And what if it is “Just a Phase”?

One of the things people say to us when we come out is “oh, you’re just going through a phase”.

It’s a silencing thing, to get us to shut up about something they maybe don’t like hearing or discussing. Or something they say just because it’s the only thing they know as received wisdom about being bisexual and they haven’t thought it through any further. Either way, it’s like being patted on the head and told to shush our silly little heads.

Now, one of the things we used to say and write on placards when I was first out and involved with my local bi youth group was “it’s not a phase!” (With variations like “It’s not a phase, it’s my life!” Or “It’s not just a phase.”)

Only I have to admit: sometimes it is. I’ve known people who for instance when I first met them were lesbians, had a time of identifying as bi, but these days if you asked them they’d most likely say they were straight.

Other mixtures other ways round – straight to bi to straight again, or bi to lesbian to bi again, or all round the houses like the slow bus that stops everywhere in a loop around your town. For those of us who are trans that bus route can include identities as gay, bi and straight in several genders. Or as it came to be described while talking to a friend the other night: I’ve lived through Pokemon sexuality!

The thing is though: people who are bisexual for the whole of their lives are bisexual for the whole of their lives. People who are bisexual for only part of their lives are bisexual for that part of their life.

And if you’re “only” bi for months or years or decades out of your life, where your head and heart are at that time are totally real. Those crushes? Real crushes. Those kisses? Real kisses. Those orgasms? Ho yus, And how. Ahem. Where was I?

Dismissing it as “just a phase” so something that doesn’t need to be taken as real? Well, being a teenager is a phase but it doesn’t stop you being a mardy git* for a few years. Being pregnant is a phase – a year from now you won’t be! – but a plan of just ignoring it and pretending it’s not happening isn’t a good idea.

Some of us are bi the whole of our lives, while for some people it’s a phase – yet if it’s a phase so is whatever comes before and whatever comes after and no-one dismisses those as “just phases”. So, while it looks less punchy on a placard, perhaps the answer to “It’s just a phase” is: “Well, maybe it will turn out to be a phase, but it’s the truth about who and where I am right now.”

* Technical medical term