The Faces Of Gay
Coming Out

So you're thinking about coming out?  That's huge!  Or maybe you're just exploring, or figuring it out?  In any case, it sounds like you're seeking truth, wanting to bring your life into alignment with who you truly are.  Congratulations!

This is a difficult journey for most people to take, and it's one you don't have to do on your own.  A professional coach can help you throughout the process.

Stages Of Accepting Being Gay

What's involved in accepting being gay?  Obviously, each person's experience is different.  Here's a paraphrasing of the often-referenced progression published in the Journal of Homosexuality (who knew? we have our own medical journal!) by Vivienne Cass in 1979.  Told below from a gay male perspective, this was found to apply to gay men and lesbians.

Stage 1 – I'm not gay.  This is not so much denial—there's no defensiveness—but rather a lack of awareness.  Pondering SexualityThe man (or boy) simply has no sense of being gay.  He may notice, I *do* sometimes think about other men.  I wonder/worry what that's about?

Stage 2 – I still don't think I'm gay, but I do have some sexual attraction to men.  Maybe, I've experimented a little or I've had anonymous sex with men, but it doesn't mean anything.  Many men in this stage have girlfriends or wives.  Some have satisfying sexual relationships with these women, which they can do because of romantic attraction to and love for them, rather than sexual attraction.  Some men choose to stop at this stage.

Stage 3Maybe I *am* gay.  I do feel "different".  Does this really fit me—this gay identity?  I'm not that happy about it but I have to be honest with myself.  Maybe I could try out a few gay events—go to a gay bar or dance club, or check out the gay and lesbian center.  Maybe I'll come out to a few close friends or trusted family members.

Stepping Out Of The ClosetStage 4OK, I've got it.  I'm gay.  I accept that.  It's time to find my own tribe.  Like the straight adolescent growing into his sexuality within our straight-supportive culture, the man may distance himself from his family or anyone else who can't accept him and begin bonding with those in the gay community, where he doesn't have to hear how his sexuality is unacceptable (to homophobes).

I will come out to many more people in my life.  I don't care what they think.  If they can't accept me for who I am, they can get out of my life.  The self hatred and anger which has been directed inward for so long is now directed outward toward anti-gay elements in our culture.

The man may feel like a kid in a candy store as he embraces a sexuality suppressed for years and allows himself fully to feel and indulge his attractions.  There's a danger that, without the support system our culture provides to pull straight teens out of this place, the man can become stuck in eternal adolescence.  I'm not finding the revolving-door, anonymous sex scene so fulfilling anymore.  I'm getting older.  I want a meaningful relationship.  Yet he can't seem to change.  It's not uncommon for this to continue into stage 5.

Stretching Into Your Sexual IdentityStage 5I'm proud of who I am as a gay man.  I'm still figuring out how to fit into a mostly-straight world.  Sometimes it's a struggle.  I still see so much rejection of gay people, and I also see more and more acceptance.  I'm pretty much completely out (except in any work, family, political, or religious environment where it's truly too hostile).

I want people to know I'm gay.  Maybe I try to stand out by finding a way to mention it, or by embracing everything rainbow.  I want to saturate myself with gay culture and what it means to be gay.  I read gay magazines and newspapers and make regular forays into the gay community.

I would really like to see more reflection in our mainstream media of gay people.  I get tired of seeing straight romance and sex everywhere—TV, movies, magazines, greeting cards.  Can't they show more positive gay roles?  The straight boys get a restaurant/bar chain called "Hooters".  Where's the one called "Bulges"?

The best activists come from stage 5.  Pissed off at the unfairness or simply wanting to make things better, they're passionate and fired up.  This stage may last a couple of years or more.Boyfriends

Stage 6I am a person.  My sexual/romantic orientation happens to be gay.  I'm comfortable in a mostly-straight world.  There are many homophobic straight (and gay!) people, and hetero-centric beliefs are an issue, AND there are a lot of loving people (straight and gay) who accept me for who I am.  I am largely at peace around my sexual identity.

You Are Not Alone

Know that you are not alone in how you feel or what you're experiencing.  There is a lot of support available.

I honor your courage.  Identifying with a romantic and sexual orientation other than straight takes courage in our culture.  Coming out is ultimately a joyous process for most people because they embrace their essence and learn to enjoy their true romantic and sexual feelings.

Have you said it out loud yet?  I'm gay. (or  I'm bi.  I'm queer.  I'm pansexual.)  Have you said it to a friend?  Are parents the really risky ones to tell?  Wherever you are in the process of accepting being gay and coming out, as your coach I can help you through it.  You really don't have to do it alone.  If you need good, strong support while you're taking these very positive and difficult steps, I can help you through all the ins and outs (no pun intended!) to discover the best way that is right for you and your situation.


Coaching is done on the phone, Gay Buddiesso it's discrete, convenient, and independent of your and my locations.  Together we can: shift your perspective to a positive one; evaluate possibilities and risks for telling others; look at any internalized homophobia you might have; and plan the overall path for the changes you want to make.  Each week we'll look at what's currently up for you, where you need to deepen your understanding, and where you're ready to move into action.  We can explore any resistance that comes up, and can brainstorm when you're looking for new paths.  And I'll warn you, I love living life, so we gotta' have fun and laugh during the sessions too!

If you want to talk further, and get on the path to accepting being gay, contact me.  Some of our most wonderful experiences of being human are through sexuality and romance.  Why wait?  Grab yours by the …never mind.  Imagine being gay and loving it!


Dan at Live Worms Gallery
Seize Truth
Dan Craft
San Francisco Bay Area