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"Coming Out" Stories of Gay and Lesbian Young Adults

by Nicole E Rossi
Journal of Homosexuality ()
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Abstract

Gay and lesbian young adults (N = 53) were interviewed about coming out to their parents. Analyses of memory content were con-ducted. Hypotheses related to disclosure were largely supported. Participants typically first disclosed their sexual orientation to a friend. More participants came out to their mother than their father. When disclosure was made to both parents, mothers were told prior to fathers. Mothers were often told using direct methods, whereas fathers were typically informed using indirect methods. Mothers tended to inquire about their sons' sexuality; mothers inquired less with daughters. Findings are discussed in relation to autobiographical memory, sexuality, and clinical literatures. KEYWORDS gay, lesbian, young adult, disclosure, sexual orien-tation, narrative It just happened this past Sunday. Um, I was nervous obviously and I was just like alright I have to tell you guys something. So they stopped the car and I was just like I'm gay. Anyway my mom was like ok, do you have a girlfriend? And I said no. And my dad said how do you know? And then my mother started to cry a little bit. And um, and my dad was just smiling, and he's just like I kind of figured. My mom was like yeah, you dropped a lot of hints. And then I just said I don't want you guys to ignore this. And um, then they said what do you want us to do? And then my mom asked if I had any gay friends and um, if there was any clubs here or anything? And I told her about Alliance and um I told her that I have gay friends. And um, my dad's like I'll still love you kid. And then I just asked my mom how she would feel about telling the rest of the family and she said I think yeah. She said if this is what's gonna make you happy. So that's it yeah. (Participant #1051)

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