The term comes out is used to describe when a person or organization publicly discloses that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. It can also refer to a person’s coming out process, which is the process of identifying as a member of the LGBT community to friends and family.
The first use of the phrase came out was in the context of a person making their social debut, such as at a party or on a television show: She came out of her shell when she started to talk about her past. The definition was later extended to mean a person publicly declaring their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is a form of self-disclosure that can be difficult and stressful for many people, but it can also be freeing and empowering.
It is often referred to as the coming out process, as it can be a lifelong journey. It is sometimes described as a journey because it is a repeated process, and every time an LGBT-identified person meets someone new—whether they are in a relationship or not—they have to decide whether or when to come out. The decision to come out can be influenced by the situation, as well as by the person’s feelings and experiences with discrimination and prejudice.
Many people who are LGBT have found that the best way to come out is to do it gradually, rather than all at once. This allows them to ease into their new relationships with the support of close friends and family. It can also help them avoid the stress of living a double life, which can be exhausting and demoralizing. It is important for LGBT people to remember that they do not have to live in the closet, and it is a privilege to be able to come out.
There are also times when coming out is a necessary part of the political process: When a politician makes an unpopular position public, they may need to come out in order to make their supporters aware of this fact. Likewise, when an organization announces that they are in support of or against an issue, it is common for them to have to come out in order to clarify their position.
Some celebrities have also been known to come out on stage or in the media, including singers Gwen Stefani and Ellen DeGeneres and athletes like tennis player Jason Collins and WWE wrestler Darren Young. The television series Queer as Folk and the film Love, Simon were also notable for featuring prominently gay characters, which paved the way for other LGBT-themed media to be released.
Lastly, National Coming Out Day is an annual event celebrated on October 11 that encourages LGBT individuals and their allies to celebrate openness and be proud of who they are. In addition to celebrating, the day aims to educate people on how to be an ally and provides resources for LGBT communities. To learn more, visit the National Coming Out Project.