A year ago, I came out as bisexual on the internet. Since then, I’ve grown and changed– and also realized that I am, in fact, not bisexual, but panromantic.
When I came out to my family and friends, I was never told that my sexuality was “just a phase” or that I was confused and unsure. I was loved and accepted as I am– but thousands of people can’t say the same. Their words were dismissed and they were brushed away– as their sexuality was, to others, “just a phase,” even if to them, it was a constant. They grew older, and their sexuality remained the same. My sexuality also remained the same: I just found the correct word for it.
But here’s the thing: Even if your sexuality is just a phase, that does not mean it is invalid. For years, the term “just a phase” has been used in a negative context– it is used to invalidate the feelings of people, and prove that they are wrong. But phases aren’t really so bad, are they? As we grow up, from childhood to adulthood, we have several phases– just because one phase is over, does not mean it didn’t exist. Phases happen. You grow and you change, and you learn new things about yourself. And phases aren’t bad, they’re necessary. I realised that I was panromantic, but I still had a phase where I thought I was bisexual, and it was essential for me– in a way, a stepping stone to realising that I’m panromantic. If I didn’t know what bisexuality was, if I never thought I was bisexual– I probably wouldn’t go any further from there.
It is no secret, that for the LGBTQ+ Community, representation is rare. I have friends who thought that people who aren’t white cannot be gay; I have friends who didn’t know what bisexuality is until I told them; I have friends who were taught to avoid trans people because they are ‘morally wrong.’ There is so much stigma associated with the LGBTQ+ community, even in the modern world. With such little representation and information, it is extremely hard to figure out and accept your gender or sexuality. To figure it all out in one go is near impossible. As we become a part of the LGBTQ+ community, we learn more about it– and in the process, we may realise that our gender or sexuality wasn’t what we thought it was. And that’s okay. Phases are okay– they are temporary but impactful.
It didn’t take me long to realize that I was, in fact, pan. When I came out as bisexual, I did not know of the existence of more than two genders– but then, with education, I realised that gender is a spectrum; and with that, came the realization that the gender of a person really didn’t matter to me at all, as long as I got along with them. Their personality was all that mattered, and that was all that there was to it. My bisexuality was, as they say, “just a phase,” but only because I am now more educated, and know more about the LGBTQ+ Community. Knowledge is growth.
An example I’d like to give is of the moon. Yes, it has phases. It has multiple phases. But in our heads, it remains the moon, and that never changes. And we still admire the moon, despite all its phases. If we can accept the phases of the moon so easily, why is it so hard to accept the phases a human has?