No Labels

Towards a World Without Labelling by Others








Our world is beyond the gender binary. We include people of non-binary, gender queer, gender fluid, inter-sex identity. We of course include people of trans-gender identity. And also stand by the statement transwomen are women, transmen are men, and other gender identities are valid as those identities.
Please do not judge someone’s gender on their appearance. Please ask people their pronouns (e.g. she/he/they/ze etc). If appropriate ask their gender identity – but also realize this can be a personal question so do not press for answers or ask detailed questions you yourself would be uncomfortable to answer.

*Nationality/Place of birth
We are all from somewhere else. We have all been somewhere else. You cannot judge someone’s nationality by their race or appearance. Don’t automatically assume someone is “not from here”. Asking someone you meet for the first time “Which country did you come from” is a questions loaded with assumptions you have made without knowing that person. Also let’s avoid making assumptions of someone’s politics, religion, cultural values depending on their nationality.

Sexuality is a spectrum and not necessarily fixed but in flux. Our world is much more beyond heteronormativity. We include people of lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, polyamorous, queer identity. Please don’t assume someone has or wants a partner of the “opposite sex” (whatever that means). It is up to the individual as to whom and when they might wish to share about their sexuality or partnership. Also exposing someone’s sexuality without their permission (outing) is a serious form of violence.

Racial stereotypes and racial discrimination still continue to be huge problems. We denounce all forms of white supremacy which prevail in the majority of societies around the world. We also take exception to referring to people as “half”. In Japan still the myth of a “homogeneous race” continues to prevail whilst the rights of those with diverse roots and backgrounds also continue to have their rights stamped upon.We must acknowledge the fact that inequality exists in society on the basis of race/ethnicity and we need to stand up for each other in tackling this inequality.

Families come in all shapes and sizes – couples, triples etc.., singles and their pets, two mums, two dads, parents who are nonbinary – children who are non binary, single parents, adoptees, divorcees, co-parenting, co-habiting, upbringing by grandparents or other relatives, people who have lost dear ones early or late in life. Also just because someone has a partner does not lead to the automatic assumption that they have children or want children. “Family” is not just something defined by law or prevailing values. Even if you have your own personal sense of family please do not force that upon others. Asking lots of questions as to someone’s family structure or partner(s) and even talking of this to someone else without permission or necessitating circumstances is also a breach of privacy.

We all have different abilities. We believe in a world beyond ableism and capitalist defined “productivity”. Some of us have visible disabilities, some of us have “unseen” disabilities, some of us have multiple disabilities. We are neurodiverse, differently abled and we are all capable. We don’t want to be talked to like children. We don’t want to be told what to do or “given help” because you think you have better judgement. We might have different communication processes but involve us in the conversation and don’t make the conversation just about our disability! Our disability is not our definition but we might have an identity and culture related to our disability (e.g. deaf culture).

Namely age and appearance.
The rich diversity of our bodies wonderfully break the molds which are forced upon us by fantasized advertising. Our size, complexion, hair, wrinkles, stretchmarks, cellulite, are all beautiful and don’t need your comments. No matter what our age or shape, from children to seniors, we should be treated with equal respect. We also resist the objectification of our bodies, and being used as photo opportunities. We are not here for your consumption or to show how “diverse” your social circle is.
年齢と見た目 ~ 私たちの多様で、豊かな身体は広告などに押し付けられた理想化された空想のような型を力強く破っていきます。私たちの大きさ、肌、髪の毛、しわ、ストレッチマーク、セリュライトなどはそのままで美しくて、コメントはいりません。どんな体型・年齢でも、子どもでもシニアでも、同じような尊敬が必要です。私たちの身体を対象化すること、またシャッターチャンスとして利用されることに対して抵抗しています。あなたの消費のためにここにいるわけではないのです。

*Legal status
Some of us have different legal status in Japan. Some of us are refugees, some of us are undocumented. But we don’t want to be known as “refugees”, “undocumented”, we want to be known as ourselves. We don’t necessarily want to tell you all about how we came to be in this situation either. Please give priority to people’s personal situations and privacy and don’t make their status the object of your one directional interest.

Ours is a world in which many beliefs and layers of spirituality co-exist. We respect each other’s religious freedom and understand that certain customs and principles are connected to our beliefs. We don’t force our beliefs on others and don’t try to “convert” each other to our religion. We also recognize that even in the same religion there are many interpretations, religion is not dangerous – people’s bloody mindedness and disrespect for others is.
私たちの世界の中で様々な信仰やスピリチュアルな層が共存しています。それぞれの信仰の自由を尊重して、宗教によって習慣や原理 が違うということも理解しています。自分の信仰を他の人に申し付けることはしない、他人を改宗させようとすることもしません。同じ宗教の中でも様々な解釈があります。宗教は危険なものではありません。人の冷酷性と他人への尊重の欠如のほうが危険なものです。

Not all of us have paid work. Not all of us are necessarily looking for work. Some of us can be troubled by the question “What is your job?” We want to live in a world where we are not defined by occupation.

Not all of us went to school. Some of us left school, some of us searched for a different kind of education in life, some of us are studying in later life. We don’t all have the same basic knowledge, but we have a lot we can learn from and teach to each other.

Unfortunately our world is one filled with economic inequality. Not everyone can afford to take the train and bus to get to here. Not everyone can afford to pay for their next meal. There is no shame in that. The only shame is on a society which creates such conditions. At kosaten we have a mutual aid box where anyone can give money or take money and we also have a food pantry.

Many of us are survivors. Survivors of bullying, abuse, harassment, domestic/sexual violence, illness and injustice. We are all carrying our pain and trauma in some form. We may rarely make our presence known but please know we are always here and your words and actions touch us.

Hey we just met! I don’t want to tell you my life story! If someone wants to tell you something they will when they are ready, you don’t need to go prying into their past. If they signal they are uncomfortable with your questions please don’t keep asking! Even if someone meets your questions with a smile there are often times they do not wish to answer personal questions. We all have a comfort zone and a preferred distance we would like to take from people so please do not step over that line without being invited. Also personal details which are shared with you are not for you to share with other people. Also ask before taking photos and get permission before putting on SNS. When someone expresses their wish not to have their photo taken there may be many reasons for this so please do not push them for an explanation.

We hope for a world where we are not labelled or defined by others. We have the freedom to choose our own terms, our own vocabulary and our own labels if we think them useful. We reject the stereotypes which are projected to labels and the false assumptions which emerge from these labels. We don’t want to be made the representatives of those labels and put on a pedestal to answer all your questions with regard that label.

All of us have privilege too. Depending on our gender, race, sexuality, class, schooling, employment, embodiment, dis(ability), legal status we are able to move through this world at ease on some level.