Coming out (of the closet)

The phrase “coming out” makes an allusion to the narrowness and confinement of a symbolic closet —the norms of a society that regards heterosexual, cisgender and binary life and love models as the only possible option. Coming out, therefore, represents the step someone takes in order to live their own sexual or gender identity, and to disclose it to other people. That being so, it is possible to make a distinction between an internal and an external coming out. 

The internal coming out describes what a person goes through in order to recognise and accept themselves. It represents the end of a frequently long self-knowledge process. The external coming out is the step a person takes in order to present themselves to other people as their true selves. The external coming out is often made up of multiple steps. Most of the times, people first open themselves to their close ones, like their family or trusted friends, and then little by little to others. For most lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people and, in general, for those who do not fit in according to social norms regarding gender identity and sexuality, disclosing “it” to their parents and friends or e.g. in their working environment represents a huge step —a decision that often demands courage.