Introduction

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 218

As people begin to identify themselves as homosexual, they must deal with societal beliefs that this sexual preference is shameful, sinful, or pathological. From fear, often but not always justified, that revelation of homosexuality will lead to ostracism, many homosexuals keep their sexual preference secret from friends and family. Keeping...

(The entire section contains 218 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this "Coming Out" as a Literay Theme study guide. You'll get access to all of the "Coming Out" as a Literay Theme content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Summary
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

As people begin to identify themselves as homosexual, they must deal with societal beliefs that this sexual preference is shameful, sinful, or pathological. From fear, often but not always justified, that revelation of homosexuality will lead to ostracism, many homosexuals keep their sexual preference secret from friends and family. Keeping such a secret is often called living in the closet; to proclaim one’s homosexuality is to come out of the closet. In the cultural mainstream generally, history, religion, educational institutions, and cultural values and mores all maintain that people are naturally heterosexual and that homosexuality is a failing. As a result, homosexual women and men have powerful reasons not to acknowledge their sexual preferences. As the individual gay or lesbian begins to accept his or her identity, however, the coming out process becomes more compelling. In this sense, the metaphor of “coming out” is quite accurate, since coming out is a process of taking what is within (unspoken sexual identity) and bringing it out to the attention of others. Coming out can be difficult and dangerous, so many people live in the closet, acting as if they are attracted to members of the opposite sex. The distressing feelings of alienation that result from trying to be someone that one is not can motivate one to come out.

Illustration of PDF document

Download "Coming Out" as a Literay Theme Study Guide

Subscribe Now