Justice

The Perfect Response to People Who Think Sexuality Is a Phase

October 16th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

A recent post on popular Facebook page Have A Gay Day brilliantly illustrates why you should not dismiss a person's sexuality as a "phase."

The image shows four apparently offended faces beneath the words, "once you find a nice boy you'll be over this whole lesbian phase." The hashtag #GrowingUpGay, which was trending on social media this summer, is at the bottom of the picture:

Have A Gay Day Facebook

Many commenters showed support for this message:

Have A Gay Day Facebook

Celebrities and sexuality.

Earlier this year, openly bisexual actress Cara Delevingne made headlines after a Vogue cover story about her insinuated that her sexuality was just a phase. Journalist Rob Haskell noted that Delevingne's parents think her bisexuality won't last forever and added that "they may be correct."

Trivializing Delevingne's sexuality like that enraged many, and someone even started a petition asking the magazine to apologize to Delevingne. So far, it has nearly 29,000 signatures.

"As a bisexual woman myself, I’ve experienced hurtful comments like this many times," wrote petition creator Julie Rodriguez. "People are quick to assume queer women’s identities are a 'phase' and to refuse to recognize the important relationships in their lives -- an attitude which can cause depression, result in families rejecting their daughters (or forcing them into abusive conversion 'therapy'), and even put young women at risk of suicide. Vogue should have taken this opportunity to combat negative stereotypes, not reinforce them. We should be applauding Cara for coming out as queer, and being open about her relationships with men and women."

Delevingne had a powerful response to the Vogue controversy, telling the New York Times in an interview, "My sexuality is not a phase. I am who I am."

Cara Delevingne on bisexuality

Following the Vogue fracas, BuzzFeed reporter Shannon Keating published a powerful essay titled, "No, Queer Women Aren’t 'Just Experimenting.'" In the piece, she says that skeptical people like Vogue's Rob Haskell make it harder for queer individuals to come out.

"It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that the first sexual relationship I had with another woman wasn’t just drunk meaningless fun, but something legitimate, something that mattered—and part of the reason it took me so long is because people with cultural power, like Haskell, are so quick to dismiss queer female relationships as 'just a phase,'" Keating wrote.

She added that her former boyfriend was OK with her making out with women in college because he assumed she was "just experimenting," which she described as "a garbage fallacy."

"As the average coming-out age continues to drop, I’m hopeful that more and more teenage girls will march into freshman year (relatively) confident in their sexualities, so that their queer hookups aren’t clouded by doubt and shame the way mine were," she continued.

Over the summer, Daily Beast writer Emily Shire shared a similar sentiment about the dismissive nature of calling someone's sexuality a "phase."

"No matter the huge legal and social advances of recent years, many still have their sexual orientations treated as 'just a phase,' a temporary aberration before they finally 'settle down' into heterosexuality," Shire wrote. "By 2015, it should be well established that sexuality is complex and fluid, and it should be equally well established that coming to terms with our sexuality can be complex and difficult."