Homosexuals are people attracted to their own sex. Being homosexual is not just a physical matter, but entails the same need everybody has for a lasting and caring relationship. Coming-out means the process of disclosing one’s sexual orientation which is presumed as being not conform to societal norms. Thus, coming-out implies an “inner” coming-out and an “outer” coming-out. Inner coming-out means the phase of realizing one’s different sexual orientation, being different than others: “I am homosexual”. The outer coming-out describes the phase of disclosing one’s sexuality to other people. Even though someone might have realized one’s different sexual orientation, the person does not necessarily need to come-out to others.
The coming-out does not necessarily end up in living openly as a gay man, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person. Some may live openly; others may feel ashamed of their different sexual orientation or even hate themselves for being the way they are.
Homosexuals experience depending on culture and region various forms of defeat or even hostility toward their psychosexual identity. In some countries homosexuality still is prosecuted and can even lead to death penalty. The experience of defeat and/or hostility may have a negative impact on coming-out processes and consequently on self-awareness. Negative reactions of the environment may further cause stress, doubts, shame, fear, denial or even suicide. Coming-out is not restricted to juveniles; even older people might find out about their different sexual orientation and thus have a later coming-out.
Yet, particularly juveniles are at high risk in their coming-out since they might be in puberty which might be a state of crisis as well. Some parents might think that there is a “cure” for homosexuality. But gays, lesbians and transgender people do not “catch” their psycho-social identity, they do not invent it in order to attract attention or for any other reason. Bringing them to psychiatrists, physicians or churches cannot change their nature (see supposed causes of homosexuality
). It is likely to harm them for it is a sign of rejection. Homosexuality is not a sickness. Heterosexual people do not have a coming-out since their sexual orientation is not perceived as deviant: They do not need to come-out to their parents, friends or colleagues at the workplace. They do not take the risk of parents rejecting their child, friends turning away, sexual harassment at the workplace etc. because of their psycho-sexual identity. This lack of experience might make it difficult for them to understand the arduousness of coming-out.