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  • Writer's pictureDeAnza Spaulding

National Coming Out Day

All across the globe millions of LGBTQ people have coming out on their minds. Either they have come out; are preparing to come out; have decided it not safe to come out; or are vacillating some place on the spectrum of coming out. A few years ago I did a study in Turkey with men who were making decisions about coming out. Our study had three cultural cohorts. These were men from Brazil, Turkey and Chicago. This is what we learned from them:

1) There is a costs-benefits analysis that people are engaging in their decisions to come out. People have to weigh risks and safety related to coming out. Depending on the context and environment this can be different. The individual is the expert on their decision of either coming out or not. They know what support they need; what risks are associated and whether or not it is safe in their work, their family, their community to come out.

2) Weighing the decision to come out has mental health impacts on people. People experience depression, anxiety, societal stigma and social isolation in this process.

3) Every coming out decision is unique and personal to the individual. There are no two coming out stories that are the same. It is every person's human right to determine where, when, how and with whom they come out to. It is also every person's human right to not come out if that is what is best for them.

Wherever you may be in this process may you know that you are beautiful and you are loved. Just as you are. You owe nothing to anyone in this process. There are people that believe in you and celebrate you. If you need support in this process here are some resources:

Human Rights Campaign:

The Trevor Project:

The TrevorLifeline: 1-866-488-7386

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