Coming out  

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"I'm sick and tired of hearing about all of the radicals, and the perverts, and the liberals, and the leftists, and the Communists coming out of the closet! It's time for God's people to come out of the closet, out of the churches, and change America!" --Jerry Falwell

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Coming out of the closet" describes the voluntary public announcement of one's (primarily homosexual or bisexual) sexual orientation or gender identity.

Being "out" means not concealing one's sexual orientation. Being "outed" refers to having one's sexual orientation made public typically against one's wishes or without one's consent. "Outing" is the process of deliberately disclosing the sexuality of another who, presumably, wants to keep this information private.

Some people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or who otherwise might prefer same-gender sexual activities or relationships, have engaged in heterosexual activities or have had long-term heterosexual relationships, including marriage. Well known examples include Sir Elton John and Oscar Wilde.

Such apparently "heterosexual" behavior by people who would otherwise consider themselves gay or lesbian has often been regarded as part of being "in the closet" to create an illusion for acceptance by heterosexual surroundings. Imposed heterosexuals are to be distinguished from "out" bisexuals in long-term heterosexual relationships.

Others who are "in the closet" have no heterosexual contact and simply want to protect themselves from discrimination or rejection by not revealing their sexual orientation or attractions (see pronoun game). This is known as being on the "down-low" or "DL." This practice may be becoming less common as acceptance of homosexuality increases.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Coming out" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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