Stop making young queer people agonize by asking them the question “ARE YOU SURE IT’S NOT JUST A PHASE?”
Because here’s the thing.
IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS OR IS NOT “JUST A PHASE”
Labels like “lesbian” or “queer” or “gay” or “bisexual” etc. are there to help identify a person’s desires and needs as they wish to express them to OTHER PEOPLE AT ANY GIVEN POINT IN TIME.
In fact, there are many people who assumed that they were heterosexual, but later in life, found love with same sex partners. But of course, nobody says THEIR STRAIGHTNESS was “just a phase.”
"Just a phase" implies that sexual orientation is cut and dried, always and forever, a label you have to stick by and always identify with, or else. Which is just silly. Sexual orientation is a label. An identifier. Sexuality can change, and often times it does. "Just a phase" also implies that queerness is generally temporary, especially when followed by "what if you want children?" (a question that is also very silly, especially in this modern medical era!)
So really, it doesn’t matter if maybe right now a person identifies as “bisexual” or as “homosexual” or “gay” or “lesbian,” but might feel differently later. These are terms that are perfectly valid when applied to simply one’s present orientation, and whether or not these labels might change in the future is a moot point. Predicting the future is generally really hard. If a young person is coming out and coming to terms with queerness and their own complicated feelings re: sexuality, the least you could do is react in a way that doesn’t imply that sexuality is something that needs to be proven with age, time, and maturity.
We inundate our children with tales of heterosexual romance, images and stories featuring charming princess and princesses, barbie and ken, and “that just means he/she likes you.”If a young child’s affections for another (different gender) child are considered “cute,” “romantic,” and “valid,” a young person’s take on their own sexuality, queer or otherwise, is equally valid.
Sexuality, like many other personal identifiers, is something that can only be quantified by the person who is choosing to be labeled and identified as such.*
*This post, of course, discounts people who co-opt terms like “queer” and “lesbian” in a disrespectful way to mean something or apply to something it shouldn’t. Ex: straight, cis men who say that they are “really lesbians” in order to get in queer women’s pants