Coming out gay is the culmination of recognizing and embracing one's personal sexual identity. While for some this may not seem like such a big deal since overall negative attitudes towards gays have ameliorated somewhat in past decades, for others coming out as gay to oneself can and does cause great mental anguish.
Stereotypically in today's society heterosexuality is considered the healthy norm with any other practices, while perhaps accepted, not seen in such a positive light. Such views create a situation whereby coming out as gay can be tantamount to admitting a fault in oneself. In a society such as ours, bent on perfection, this can cause an individual to refuse to accept their personal sexual identity even to themselves.
Contrary to generally held - and it turns out incorrect - views, sexual orientation is not a choice. Scientific studies show sexual orientation to be the result of genetic or inborn hormonal factors, in other words resulting from biological makeup as example of which might be having blue eyes. It's not something that can be voluntarily changed, nor can it 'rub off' on another individual.
One of the first courses of action mental health experts suggest following when treating a person suffering from mental anguish, is to get in touch with their feelings, to get in touch with themself. Those with gay coming out stories often relate that recognizing and being true to their sexual identity both to themselves and coming out gay to friends, family and even co-workers allowed them to live a more fulfilling life. Where previous to coming out as gay the constraints of pretending to be other than gay made life unbearable, after coming out gay individuals experienced higher self-esteem and as a result - better mental health.
Coming out as gay encompasses various facets of a person's life. For some recognizing that they are gay and attaining self-acceptance of that fact can be difficult to achieve. Widespread education as to the biological causes of sexual orientation would go a long way towards solving such a dilemma. This is particularly important for young people dealing with hormone arousal and the reality of their true sexual orientation whether that is gay or heterosexual. Once self-acceptance has been achieved, then the question becomes when and/or who to come out to next.
We all need the comfort of being accepted for who we are and to this end support groups exist for just about every issue out there. Once coming out gay, an individual can access the web or local groups to find other gays and the sharing of similar experiences, through gay coming out stories can be helpful in dealing with whatever feelings an individual might be experiencing. Being with people who think, act and feel the same way can sometimes make all the difference in the world. Exchanging gay coming out stories can provide a wonderful, cathartic therapy as well as supplying an individual who is feeling as though they are the only one on the planet feeling or thinking a certain way, with the knowledge that they are perfectly normal, and many others are reacting the same way. What a relief that can be to know!
Coming out gay publicly can have negative repercussions such as being ostracized by family and/or friends, employment loss, and even suffering bodily harm. Careful consideration should be given when planning on coming out gay to specific individuals.
Overall most who have followed the route of coming out gay agree that the benefits generally include increased self-esteem and empowerment due to adherence to personal integrity. These emotions are vital to good mental health. Good mental health provides the tools for a productive, satisfied individual capable of healthy social interactions and self-satisfaction is one's chosen life pursuits.