Identity, Relationships, and Culture: A Constitutive Model of Coming Out
For several decades, researchers across many disciplines have developed a large body of research exploring the topic of coming out. This research has provided many insights about what it means for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to acknowledge their sexualities and to share their sexual identities with others. As helpful as this research has been, little has been done to move scholarship toward a holistic theory of coming out. This chapter provides a step in that direction by offering a constitutive model of coming out. This three-level model proposes that culture informs a person’s viewpoints and personal acceptance regarding sexuality; and that both culture and a person’s personal viewpoints impact how sexual identities are shared with others. Data from qualitative research studies about coming out help to illustrate the concepts associated with the model.