Sexual Identity Development   Leave a comment

Within the adult development theories I found Cass’s (1979) model. It has a foundation in sexual identity development with the integration of psychological patterns as described in the six stages which was outlined. Each stage is a learning process. Each stage describes a learner’s actions, beliefs and emotional state. According to Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, “In stage theories, there is a stepwise upward movement, but it is not necessarily tied to chronological age…” (p. 306). I believe as an educator it is important to know these stages in light that it may help encourage students at different times within their learning process. In reviewing the different stages, I think it possible that one student could go through the stages differently than another. It is only in the last stage that identity is accepted socially as well also within as Bohan (1996) noted, “For lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals, “coming out” is the lifelong process of  embracing for oneself and disclosing to others one’s sexual orientation”  (Mohr & Fassinger, 2003, 482).

I can relate to the applications personally since I once held the societal label of lesbian. At fifteen years old I told my mother I was a lesbian and had a girlfriend and her response to me was, “That’s nice, but don’t close the door to boys because you never know.” The first stage is identity confusion. I went in confident into the conversation, but left with self-doubt in my sexuality identity. I went down the path she talked about, but in the end I needed to be true to myself in order to reach the final stage.


Jonathan J. M., Fassinger, R. E. (2003). Self-Acceptance and Self-Disclosure of Sexual Orientation in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults: An Attachment Perspective. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 50(4), 482-495. Retrieved September 24, 2013, from,

Merriam, S.B., Caffarella, R.S. & Baumgartner, L.M. (2007). Learning in Adulthood: A   Comprehensive Guide (3rd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.




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