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

  • Ketki RanadeEmail author


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.


Coming out Situated complexities Symbolic interactionism Identity 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tata Institute of Social SciencesMumbaiIndia

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