Last updated on: 4/24/2009 | Author:

Is Same-Sex Attraction a Passing Phase Some Young People Go Through?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

The Young People’s Sexual Health (YPSH), a UK based sexual health educational organization, wrote on Aug. 8, 2005 in the “sexuality” section of its website:

“Is it [homosexuality] a phase we go through? For some people yes, and for others no.

Some people do not have their first gay experience until they are well into adulthood. For others gay experiences may well be part of growing up. This is hardly surprising given that this a period of change in which young people find out who they are and what they want for themselves in adult life. Whatever your feelings, it is ok and perfectly normal, it is who you are!

Eventually all people who are gay realize that they are only attracted to members of the same sex and that this attraction is not going to go away and others who are straight realize that they are only attracted to members of the opposite sex, the same applies to those who are attracted to both sexes, whatever you feel is OK and perfectly normal.”

Aug. 8, 2005

PRO (yes)


Boys Under Attack, an advice website for teenage boys, stated in a 2004 column posted on its website, that:

“Every boy will experience a ‘gay’ phase in his life, especially during early puberty. Another name for this phase is ‘hero worship.’ It occurs because the boy’s developing mind subconsciously seeks other males to demonstrate the type of man the boy is going to develop into. The boy will have an intense interest in other males and will be captivated by aspects of the male he sees as valuable qualities to have. He will set the course for his life on the qualities he admires in his ‘heroes’.

‘Stuff’ is going to happen to every boy as you go through puberty which will make you wonder if you are gay.

You need to know that this is a normal development phase which every boy passes through. If you don’t have a clear understanding of this fact you could wrongly convince yourself that you are gay.

This is a time you should choose not to act on these impulses, because things can change a lot over a few years…. Nearly all boys will be able to make a list of unwanted private gay stuff that has happened in their life by the time they are an adult! This doesn’t mean you are gay.”



David van Gend, MBBS, Queensland Secretary of the World Federation of Doctors who Respect Human Life, said the following during an Aug. 4, 2004 speech addressing the National Marriage Forum, hosted at the Australian Federal Parliament Complex:

“The origins of homosexuality are likely to be a very complex interaction of nature and nurture, genetic vulnerabilities and cultural influences… But whatever its origins, the outcome of homosexuality is best understood as a very complex state of confusion over sexual identity…

The National Health and Social Life survey across the USA in 1994, the biggest and best study available, found that eight percent of 16-year-olds thought they were gay – but, significantly, that by age 18 only four percent still thought they were gay, and by age 25, only two percent still thought they were gay.

What that means is that most sexual confusion in school children clears away if left to itself. It doesn’t need therapy or counseling. It is a passing phase.”

Aug. 4, 2004


Dale O’Leary, freelance writer and lecturer, Richard Fitzgibbons, MD, Director of the Institute for Marital Healing, and Peter Kleponis, MA, Assistant Director of Comprehensive Counseling Services, wrote the following information in their Nov. 10, 2008 article titled “Same-sex Attraction in Adolescents,” published on the Mercatornet website:

“Encouraging adolescents with same-sex attractions to identify as gay has no scientific or ethical justification. On the contrary, it exposes them unnecessarily to a lifestyle with high and unacceptable health risks and a history they may regret as they mature and realize that their youthful attraction to the same sex was a passing phase…

Once a young man has exposed himself on the internet, whatever he has put up becomes part of the public record forever. The 15-year-old boy who realizes at 20 that his SSA [same-sex attraction] was just a phase of his life related to weaknesses in male confidence will have those pictures follow him for the rest of his life…

Given the substantial, well-documented risks involved in engaging in homosexual activity as an adolescent and since a certain percentage of males who experience SSA in adolescence find that these feelings disappear in time, schools should not encourage adolescent males to ‘come out,’ but, instead, offer positive support for addressing the serious emotional problems in these teenagers.”

Nov. 10, 2008

CON (no)


George A. Appleby, DSW, MSW, Professor of Social Work at Southern Connecticut University, and Jeane W. Anastas, PhD, MSW, Professor of Social Work at New York University Silver School of Social Work, wrote the following opinion in their 1998 book Not Just a Passing Phase: Social Work with Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People:

“The traditional standard response to a child or adolescent who expresses same-sex sexual attraction has been to immediately reassure the youngster that his or her feelings are ‘just a phase’ and that such feelings do not indicate the existence of a fixed homosexual orientation. But to always interpret adolescent same-sex sexual impulses as incidental… is a therapeutic error. Such a response also sends the message to the young person that to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual is an undesirable and inferior sexual orientation.”



Same Sex Attracted Youth (SSAY), a website project of Australia’s La Trobe University Research Centre in Sex Health and Society, wrote the following statements in “Outsmarting Homophobia” published on its website in Apr. 2007 as part of its Peers Outsmarting Homophobia (POSH) series of informational booklets:

“To say that homosexuality is a ‘phase’ is insulting because it implies that it is a confused lesser state and that only heterosexuality is the ‘real thing.’

For many young people, same sex sexual attractions are not a phase and they continue throughout their lives. Like young heterosexuals, they need their feelings and choices to be affirmed by those around them.”

Apr. 2007


Lisa M. Diamond, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah, wrote the following conclusions in her study titled “Was It a Phase? Young Women’s Relinquishment of Lesbian/Bisexual Identities Over a 5-Year Period,” published by Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in Nov. 2003:

“[My] findings… suggest that it is inappropriate to interpret [sexual] identity relinquishment as an admission that one’s previous sexual-minority identity was ‘wrong.’ Only one woman in the sample interpreted her prior sexual-minority identification as a phase, and even she acknowledged the possibility of same-sex sexuality in the future. The remaining women spoke in more complex terms about subtle changes and reassessments in other-sex and same-sex feelings and behaviors, and many expressed concern that their personal transformations might be misinterpreted as ‘proof’ that most self-identified lesbian/gay/bisexual youth are just confused about their sexuality… The fact that all of the women in the relinquish group… continued to experience same-sex attractions… suggests that same-sex desires are far less amenable to (conscious or unconscious) change than are behavior and identity. This mitigates against the success of therapies aimed at altering sexual minorities’ predispositions.”

Nov. 2003


The Ontario Public Health Association wrote in a June 2000 white paper “Improving the Access to and Quality of Public Health Services for Lesbians and Gay Men,” posted on its website,

“Contributing to the ongoing oppression of lesbians and gays are the myths and stereotypes that exist. These include the notion that… ‘its just a phase, she’ll/he’ll grow out of it.'”

June 2000