How do I prove to people that my gayness isn’t a phase?
We’ve all heard it… “You’re not gay, it’s just a phase”. Here’s how to deal with this accusation in a productive way.
Read carefully: You don’t have to prove anything to anybody.
Coming out of the closet isn’t like filing an insurance claim – you’re not required to provide proof of ownership. There’s no notarized deed you can whip out at a moment’s notice, and there isn’t a governing body of the LGBTQ+ community that sends you a diploma to frame on your wall. Being gay is something you are: full stop. It’s not a title you earn, and it’s definitely not something you have to verify to people.
When you first come out, it’s normal for people to assume that it’s “just a phase”. But just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. In fact, this assumption is one of our biggest pet peeves, and we’re betting you’re not too fond of hearing it either! Coming out is challenging enough without having your sexual orientation reduced to a lapse in judgement. That type of reaction can be extremely confusing and hurtful, especially since only you can determine your identity. So how do you deal with it?
First, let’s look at why the people in your circle might be reacting this way. Chances are, it’s rooted in homophobia. It’s hard to hear – we know – but it’s probably true. Anyone who claims that your gayness is a phase is in denial, and as hard as it may seem, you need to accept that it’s not your job to change their minds. Now more than ever, you need to worry about yourself, so don’t waste too much time trying to earn the acceptance of others. The ones who truly love you will come around eventually.
It’s also important to point out that sexuality is fluid. In others words, sometimes our desires change. You might very well realize five years from now that you’re not a lesbian after all! But this doesn’t change the fact that your current sexual orientation is legitimate. I mean, technically every distinct period of your life is a phase, but using that language in reference to someone’s sexuality isn’t productive. In fact, it’s dismissive.
Let’s pretend for a second that you announced to your family and friends that you were going to pursue a career in medicine. Most of them are supportive – thrilled, even! But your Uncle Joe thinks this new passion of yours is just a phase. Instead of being happy for you, he sneers and makes you feel like you aren’t worthy of support. You internalize his reaction, and reaching your goal of becoming a surgeon becomes a lot more challenging because of the self-doubt he instills in you.
Obviously your career path is very different than your sexuality. But you get the point – the way your loved ones respond to your gayness can deeply affect how you feel about yourself. So, let’s talk about a solution!
We already established that it’s not your job to change the way other people view you. Ain’t nobody got time for that! What you can do is change your own mindset. Consciously choose not to let others’ opinions affect your self-worth. Remind yourself that who you are doesn’t require endorsement or approval or even understanding from others – all those things are just a bonus! Last but not least, be honest with the people you love. Tell them how hurtful their assumptions are, and hopefully they’ll respond respectfully!