From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"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!" --James Robison
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.
- Down-low (sexual slang)
- Ego-dystonic sexual orientation
- Intersex and LGBT
- Labeling theory
- List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people
- National Coming Out Day
- Questioning (sexuality and gender)
- Terminology of homosexuality