Stage Five: Identity Pride

If people move to Identity Pride, stage five in Cass’ model, they do so with an awareness of the difference between their acceptance of their own homosexuality and society’s rejection of it. There is a tendency to get angry, to split the world into gay and straight, and to respond to heterosexism by rejecting the dominant heterosexist culture. People may become active in the lesbian/gay community and spend the majority of their time with others who share their feelings and perspectives.

“Collette’s” drinking and political activity as a feminist have been deeply and passionately intertwined for many years. She angrily tells her counselor that he does not understand anything—no man can possibly understand her; no heterosexual can, either. She tells him that everyone she knows drinks the same way she does and that she cannot imagine how she can carry on her work as an activist without drinking. If she stops drinking, she will lose everything and everyone who means anything to her. Her counselor listens with concern and tries to empathize with her terror and rage in the face of what she believes is the loss of her whole way of life.