What Is, “Coming Out?”

We hear the term “coming out” all the time, and not just as it relates to sexual orientation. Coming out often refers to personal revelations about things outside the mainstream of our usual circles. It is often used in a humorous way, i.e. “I came out to my vegan friends that I had a steak for dinner.”

For those of us who have come out as gay, bi, trans, (or any minority sexual orientation or gender identity), humor is not the reaction we expect from those we tell. A loving, total acceptance is at the marvelous end of the scale; being disowned or ignored at the other. And more critically, we come out at different times, in very different ways, throughout our lives.

The first, major and fundamental outing is to ourselves. Some of us know from an early age and our families may also be aware. Others remain closeted for a lifetime, or in certain situations, like jobs, church, extended family and so on. I would guess that the majority fall somewhere in between. In acknowledging our true selves, we first argue, debate, attempt compromise, or even battle with our sexual attractions. If we do not win this battle, we will surely lose the war. Once we get comfortable with ourselves, we often discuss it with an ever-widening circle in our lives.

Today it may seem a great deal easier to accept ourselves, but this is not always the case. Our ability to accept ourselves is heavily influenced by so many factors: where we live, how religious we are, the community around us, and so much more. Let’s leave those issues for another discussion on another day! If you have the desire to work with our peer counselor or a therapist on coming out, reach out today.