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This Coming Out Day, Celebrate ‘Outness’ Without Creating Pressure
Friday, October 11 is National Coming Out Day, a widely recognized day dedicated to raising awareness for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer community.
Sara Burke is an assistant professor of psychology at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences who researches stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and experiences of stigma.
“Most of us have felt some pressure to hide things that mark us as ‘different.’ In many everyday situations, people are presumed to be heterosexual and cisgender, and revealing another identity risks social awkwardness or worse.
“National Coming Out Day celebrates disclosure in the face of pressure to conceal. Coming out relieves some of the stress of concealment, and it can help us feel more fully ‘seen’ by others. Plus, there are broad social benefits to the widespread visibility of sexual minorities (e.g., gay, lesbian, bisexual, and asexual people), transgender people, and people with nonbinary gender identities.
“But disclosure also carries the risk of social rejection, and if people we care about respond negatively, the experience may not feel so liberating. Therefore, the decision to disclose must be freely made.
“This Coming Out Day, let’s celebrate outness in a way that relieves the pressure to conceal without creating pressure to disclose for those who are not ready.”
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