Coming-Out Narratives Across Generations

Andy Dunlap, Elizabethtown College


This study is a thematic analysis of narratives about the coming-out process. Participants (N = 30) were part of a stratified random sample of a large data set generated from a research project investigating changes in the coming-out process over time. Participants were 15 women and 15 men from 5 age cohorts (ages 18 to 74) who self-identified as members of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) communities. Themes related to the struggles and rewards of going through the coming-out process are explored in these narratives. Organizing themes of those who figured it out in their heads and those who figured it out in their hearts emerged from this analysis and suggest two paths to coming out. Generational themes are also explored in this analysis. This study aims to provide contextualization to the diverse experiences of LGB people in the coming-out experience. © 2014 Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.