Sexuality in on a continuum and only you get to define it. Coming out is
part of a journey of identity formation, self understanding, and self-
acceptance. It is a very personal process. It usually happens in stages.
Each stage of coming out is very personal, and by no means does
everyone come out in the same way, or do they need to complete all the
Stage 1: Coming out to yourself
You begin to question your own identity: you may notice that you are attracted
to someone of the same sex. This is usually a very frightening moment, as you
begin to face the fact that you may not be accepted by the ones that you love.
At some point you begin to accept this and are able to tell yourself the truth.
Many people know that they have these feelings from a very young age, as
early as 5 years old, however they do not know what they mean. Others may
not notice these feelings to much later in life.
Stage 2: Coming out to someone else
Many of us feel like we have to tell someone about this personal realization. It may take hours, days or years before we are able to make this next step.Often, we do not know who to tell first. We may feel that a friend willunderstand. Some of us may feel comfortable enough to tell a family member;Many of us do not. We may choose to talk to a health professional such as acounselor or therapist. Many boys or men may feel more comfortable telling a girl or a woman, as they may feel they will be more accepted. Hopefully the first person we talk to will be accepting. If not, it may be even more difficult to tell the next person.
Stage 3: Coming out to small groups
At this point you might be ready to tell your family, or maybe a group of your
friends. You may start exploring ways to find other groups of gay people that
you may feel comfortable with. Depending on how old you are, will determine
the type of group you will look for. You will begin to find places that you feel
comfortable being yourself. You may feel the freedom that becomes with
being more open about yourself.
Stage 4: Coming out in public
This stage takes many forms. You may begin to consider coming out at work,
or in an organization that you belong to. If you have a partner, you may find
that you are feeling comfortable showing affection in public. Sometimes gay
people will go to destinations where there will be a lot of other people of the
same or similar sexual orientation. You might find that you are able to come
out at your place of worship. At this stage, it takes a lot of discernment where
it feels safe to be out and where it is not so safe. At this point, as everywhere
in these stages, the choice and risk is personal.
Stage 5: Coming out to the world
Some people may find they feel compelled to be out to the world, They might
decide that being out is a social and political issue, and that their own personal
integrity moves them to this step.
Help for the LGBT and Queer Community
Stages of Coming Out
Coming out Late in Life
Gay Sex Addiction
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