Labels Are GayAlice Hansen’s book ‘Labels are gay’ has a simple message: Love is love.

“Love can be found in a 37-year marriage,
between young men who fall in love or
when two girls spend their lives together.
Love knows no conditions and
carries no labels. It is simply… love.”

When I came out to my best friend a few years ago, I considered myself lucky when her reaction was extremely supportive. However, I continued to have insecurities about my sexuality, identity and place in society. She realised this and at the end of the year, she handed me a present from Salamanca Market in Hobart. I opened it and in front of me was Alice Hansen’s picture book Labels are Gay.

The common use of the phrase “That’s so gay” has been subverted by Hansen to infer that labels themselves are inappropriate. The book displays the wide variety of partnerships that exist in the world – presenting the idea that underlying all of these partnerships is a common factor: Love is love, regardless of who it is between. It advocates that there is no room for labels when there is love to enjoy.

While labels can be important in helping us understand our identities and our place in particular communities, it can also be easy to become anxious about them. Sometimes they are used in a derogatory way by others, or sometimes we feel like we don’t fit into any specific ‘category’. If this is the case, Hansen’s book provides comfort. It was another step closer to coming to terms with myself when I received it.