Coming out is an act of love — of self-love, and of love for those around us. It has the power to bring us closer to friends and family, and it gives us the security of knowing that however people treat us, it’s because of who we really are.
Not that coming out isn’t still terrifying for most people, with the potential for real harm to occur. And while more and more LGBTQ+ people are experiencing coming out as a joyful confirmation that they’re unconditionally loved, still far too many experience the opposite: Real emotional, spiritual or physical violence — for simply being who they are.
For anyone contemplating coming out, a tremendous resource to start with is “Feeling Good About Yourself: A Guide to Coming Out” by Rev. Rembert S. Truluck, author of Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse.
Turning to the Bible itself, at least three Whosoever contributors have found stories that are relatable as coming-out journeys: The Transfiguration, Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and Joseph’s story of revealing himself to his family after their reversals of fortune.
And that’s just for starters. Here’s a sampling of the many pieces in our rich and evergreen Coming Out archives that depict the coming-out journey from a variety of personal perspectives:
- Nikko Espina’s journey of coming out to himself and his parents, with a little inspiration from Lady Gaga along the way, is the subject of “In My Blood: Born This Way and Worthy of Love.”
- “A Transgender Meditation on the Beatitudes” is Jennifer Hasler’s telling of the watershed moment in her coming out journey when she understood the Beatitudes to say “Blessed are the T, for they will be riotously celebrated in the Kingdom of God.”
- Alyce Keener’s Letters to Home series relates the joys and challenges of middle-age life as an out lesbian in the suburbs of a major Southern city.
- Coming out while heterosexually married and attending a conservative church is the subject of Dominica Applegate’s “What the LGBTQ+ Spiritual Journey Can Teach Anyone.“
- “Reclaiming Our Baptism, Remembering Who We Are” is Rev. Dwight Welch’s story of finding, in the memory of his baptism, the strength to be out and claim his Christian faith.
- In “The Case For Not Running,” Claire Murashima tells of her decision to follow a path that led to her becoming the first openly gay student body president at Calvin University, a conservative Christian college with no openly LGBTQ+ faculty or staff.
- “Out of the Closet and Into a Box” is Katharine Royal’s story of coming out as bisexual in a supportive heterosexual marriage only to run headlong into society’s preconceived notions about bisexuality.
- Leilani Fletcher witnesses a friend’s pain at being young, closeted and forced to return home from college to shelter in place with family during a pandemic in “Queer in Quarantine.”
- Coming out to a conservative Baptist and Republican college friend the summer after graduation is the subject of Lori Heine’s “Coming-Out-to-Shawnee Syndrome.”
- Becky Allison, a successful cardiologist and past president of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, tells how her coming-out journey included hearing the voice of God assure her that her transition was “The Way Out” of a lifetime of misery.
- A college student’s “Dance of Coming Out” begins with attending an on-campus “coming out dance” — at his girlfriend’s urging.
- Baseball-loving James C. Chappelle comes “Out at 45,” leaving his native Louisiana for Los Angeles in search of the life he’s been missing — and finds it.
- Afdhere Jama juggles his gay, Arab and Christian identities while “Out in Beirut” — with a little help from his gay, Arab and mostly Muslim friends.
- “Coming Out As a Sacrament in Argentina” is the story of Roman Catholic scientist Ariel Barrios Medina’s efforts to publish in his native country a U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter to parents of homosexuals — and in the process being outed to the entire nation.
- The story of how Dr. Richard Rossiter’s quest for authenticity after coming out forced him to leave the United Methodist Church for the Metropolitan Community Church is the subject of his book “Out With a Passion.”
- In “Buckets and Closets,” Rev. Suzie Chamness compares our deepest thoughts to water in a well and likens the coming out journey to raising a bucket of that water into the sunlight.
For these and more stories, essays and articles, visit our complete Coming Out archives.
An adult convert to Christianity who somehow managed to grow up largely unchurched in the South but was always a spiritual seeker, Lance Helms (he/him) was baptized at age 28 and since 2006 has been a member of Gentle Spirit Christian Church of Atlanta.