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Issues & Advice
Coming Out
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Coming Out

Coming out to other gay people

Most people would agree that the support of other gay people is an important part of the coming out process. For some, their first sexual experience represents a profoundly important moment in the coming out process. Other individuals have perhaps acted upon their gay feelings long before they were able to clearly identify them as such.

There continues to be some gay people who are very reluctant to share the truth about their sexuality with other gay men and lesbians. In a very few instances their fears and senses of jeopardy may be justified. But one must question when some fearful gay individuals go so far as to participate in the worst "fag or dyke" jokes in the office, to speak out against gay people and gay rights at meetings, or to avoid having any gay friends. In the coming out process, we need to overcome our fears of one another.

Clearly, each individual has the right to decide how and to what extent -- if any -- he or she will relate to the gay and lesbian movement, become involved in the gay subculture, or identify publicly or privately with other lesbian and gay men. One does not have to conform to any particular stereotypes, fads, or subcultural expectations. One does not have to expect that she or he will feel deep bonds of friendship with every gay person one meets. In the coming out process, one does not need to abandon non-gay friends, one's existing lifestyle, or anything else. Coming out implies making decisions about one's lifestyle and recognizing that each and every individual has both the right and the need to make such decisions for herself or himself.

But the fact remains that gay and lesbian friends, organizations, church groups, and places have been a very important source of support for most of us as we dealt with the on-going process of coming out. Some gay people in small communities or in rural areas have experienced a particularly painful kind of isolation. Our friendship, regular communications by telephone and letter, and lesbian and gay publications of all kinds bear a particular significance for them as they come out in ways which are appropriate to their special personal situations.

Most gay people are very respectful of the reasons why some people must continue to keep their sexual orientation a very private matter. Most -- if not all of us -- would find it unthinkable to come out on behalf of someone else.

Related Links
C O A S OUT! Excellent site on 'coming out and staying out!' go!
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