Written by Joe Sunday, 24 June 2012 13:16
"Coming out of the closet" (very often shortened to "coming out" in winking reference to the public introduction of debutantes) describes the voluntary public announcement of one's (often homosexual or bisexual) sexual orientation, sexual attractions, gender identity, or paraphilia.
Being "out" means not concealing these characteristics. Being "outed" refers to having these characteristics made public typically against one's wishes or without one's consent. "Outing" is the process of deliberately disclosing these characteristics of another who presumably wants to keep this information private.
The Coming Out Process
Coming out has etiquette of its own, developed through the experiences of people who did it in a way they later decided was inappropriate and more stressful than it had to be. It is generally suggested to avoid coming out during holidays and at other stressful times, such as during an argument.
Coming out is a process, and often a gradual one. It is common to come out first to a trusted friend or family member, and wait to come out to others. Some people are out at work but not to their families, or vice-versa. Still, one does not typically "come out" and have it done with; one must continue to out oneself with every new acquaintance and in most new situations.
It is also common to hear the phrase coming out to oneself, meaning to acknowledge to oneself that one is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. This is the very first step in the coming-out process; it often involves soul-searching or a personal epiphany of some sort. Many gay, lesbian and transgender people go through a period prior to coming out when they believe their sexual orientation or behavior, or their cross-gender feelings to be "a phase", to be malleable, or when they reject their own feelings for religious or moral reasons. A tongue-in-cheek slang term applied to such individuals is 'fagnostic'. Coming out to oneself ends that period of ambiguity and begins the process of self-acceptance.
Some studies have found that the degree to which a person can be out in a large number of life situations seems to strongly correlate with lack of stress and freedom from neurosis.
All in all we gay people should realize that invisibility is a major obstacle toward changing public opinion, I urge we all gay people to come out. Realizing that invisibility was a major obstacle toward changing public opinion, I urge homosexuals to come out.
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