Sometimes, I’m not sure what I think about posts with blanket statements about things not being a phase.
Because they can be.
Don’t get me wrong. They also can not be. Some people know who and what they are from a very young age and it’s wonderful and there’s no need for phases. Some of us need a bit more time than that. Some of us need to experiment, and try on several labels before we can piece together that bits that make up us.
Neither is right or wrong. And it doesn’t make for as nice a label, icon, or t-shirt, no.
But… I don’t always think that everyone who thinks of themselves a certain way will say the same in ten years. Maybe they’ll experiment with gender, and find out that they do feel most comfortable as cis, but with a more genderfluid presentation. Maybe they’ll figure out that the heterosexuality that they thought they had was entirely due to socialization, and that actually they really are more comfortable in same-sex relationships. Maybe they’ll go completely to the other side, or end up back where they started, or end up somewhere in the middle and need to find their own ways to define themselves.
The point is, there is nothing at all wrong with phases. There is nothing at all wrong with certainties. There is nothing wrong with thinking you were certain about one thing, and changing your mind, or trying something, thinking it will pass, and ending up making it part of your long-term identity.
All of that is life. All of that is okay. And people should be free to try on as many labels as they need to, so they can find the ones that stick, whether that means falling into the right ones immediately, or trying on every last one they can find and seeing what works.
The best thing to do, that I can think of, is not to insist that things are phases or not phases at all. The best thing is to support, and educate, and be there for every part of the self-expressive and self-identifying journey.