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Coming Out

The Coming Out Process

  • Coming Out: The term "coming out" refers to the process by which one accepts their sexual or gender identity. It also refers to the process by which one shares their sexual orientation or gender identity with others. Coming out is circular, not linear and it is a continual, life-long process. Because we live in a society that presumes everyone is heterosexual, the process starts again each time we meet a new acquaintance.

Points to Consider:

  • There are many stages in the coming out process, and the process is not exactly the same for every person.
  • Coming out does not solve all of an individual's problems; indeed, it may create new ones. Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of coming out is part of the process.
  • There are different levels of being out, and individuals may be out to some people but not to others.

Closeted:  I don't want you to know

Passing:  I assume you don't know

Covering:  I don't know what you know

Implicitly Out:  I'm gay, see it if you can

Explicitly Out:  I'm telling you I am gay

Publicly Out: See me as gay 

How Homophobia Hurts Us All

  • locks all people into rigid gender roles that inhibit creativity and self-expression.
  • limits our ability to form close, intimate relationships with members of one's own sex.
  • can be used to stigmatize, silence, and, on occasion, target people who are perceived or defined by others as lesbian or gay, but who are, in actuality, heterosexual.
  • heterosexism limits the idea of family.