process of disclosing one's sexual orientation or other identity attributes
Coming out of the closet, often shortened to coming out, is a metaphor for LGBT people's self-disclosure of their sexual orientation or of their gender identity.
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- The initial shock of coming out was strange and a bit uncomfortable. But after a few weeks, everything got so much better. The best way to describe it is that I simply felt light, free of a burdensome secret that was weighing on not only my mind but my entire being. After I was able to utter the words "I am gay" to other people, I was overcome with relief, as if saying those words purged built-in toxins from my body. I felt alive again. Healed from the inside. Renewed. Empowered.
- Connor Franta, "Note to Self" (2017), Chapter 21, "The other side of the closet" at p.236
- The common experience of being gay is deeply individual. You discover your sexual identity yourself, your closet is your own, your coming out is individual.
Coming out represents a decision to transform one's life from the inside out, choosing the natural over the conventional at great personal cost.
The process of coming out is harrowing, but it can leave in its wake an unshakable core of certainty of self.
Coming out is more than an acknowledgement, acceptance, or even announcement of one's sexual identity. It represents a continuing process founded on an act of compassion towards oneself - a compassion, alas, seldom shown by one's own family or friends, let alone society. That act is the acceptance of one's fundamental worth, including, and not despite, one's homosexuality, in the face of social condemnation and likely persecution. Coming out is the process through which one arrives at one's values the hard way, testing them against what one knows to be true about oneself. Gay men and lesbians must think about family, morality, nature, choice, freedom, and responsibility in ways most people never have to. Truly to come out, a gay person must become one of those human beings who, as psychiatrist Alice Miller writes, "wants to be true to themselves".
Each gay man and woman has to come to terms with his or her homosexuality, decide whether to accept it, deny it, or try to change it, and face the consequences of the choice.
- Michael Nava and Robert Dawidoff, "Created equal: Why gay rights matter to America" (1994), p.21, 25, 26-27, 34.
- Funny how unimportant being gay became once I told somebody. All I had to do was open up to my best friend, and when she accepted it I saw that I could as well.
- David Sedaris, "Calypso" (2018), Essay 10, "A modest proposal" at p.123
- I came out as gay to Scarlett first moment alone when she was recovering at the hospital. "I love you, Val" was all Scarlett said out loud, and her knowing gaze said everything else. I'd wanted to come out to my parents that afternoon too, but they spent so much time praying at my sister's bedside that I knew I should wait. A couple days after Scarlett was home, I knew I had to make my move so I could get everyone to adjust to our new normal instead of returning to our old normal, where I had to be closeted. I sat my parents down in the living room and came right out with false confidence. It was tricky to tell if they already knew. I had thought about all the times my father would say "He's a queer" as an insult or how my mother suspected any single older man must be gay if they weren't married with kids. There weren't any knowing gazes from my parents like there were with my sister. But there were lectures- lots and lots of lectures with the headline being that I'm doomed to damnation if I choose sinning over Christ. Will my parents still tell me I'm going to Hell once they discover it's my End Day? I'll get my answer soon.
- Adam Silvera, The First To Die At The End (2022). New York: Quill Tree Books, p. 452-453. From the POV of character Valentino Prince.