As people grow and gain more knowledge of themselves and the world around them, it is perfectly normal to begin to question aspects of yourself you may have considered constants, such as your gender identity or sexuality. I’m going to focus on the latter for this particular discussion.
One of the most common pieces of casual homophobia I have seen and experienced is others assuming that a person’s sexuality is just a ‘phase’, and something that will be grown out of and ‘corrected’ with time. Often, this is not the case, and the identity a person decide fits them doesn’t change much (or at all) as they grow as a person. However, sometimes this does change, and that is okay. You are allowed to grow and discover who you are at whatever pace suits you, and it’s absolutely okay if you didn’t know your identity as a young child. Personally, I always had a feeling I wasn’t entirely straight, but I have several friends who only realized once they hit adolescence that they might not be heterosexual or cisgender. You might also feel like a label (different to the one you previously identified with) suits you better, and that’s also absolutely fine.
I personally am bisexual, but it’s a little more complicated than this, so I simply like to identify myself as ‘queer’, as there’s no specifics in that and it does fit my orientation. I know people that use very specific labels and intensely dislike being referred to as anything other than those labels, and I also know people that don’t like to use labels at all, even if one particular identity fits them perfectly.
However, there have been some cases of people realising that the identity of belonging to the LGBTQ+ community no longer fits them, and that being LGBTQ+ was not a long-lasting identity. That is also absolutely fine. What is not okay is somebody using one person’s experience to justify the ludicrous idea that sexuality is something a person can pick and choose.
In an interview in 2011, singer-songwriter Jessie J stated that she had “dated girls and boys”. However, in 2014, she renounced the label ‘bisexual’, saying that, for her, it was “a phase”, but explicitly argued that she was “not saying bisexuality is a phase for everybody.” She came under fire for her use of the word ‘phase’ to describe her period of experimenting with her sexuality, because of its history of being used to disregard the LGBTQ+ community. Despite this, there is absolutely nothing wrong with deciding one sexual or romantic preference is not what you want any more.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that your sexuality or gender identity is yours and yours alone. Frankly, it’s not really anybody else’s business how you identify or how you label yourself. All that matters is that you are comfortable in your own skin, and screw what anybody else thinks. If somebody disagrees with you, that doesn’t matter. It’s not their identity to dictate.
If you have any issues, questions or queries regarding your sexuality or gender identity, one of us at TWE will be more than happy to chat with you.
Thank you for reading,