The Cass identity model is one of the fundamental theories of gay and lesbian identity development, developed in by Vivienne Cass.
Cass described a process of six stages of gay and Troiden homosexual identity development. While these stages are sequential, some people might revisit stages at different points in their lives.
In the first stage, Troiden homosexual confusionthe person is amazed to think of themselves as a gay person. The people typically feel confused and experience turmoil. To the question "Who am I? Possible responses can be: Men often keep emotional involvement separated from sexual contact; women often have deep, strongly emotional but non-sexual relationships. The possible needs can be: Will be allowed to be uncertain regarding sexual identity.
May find support in knowing that sexual behavior occurs along a spectrum.
May receive permission and encouragement to explore sexual identity as a normal experience like career identity and social identity. The second stage is called identity comparison.
In this stage, the person accepts the possibility being gay or lesbian and examines the wider implications of that tentative commitment. The task is to deal with the social alienation.
Will need information about sexual identity, lesbian, gay community resources, encouragement to talk about loss of heterosexual life expectations. May be permitted to keep some "heterosexual" identity as "not an all or none" issue. "Troiden homosexual" the third stage, identity tolerancethe person comes to the understanding they are "not the only one".
The person acknowledges they are likely gay or lesbian and seeks out other gay and lesbian people to combat feelings of Troiden homosexual. Increased commitment to being lesbian or gay.
The task is to decrease social alienation by seeking out lesbians and gays.