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Exploring Identity Development and the Symbolic Meaning/s of ‘Coming Out’ in the Process of Identity Work

Chapter

Abstract

Psychological models of gay identity development consider the process of coming out to oneself and others (acknowledging for oneself and telling people of one’s same-sex sexual identity) as pivotal in the process of healthy identity development. However, I argue in this chapter that decisions related to coming out may be a very complex phenomenon, and may be located in situated complexities and a matrix of cultural, social, and interpersonal realities, that may not be linked with the level of self-acceptance or self-hatred and similar intrapsychic factors as suggested by some of the American psychological models. The chapter traces reasons and processes described by the study participants for disclosure or non-disclosure of their sexuality, and responses from their environment to the same using Goffman’s (1963) ideas of symbolic interactionism and stigma management.

Keywords

Coming out Situated complexities Symbolic interactionism Identity 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tata Institute of Social SciencesMumbaiIndia

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