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Coming Out: Adult Resources
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Adult Resources

Empty Closets -- Online Guide to Coming Out. 
This section of EmptyClosets.com examines the common stages that a person typically goes through when coming out as lesbian, gay or bisexual. It is important to realize that everyone is unique and not everyone will follow these stages exactly how they are presented here. It is perfectly normal for a person to go through these stages in a different order or to even skip entire stages. It is also very common for a person to be going through multiple stages at one time. Everyone's situation is different and, therefore, everyone's process of coming out will be equally individual. The stages listed on this web site are offered as a guide so that you may know what to expect when coming out of the closet. The trick is to take this guide and apply it to your situation and your life. Again, everyone's coming out process will be different, and you should only do what seems best for you.

African American Lesbian And Gay History: An Exploration -- By Barbara Smith  . . . [S]cholars have uncovered valuable evidence of Black lesbian and gay existence before Stonewall, especially during the 1920s in Harlem. The analyses of this information, however, sometimes overlook important meanings, advance inaccurate interpretations, or fail to place Black lesbian and gay experience into the context of Black American life. The most distorting error is either to ignore or give inadequate weight to the realities of racism, segregation, and white supremacy as they shape African American lesbian and gay people's existences.

A Guide to Coming Out -- Being attracted to someone of the same sex can be frightening... so frightening that you may deny your feelings, or throw yourself into dating the opposite sex, just to prove you are not gay or lesbian.

All the facts about gay people
[Courtesy RFSL pamphlet "Lesbian and Gay -- The Swedish Way"]

Coming Out Introduction -- For too long we have been told that we must hide our homosexuality.  We have been asked to live a lie. We have been forced to lead double lives. We have been told by our homophobic society to deny who we really are and whom we really love.

DO YOU KNOW A LESBIAN? As women's organizations and other progressive groups endeavour to address the diversity of the Canadian community and to seek to open themselves to a broad range of concerns, a frequently invisible minority speaks out. We are lesbians. We are in most of your families. We are your daughters, your sisters, your friends and your mothers. You know us and love us, whether you realize it or not. We struggle alongside you, often on issues that touch your lives far more than they touch ours. As we have supported you, it is time for you to support us. 

The Coming Out of a Lesbian's Mother
This is the story of my learning and accepting that my daughter is a lesbian. I publish it here in the hope that 1) it will help other parents to accept their child's sexuality; 2) it will help young lesbians and gays to understand their parents' reactions to learning that their child is homosexual; and 3) it will be used by gays and lesbians who are just coming out as a conversation-starter with their parents, a way of saying "I'm gay and I desperately need you to understand."  It's a long essay. Please feel free to print it out to read at your leisure or to pass along to someone if you think it might help them to understand.

Resources from Parents And Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

PFLAG -- PFLAG's Vision
We, the parents, families and friends of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons, celebrate diversity and envision a society that embraces everyone, including those of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. Only with respect, dignity and equality for all will we reach our full potential as human beings, individually and collectively. PFLAG welcomes the participation and support of all who share in, and hope to realize this vision.

For Family and Friends -- If you're like many people, your first reaction to learning that your loved one is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered is "How will I ever handle this?" Most people aren't prepared for the words, "I'm gay."

Our Daughters & Sons: Q&A for Parents of GLBT People.  A booklet (in PDF format) produced by PFLAG.  Requires Adobe Acrobat viewer.

Other Publications by PFLAG
Our Trans Children

American Psychological Association: Q&A About Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality

Dos and Don'ts for Families & Friends

Find a PFLAG chapter near you 

Linda Villarosa
Former Executive Editor of Essence Magazine

"My imagination of how people were going to react was so much worse than the reality."

As an African-American lesbian, Linda Villarosa went through a similar learning experience. Confused and not sure about her sexual orientation, she did not explore her feelings because she was trying to fit into a white neighborhood and didn't want to do anything others could think of as wrong.

Finally, in college, "I came out because I couldn't stand not being myself any more." But then she went to work at Essence magazine and was again afraid to come out. "I think what happens when you're black is you feel your community is an oasis against some of the white racist people you know, and you become really afraid you're going to lose that."

But, once again, she found she couldn't stand hiding any more, and she took the chance: "My boss and I were in her car coming back from a weekend editorial retreat, and she was saying something about fixing me up with her brother-in-law. And I just blurted out, I'm a lesbian. She was embarrassed about the brother-in-law and very kind. And that Monday, I came out to just about everybody else at work, and everyone was fine."

A year later, she came out to seven million readers in a widely acclaimed Essence article she wrote with her mother and was later promoted to executive editor of the magazine.

FemmeNoir (c) 2004