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Coming Out

What is 'coming out'?

The term "coming out" (of the closet) refers to the life-long process of the development of a positive sexual orientation or gender identity. It is a very long and difficult struggle for many individuals because they often have to confront many homophobic, heterosexist, and transphobic attitudes and discriminatory practices along the way. Some LGBTQ individuals first need to struggle with their own negative stereotypes and feelings of internalized homophobia which they learned when they were growing up around similar attitudes and beliefs.

What might they be afraid of?
  • Rejection - loss of relationships
  • Gossip
  • Harassment/abuse
  • Being thrown out of their home
  • Having their lover/partner arrested
  • Loss of financial support
  • Losing their job
  • Physical violence
Why might LGBTQ Individuals want to come out to friends/relatives?
  • End the "hiding game"
  • Feel closer to those people
  • Be able to be "whole" around them
  • Stop wasting energy by hiding all the time
  • Feel like they have integrity
  • To make a statement that "gay is OK"
How might gays feel about their coming out to someone? Why?
  • Scared
  • Vulnerable
  • Relieved
  • Wondering how the person will react
  • Proud
What can we do or say when someone is coming out?
  • Be there for them
  • Support them unconditionally
  • Maintain Confidentiality
  • Provide a supportive and nurturing environment