Coming out of the closet, sometimes known as "coming out," is a metaphor for LGBT people's self-disclosure of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is also used as a term for the act of revealing one's secret.
Coming out has many different meanings for different people. For some, it's a simple matter of saying something like, "I am gay." For others, it means acknowledging that they are part of a minority group within society. Some come out when they start dating again after being in the closet for years; others come out only when they tell their family and friends that they are gay or lesbian.
People come out at different times in their lives. The age at which someone comes out can be early 20s, late 40s, or anywhere in between. No matter what age you come out, though, remember that you will have feelings about it later on in life. You may feel proud of yourself for doing it, but you might also feel sad or afraid.
People often wonder why someone would want to come out. They think that it must be easy not to deal with the issues that come with being gay or lesbian, such as isolation or depression. But coming out doesn't fix those problems, it just makes them easier to bear.
Ultimatums aren't always the best solution, and if someone is locked in the closet, ultimatums won't necessarily help them come to grips with their situation. Some people feel powerful by being able to control who knows about their sexuality, and it is not your obligation to persuade them to come out. If they choose not to, that is their decision.
However, if you know that one of your friends is locked in the closet and needs help, the first thing you should do is ask if they want help. Sometimes people feel embarrassed or guilty and don't want anyone to know about their secret side. If they say no, then there are two options: try to talk them into changing their mind or accept that they are happy keeping their identity hidden from you and move on with your life.
If they say yes, the next step is to make sure that they know that you're willing to keep their secret. You should also discuss what would happen if they ever did decide to come out to the world. Would they still be your friend? Would they lose respect from others? Would they even be allowed to stay in school or work? These are all important questions to ask, but more importantly, they should be asked before taking steps to help someone escape from the closet.
Escape strategies can sometimes backfire and cause more problems than they solve.
Closet is derived from close, which, in both senses of "near" and "shut," is derived from the Latin claudere "to shut," which is also the root of hermit, someone who closes themself [sic] away. The closet is a highly evocative metaphorical setting. As the above explanation highlights, its meaning stems from the concept of seclusion. However, it can also indicate secrecy or anonymity.
In the 16th century, before closets were common, people kept their clothes in chests or racks. A rack for hanging clothes was called a closet.
Today, when someone says they are going "into the closet" to avoid talking to someone, they are saying that they do not want to deal with that person. The idea is that you hide in the closet so that the person will think you have gone away. If you want to escape completely, you can say that you are going into the attic or somewhere else out of sight.
The phrase "closet door" has a similar origin to the term "closet." Before doors were available, people used curtains or blankets as walls. Therefore, a closet was a space enclosed by something other than a frame -- usually hinged panels made of wood or metal.
People started using doors instead of curtains or blankets for privacy around 1750. By the late 19th century, closet doors had become common in American homes.
The closet might represent something you are hiding or something you have been avoiding sharing for a long time. If you hide in a closet, it's possible that you're attempting to shield yourself from harm. It's time to let the world know who you really are, since you can't preserve this persona forever. Or maybe you're trying to keep something shameful out of sight. Either way, you would see what's in the closet and deal with it.
Hiding things in closets makes them harder to find. This idea comes up again and again in myths and stories. For example, when Odysseus returns home after being away for ten years, he finds everything exactly where it was when he went away. Only then does he learn about all the events that have happened during his absence. Even though he knows what's in the closet, he doesn't open it until much later. Then he is shocked to discover that his wife has been acting like another person while he's been gone!
In other words, don't try to solve problems by hiding them in closets. Instead, be honest and open with those you trust, so they can help you if needed.
One of the most common reasons people avoid coming out is fear of rejection from individuals they care about. You may be concerned that your family and friends will abandon you. Some family and friends are resistant to embracing a gay loved one, while others are ecstatic. The key is to understand that reactions vary depending on the person.
Outness and rejection are two very different things. Coming out means telling the world that you are gay. This may or may not result in rejection. Rejection can happen when you come out to someone who doesn't want to hear it (like a friend or parent). Or perhaps you feel rejected by your family member or friend after they find out you're gay. In either case, understanding why this has happened and what you can do to improve relations with these people is important.
Fear of discrimination based on sexual orientation can also prevent people from coming out. If you're worried about being fired from your job, for example, then you might try to hide your sexuality. But this could cause you other problems later on. For example, if you move to an area where same-sex marriage is legal but your employer does not provide health benefits for partners, then you could be left with no protection against illness or injury.
People also fear that their lives will be ruined if they come out. This is especially true for older gays who have built up their reputations over time in the gay community.