We have a tendency to legitimize certain experiences by dismissing others. We come up with reasons to explain why our identity is valid, why it is worth respecting, why it is not perverted, why it is okay to be that way- and then we condemn anyone who does not fit within those reasons. We generalize our experience because the things that make us feel proud of what we are then feel more true: it makes us feel credible. It makes us feel respectable. It makes us feel like it is okay that we exist.
But when it comes down to it, it does not validate your experience of your identity any more to exclude others who have different experiences of the same identity. Saying there is one way to be something is just as much of a problem as those that say you cannot be that way at all. You are not better, or more valid, or more real, or more palatable because you express or experience your identity a certain way.
Telling people how to be any identity the “right way” is never going to benefit your cause. Saying an identity is only okay because people are “born that way” is never going to be revolutionary. There is nothing inherently less “right” about someone who was sculpted to be a certain way due to their life experiences. Having one experience and not another does not make a more legitimate identity. And who would get to decide those rules anyway? There is no ineffable quality that makes an identity suddenly valid, when it wasn’t before for someone else.
Let’s trust people to know about their own identity in the unique way it manifests for them. Let’s accept that we can experience the same identity differently. Let’s admit that there are infinite ways to embody an idea, or a label, or a name. Distancing yourself from other people who label themselves the same way but experience it in different ways doesn’t make you more legitimate. We need to stop shaming each other to prove some kind of point in order to ultimately align ourselves better with the rigid social systems we live within. True revolution means we accept fluidity, and nuance, and difference- it does not mean we separate ourselves from the rest of our own to gain credibility with the status quo.