. It is important society accepts and let people be who and what they are, without choosing to use labels to do it.