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The Impact of Coming Out on Mental Health

The impact of coming out on mental health is a topic worth exploring, as seen in https://www.cynthiafortlage.com/post/the-importance-of-being-visible. The stress and anxiety of hiding one's true self can take a toll on one's well-being. Reflecting on George Michael's story on Netflix, where he struggled to come out despite achieving global success with Wham, made me realize the torment of not being authentic must have weighed heavily on him every day. While my journey may not be as broad or far-reaching, it still resonates with anyone who has gone through the process of coming out.


Coming out is a complex and personal process that can have a significant impact on one's mental health. For some people, coming out can be a liberating and freeing experience that leads to improved mental health. However, for others, coming out can be a stressful and anxiety-provoking experience that can lead to negative mental health outcomes.


There are a number of factors that can influence the impact of coming out on mental health, including the individual's age, family and social support, and the cultural context in which they live. In general, however, research suggests that coming out can have a positive impact on mental health for many people.


One study, published in the journal "Psychological Science," found that LGB people who came out to their families and friends had lower levels of anxiety and depression than those who remained in the closet. The study also found that coming out was associated with increased self-esteem and life satisfaction.


Another study, published in the journal "Social Science & Medicine," found that LGB people who came out at work had lower levels of stress and burnout. The study also found that coming out was associated with increased job satisfaction and productivity.


Of course, not everyone who comes out experiences positive mental health outcomes. Some people may experience discrimination, rejection, or violence after coming out. This can lead to negative mental health outcomes, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


If you are considering coming out, it is important to weigh the potential risks and benefits. It is also important to have a strong support system in place, such as family, friends, or a therapist. If you do experience negative mental health outcomes after coming out, it is important to seek professional help.


My Personal Experience

I came out as trans when I was 50 years old. I was not lucky to have a supportive birth and marital family at first. I lost one set of close friends though. But so many friends stayed friends and I had so many new friends that I consider my coming out experience as positive overall. However, I still experienced anxiety and stress in the yeare leading up to coming out. I was worried about how my family and friends would react, and I was also worried about being discriminated against.


After I came out, I felt a sense of relief and liberation. The word we hear these days Trans Joy describes it so well. I was finally able to be myself, and I didn't have to worry about hiding my true identity anymore. My mental health improved significantly after coming out, and I felt more confident and self-assured.


I know that my experience is not the same for everyone. Some people experience negative mental health outcomes after coming out. However, I believe that the benefits of coming out outweigh the risks.


  • A study published in the journal "Pediatrics" found that transgender youth who had come out to their parents had lower levels of depression and anxiety than those who had not come out.

  • Another study, published in the journal "Transgender Health", found that transgender adults who had come out to their families and friends had lower levels of suicidal ideation and self-harm than those who had not come out.

  • A study by the Trevor Project found that transgender youth who had experienced discrimination or violence after coming out were more likely to report suicidal ideation and self-harm.

  • The National Center for Transgender Equality's 2015 survey found that 40% of transgender adults had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.


These studies suggest that coming out can have a positive impact on mental health for many transgender people. However, it is important to note that not everyone who comes out experiences positive outcomes. Some people may experience discrimination, rejection, or violence after coming out, which can lead to negative mental health outcomes.


If you are considering coming out, it is important to weigh the potential risks and benefits. It is also important to have a strong support system in place, such as family, friends, or a therapist. If you do experience negative mental health outcomes after coming out, it is important to seek professional help.


Resources

  • The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/: A national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.

  • GLAAD: https://www.glaad.org/: An organization that works to promote acceptance and understanding of LGBTQ people.

  • NAMI: https://www.nami.org/: The National Alliance on Mental Illness, a mental health advocacy organization.


If you are experiencing negative mental health outcomes after coming out, please reach out for help. There are many resources available to you, and you don't have to go through this alone.


If you face any obstacles in your work related to this topic or other gender-related topics, feel free to contact me at cynthiafortlage@cynthiafortlage.com for expert consulting and advice. I am always ready to offer my assistance.


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