Photography © Lauren Shear


The irony of Labels

With labels
come stigma,

No labels
means floating
in the void:
between “normal”
and “other.”

A simple
yet infinite
one checks
on applications,
if a third option
is even offered.

an infinite
number of responses,
all of which
are reduced
to Beauvoir’s
“Other” –
those defined
in relation
to the societal norm –
the “abnormal.”

But without labels,
the queer community
would not have power,
they would not
have Pride,
for how could they
be proud of
being othered,
if they do not
embrace new labels
or reclaim old slurs?

Labels allow you to be seen,

society outcasts
those who are different,
yet praises them
for their courage.

Just another
double-edged sword
of humanity.


Sophie Dufresne is a full-time psychology college student who developed a strong interest in reading and writing poetry ever since they read “Hope” by Emily Dickinson when they were in sixth grade. They are on the board of directors for their university’s Centre for Gender Advocacy and are very vocal about their support for the LGBTQIA+ community despite only adhering to the label “agender.”

Lauren Shear is a museum professional, public historian, and lifelong resident of Massachusetts. She has been working with activist groups since college and has been seeking ways to support communities under attack ever since.