process of revealing one's sexual orientation or other attributes
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.