Coming out (Sexual orientation), Gender identity, Heterosexism, Sexual minorities
This study uses a constructivist grounded theory approach to investigate the meaning of “coming out” for LGBQ individuals. Analysis of open-ended interviews with 30 LGBQ persons revealed three main themes. First, coming out does not have a universal meaning among LGBQ persons; rather, it varies on the basis of an individual’s experiences, social environment, and personal beliefs and values. Coming out is a transformative process, and an important element in identity formation and maintenance. Second, despite being attracted only to members of the same sex, ten interviewees engaged in a queer apologetic, a kind of identity compromise whereby individuals disclose a bisexual identity that they believe satisfies their personal attractions for only members of the same sex and society’s expectation that they be attracted to members of the opposite sex. Third, both gender conformity (e.g., female=feminine) and gender non-conformity (e.g., female=masculine) present unique challenges to coming out. Because they are assumed to be straight, gender conformists must make a more concerted effort to come out. Gender non-conformists may experience greater ease coming out broadly because they are “assumed gay,” but they also experience greater opposition from family and friends who resist gender non-conformity. This study provides important insight into the meaning of coming out as well the influences of heteronormativity and gender presentation on coming out. Implication and recommendations for future research are included.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Guittar, Nicholas A., "Out A Sociological Analysis Of Coming Out" (2011). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1934.