Identifying Differently: Gaby & Allison on Changing Your Labels

April 11, 2018 in inQueery


You may recognize the faces of Allison Raskin and Gaby Dunn if you have ever fallen down a Buzzfeed rabbit hole.  (How long have I been scrolling? How did I end up on posts from 2015? Why am I taking a quiz to find out what kind of pasta I am?)

The writers/comedians left Buzzfeed to be able to create their own content, which includes a YouTube channel called “Just Between Us.”  In this series, Gaby and Allison create sketches, answer questions, and generally talk about their lives. Part of the shtick is the personas that they portray:  Allison is straight, more introverted, and a bit anxious; Gaby is queer, more of an extrovert, and more laid-back. Both are very forthcoming on topics that are often taboo in our culture – sex, mental illness, and problematic relationships, to name a few.  The show isn’t for everyone (I think they have said that their audience is mostly ages 13-17), but they do a good job of making people more aware of these issues, and that’s an important contribution to media and society.

In a recent video, Gaby discusses her decision to stop identifying as polyamorous.  Watch their piece to see the reasons:

 

There were a few things I really appreciated about this video.

  1. The nuanced commentary on polyamory vs. non-monogamy; Gaby did a good job of explaining the concepts and how/why they work for different people.  Outside of queer communities, I feel like few people take the time to think about and discuss these topics, and instead hold onto stereotypical images (and moral judgments) of non-monogamous relationships.
  2. The discussion of how people’s identities can shift over time.  Even when we know that attraction, gender, and identity is fluid, we can still feel trapped by these categories.  Even in our own communities, people sometimes react negatively to someone’s shift in identity.  As someone who identified one way in my teens but as something else as I draw nearer to 30, I can relate to this.  It’s tough to change and have others interpret that shift as being rooted in some sort of deception, or that you no longer belong in a certain space.

 

How has your identity changed throughout your lifetime?  Hopefully this video can bring you some personal reflection on a Wednesday afternoon!

 

 

Alex Regan is a Visiting Writer at InQueery.