For gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, coming out to friends and family is often seen as a necessary step toward living an authentic life, and studies have shown that being open about one's sexuality may boost mental health. But new research finds that many people are out of the proverbial closet only partially — and that psychologically speaking, such partial disclosure is sometimes a savvy decision.
The research, which surveyed gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals recruited from online message boards, found that most of the volunteers were closeted in at least one area of their lives. Unsurprisingly, the participants hesitated to reveal their sexual identity in environments they judged as controlling and judgmental. About 69 percent said they were not open about their sexuality within their religious communities, for example, compared with only 13 percent who were not out to their friends.
My level of outness has varied with time and situation. It hasn't been all-or-nothing. Currently I think I am experiencing covert discrimination but can't prove it, because variable "outness" is true not only for LGBTQI folks but also for homophobes. People sometimes have to be closeted about their bigoted attitude, so you don't always know.....
Im not sure the article says anything most of us don't already know.
Interesting point of view: "The findings come just as the New York Times magazine highlighted in a June 16 article the push-and-pull of religion and sexuality for people who are gay but committed to evangelical faiths that do not accept homosexuality. In some cases, therapists find themselves in the position of counseling patients on how to stay in the closet in order to preserve their religious support system."
Sort of "Jesus loves you but the rest of us consider you a disgusting pervert".
Interesting. I think I came out to people on a need to know basis. I'm a very private person in general, so I don't really discuss my personal life with many people. The first person I came out to was by best friend at the time (who subsequently told her boyfriend, starting a breach in trust the eventually led to us no longer communicating). She was the person that I was closest to at the time, and I told her before I had even dated a woman, I just knew the feelings were there. Then after I got into a relationship, I told my mom and my sister, as they would be the two people most likely to meet someone I was dating. It just kind of happened organically with everyone else. My dad and brother found out when I brought my partner to my parents' house.
I think work is the one place that some gay people are most likely to be closeted. Although, I hate thinking of it as being "closeted." I've never been one to discuss my personal life too much in the workplace. I just like to keep work and home separate. But in addition to that, you just never know how someone will react to having a gay co-worker or employee, and nobody wants to lose their livelihood because someone doesn't want gay people in the workplace. Some companies have policies in place to prevent being fired based on sexual orientation, but we all know that people have ways of working around those policies if they really want you gone. So for me, work acquaintances have only found out if they ask me something directly regarding relationships. I always tell the truth when asked directly, so I don't really consider myself closeted. Like you, coming out hasn't been an all or nothing thing. It just happens when it happens.
I agree that outness is true for homophobes as well. It's amazing some of the things people will say or do when they don't think they're in "mixed" company. I'm sorry that you feel that you're being discriminated against. That's certainly never a good feeling.
I'm glad that I no longer have that cognitive dissonance going on between religion and my sexuality. I experienced that several years ago, when I was first coming to terms with being gay. Whenever I was going through a difficult time, my mother would say that maybe God was punishing me for being gay. Fortunately I wised up to that nonsense, but I still know plenty of gays and lesbians who still struggle with how to reconcile being both gay and religious.
The "Jesus loves you" quote at the bottom is funny but true. I ended a friendship with a woman I met in college. We were great friends (and I don't make friends easily), and kept in touch after we graduated. We had known each other for about 8 years when I came out to her. She is a devout Christian, and proceeded to tell me what the Bible says about homosexuality. She then told me that she loved me in spite of my being gay. I told her thanks, but no thanks. I don't need that kind of friendship. To me, that's comparable to someone saying they love me in spite of my being a woman, or being black, or being born in December. It just doesn't make sense for someone to say they love me in spite of me being exactly who I was born to be. It would be great if we could all come out in every area of our lives and never have to worry about any negative ramifications. Unfortunately, that's just not realistic in the world we live in.
Fine. I resolve to be a disgusting pervert for the rest of my life:) Seriously though, I can't really be in the closet because I look gay. It doesn't take any affectation. I just do. So I get the choice of either being a big fat faker, or being open. I choose the later.
I have known many evangelical folks who torture themselves over their homosexuality. I used to feel really sorry for them, but now they just irritate me. That might sound mean, but I just can't be friends with those types at this point in my life. I guess I am sour after seeing those situations over and over again since my 20's. Be straight or be gay, but I don't need to hear your bellyaching about it. You can bellyache to your made up god.
I'm about to start my period, btw:)
I was pretty surprised yesterday when Mel Gibson was outed.