Post-coming out complications

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Coming out-the act of disclosing an often-invisible and stigmatized identity-can be a turbulent interactional event (Defenbaugh, 2011; Myers, 2012). There are complications in deciding how and when to disclose, and there may be a variety of dilemmas tied to the disclosure process (Adams, 2011; Barton, 2012; Gray, 2009). Out-ness is not a one-time affair but is instead contingent upon relationship: I may be out as gay with my mother but not with the cashier at the grocery store; I may be out to some of my students but not all of them; and I may be out to my neighbor but not out to my neighbor’s cousin (see Halley, 1989; Sedgwick, 1990). While coming out is often a canonical and sometimes scarring event for persons with same-sex attraction, the turbulence and uncertainty within relationships tied to this attraction does not end with the initial disclosure; as Burgess (2005) observes, just because a person comes out about her or his same-sex attraction does not mean that the attraction will no longer be an issue.



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Critical Autoethnography: Intersecting Cultural Identities in Everyday Life

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