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Woman Upsets Her Gay Younger Sister By Claiming Her Own Lesbian Relationship Was Just ‘A Phase’


Human sexuality is far more complex than simply heterosexual and homosexual.

While people are figuring out their own sexuality and personal preferences, they may try different things they later decide aren’t their cup of tea.

A 19-year-old woman is dealing with the fallout of her own experimentation. She turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Redditor datingphasethrowawy asked:

“AITA for saying my lesbianism was a ‘phase’?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“So I started to explore my sexuality pretty late to people’s standards and only started dating when I moved out for uni at 18. I ended up getting pretty close with a girl who we’ll call Jane and we started dating.”

“I told Jane that I was exploring myself so it might not work out and she was totally cool with that. We dated for 5 months and I ‘took on’ the label of lesbian.”

“Turns out, I’m straight.”

“Jane and I broke up (we’re still super close) and that was that. I didn’t explain it all to my family, but they knew I was experimenting.”

“Well, my sister (17) came out yesterday as lesbian and my mum brought up that I am lesbian. I corrected her and said ‘actually I was just experimenting- it was more of a phase. I’m straight’.”

“I didn’t think anything of it and we continued on with our day. It wasn’t until earlier today that my mum called me down and had a go at me for saying my lesbianism was a phase and that my sister got really upset that I was ‘mocking her sexuality’.”

“My mum then insisted I write an apology letter to my sister and started sending me articles on how to be a better ally. I’ve tried apologising to my sister, but she’s really milking this (IMO).”


Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors were not of one mind in their response, but ultimately decided the OP was unintentionally the a**hole for her choice of wording. 

“Uh oh. That wasn’t great huh. I’m going nah, if you explain yourself in some way and apologize for your mistake because it’s not that hard to do.”

“Phase is a heavy word when talking about coming out and sexuality and is regularly used to dismiss people’s identity.”

“I don’t think you’d be in this mess if you’d just said you’d been experimenting and it turns out you’re straight or something but yeah…”

“Explaining you’re happy she knows who she is, explaining you’ve been on a journey to figure out the same, and explaining you understand that your journeys are different and that you now understand why the word phase freaked her out is easy and in my opinion worth your time to make your sister feel better and get mom off your back….” ~ OilSeeYouL8er

“This. I was gonna say NTA, but noted that using the word ‘phase’ is probably what set them off.”

“If OP had just said ‘experimenting’ or something, I believe that things might have gone differently for her (though I don’t know the right words to use).” ~ Reddit

“[I think] ‘getting to know myself’ might work. There are no trigger words and it emphasizes it’s a personal journey not a shared experience?” ~ OilSeeYouL8er

“Ya that works I think. Immediately when I saw ‘phase’ I assumed that was the trigger word.” ~ Reddit

“It set me off a bit, but it didn’t seem said with malice, fortunately. Just sent me back to my mom saying my sexuality is just a phase.” ~ rebekah_sucks

“As I’m gay I can confirm I cringed at the title and the way it was said. Please don’t use the word phase.”

“I’ve had people say that to me when I was coming out and it sooo dismissive and belittling.”

“If you had just said experimenting it would have been fine, but it also wasn’t malicious on your part, so explain what you meant apologise for hurting her feelings and move on.”

“Everyone learns some way or another.” ~ ooiprocs

“I get it’s sh*tty to call it a phase for someone else. Aboustley.”

“But I don’t see how it’s sh*tty for OP to describe herself as having a phase if that’s honestly how she felt?”

“It’s not actually a bad word. I get why it’s loaded as it can be dismissive like saying that it’s temporary and not real.”

“But it sounds like OP felt her own period of identifying as a lesbian was temporary and not real to her.”

“She is not mocking her sister’s sexuality. She was talking about her own.”

“Her sister hadn’t even come out and OP had no idea when she tried a lesbian identity for almost half a year, dated a woman, etc… This had nothing to do with her sister. And it’s not a reproach on her sister.”

“I don’t think OP did anything wrong. Sure, you can always be more extra sensitive.”

“But I think sister’s response here really isn’t great. She’s still upset at OP for OP describing OP’s own sexual past in a way that felt honest to OP and wasn’t malicious?”

“It feels a lot like sister is the one judging OP here. OP’s not allowed to feel like she had a phase, since sister isn’t have one.” ~ TheHatOnTheCat

“I agree the word technically fits, but because the word ‘phase’ has been historically used to invalidate LGBTQ experiences, it’s best not to use it so as not to give the homophobes reason to doubt LGBT identities.”

“Does that make sense?” ~ Reddit

“INFO OP: were you attracted to Jane? Is it possible you are just… bi or something?”

“If not that’s totally fine and valid. It’s just hard to imagine dating somebody for half a year without being attracted?”

“You don’t have to be gay or straight, I just wonder if a bit of self reflection might be useful but if I’m out of line here I apologise- you know yourself best.”

“Unfortunately defending your straightness right away probably cut your sister a bit when she might’ve thought you were a bit more open. I don’t think you intended that at all however I think an apology might be needed.”

“Like others suggested it’s the phase wording that doesn’t sit right, it seems dismissive of yourself, past same sex relationships and your sister probably thought you were dismissing her too.” ~ blacklabyrinthx

“You’d have honestly been fine if you hadn’t used the word phase. Experminting, discovering yourself, figuring your sexuality out, all would have been much better options.”

“Gay people do not chose to be gay, and the fact that ‘its just a phase’ is used so often to undermine them, has likely played a huge role in why this blew up.”

“Don’t get me wrong. You clearly weren’t trying to be malicious, but you did manage to put your foot in your mouth pretty bad.”

“Hopefully things will cool down and you can better explain to your sister what you meant and that this was a learning experience for how our words can have unintended consequences.” ~ l3gion-1183

“Mild YTA. I understand you meant no harm, but that was really not a useful way to put it.”

“The whole ‘phase’ has an ugly history. Might have been better to write it off as a ‘less-than-successful experiment’.” ~ EvenSpoonier

Redditors—whether they gave OP the benefit of assuming her intention wasn’t to be dismissive of her sister’s sexuality or ruled her the a**hole—all identified the word phase as problematic.

Since the word is often used as a way to invalidate LGBTQ+ people, it’s best OP learn not to use it even if she is referring only to herself. Her younger sister wasn’t the only person who had a bad response to her choice of wording.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.