Secrets Are Out
What is coming out?
In the second half of the 19th century, various left-wing ideologies developed very actively, which contradicted generally accepted moral standards.
Against the background of all this, scientists, psychologists and writers, one by one, began to introduce to the masses the idea that “forbidden” love between people of the same sex is normal.
Of course, there was a lot of disapproval. At that time, they could have been fired from work and even sent to prison for such propaganda.
Nevertheless, the grain was sown, and since then an active movement has gradually begun across the planet to protect the rights of sexual minorities (LGBT):
- transgender people.
Thanks to this, many LGBT people today began to speak openly about their sexual preferences. Such public frankness was called coming out.
What does it mean to come out?
When a person for the first time realizes his/her non-standard orientation, it is always scary. To avoid condemnation and disapproval, many people hide the truth, pretend and do everything possible so that loved ones do not suspect anything. Only a few decide to live openly, not embarrassed by their feelings, and even declare this publicly.
Coming out is a voluntary recognition of belonging to a sexual minority.
Recently, society has become more loyal to such gender deviations. Accordingly, an increasing number of people decide to tell the truth. Frequent cases of coming out allowed specialists to divide it into two types:
- Revolutionary – when a person declares his/her identity to everyone at once. For example, to report “news”, a person gathers all his/her friends in one place – at a party or at a birthday. Famous personalities often voice their recognition in the media or social networks;
- Evolutionary – when the number of people who know the truth increases gradually. First, the closest are told about the secret, then the circle expands. This method is considered more delicate and not so traumatic.
The loudest coming outs
Many celebrities and even politicians have publicly recognized their affiliation with LGBT people. In 1988, British actor Ian McKellen (many know him as Gandolf from The Lord of the Rings) admitted his homosexuality on the radio station. In 2016, Twilight star Kristen Stewart announced her bisexuality.
In 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in his column on the Bloomberg Businessweek website: “Although I have never denied my orientation, I have never publicly recognized it so far. So let me be clear: I’m proud that I’m gay and I consider homosexuality one of the greatest gifts that God has given me. ”
Over the years, actress Judy Foster, singer Elton John, and even the famous Angela Davis performed coming outs. On November 6, 2014, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkevich wrote on his Twitter: “Proud to be gay”.
What is the meaning of coming out?
Opponents of come-outs or homophobic-minded people usually say something like: “Do it quietly in the basement, why announce your preferences to everyone?” Why is it so important for representatives of the LGBT movement to get out of the shadow? Human rights activists say that coming out is needed so that a gay, lesbian, bisexual or a person with an unconventional gender identity declares him/herself.
Visibility is a step towards legitimacy and acceptance. Thus, the revealed one emphasizes that he or she is a full-fledged representative of society and draws attention to the problems of people with the same orientation. When someone famous claims to be an LGBT person, this has a particularly strong effect. Although in this case, one cannot exclude the element of public relations and attracting attention.
LGBT-friendly psychologists emphasize the importance of come-outs to combat stigma. This allows the one who comes out to get rid of frustration and constant stress due to the need to hide. Also, coming out allows a person to feel more comfortable and accept him/herself for who he/she is.
Outing or forced coming out
Outing is when information about a person’s sexual orientation becomes public knowledge against his or her will. That is, someone intentionally informs the environment of the LGBT person about his or her orientation. This can be done in order to discredit a person if he or she is in a homophobic environment. Outing can also be unintentional, for example, someone from your close ones saw the corresponding entries in your personal diary or an unclosed person’s messenger.
How to come out?
Before coming out, make sure that you are sure that it is really necessary at this stage of your life. Do not forget about personal safety and weigh how this can change your life. Remember the importance of a coming out, because you do it primarily for yourself, and thereby express your civic position.
If you are going to come out in the family, for example, in front of parents, then consider their attitude to the topic of homosexuality. If it is negative, then you should not declare your orientation suddenly and abruptly. To smoothly move on to this topic, perhaps you should first prepare the context and try to change the negative attitudes of the loved one. Letting the parent read non-fiction books about homosexuality or gender identity, watch a movie together on this topic. The one who is about to come out also should also get acquainted with special literature in order to be able to answer questions if they arise.
Of course, the reaction of relatives can be unpredictable, therefore, if you, for example, are a minor, you’d better think in advance about where you can go to spend the night in the worst-case scenario.
If you intend to come out in front of colleagues, then also weigh the pros and cons. Perhaps you should start with a limited circle of people with whom you have a good relationship instead of making an announcement over the speakerphone.
It is recommended that you refrain from going out at work if this could pose a serious danger to you, for example, the prospect of losing your job, or it could have a serious impact on your professional life.
Coming out should be done in a sober memory and sound mind, remaining calm and firm, ready for any reaction to your statement.
Homophobically-minded communities and anti-gay activists usually criticize the idea of coming out. For example, the Christian organization Exodus International, which even established the “National Day Out of Homosexuality” in spite of the “National Day of Coming Out.” In 2013, the organization ceased operations. And their former leader officially apologized to the LGBT community, recognizing that changing sexual orientation is impossible.
The feminist community has a mixed attitude toward coming out. In particular, Queer-feminist Judith Butler, in her article “Imitation and Gender Disobedience”, argues that the gesture of revealing a secret is a kind of recognition of one’s otherness and exclusion from society. Thus, a person who comes out, according to Butler, seems to support that we live in a society where only heterosexual relationships are normal.
Symbols of coming out
The American artist Kate Haring created the official emblem of the Coming Out. This is a picture of a door and a man coming out of it. The unwritten anthem of the Coming Out is Diane Ross’ song “I’m coming out.”