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For those who are either LGBT or Q or (XYZ), how did you experience and handle grief and loss associated with the coming-out process?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) May 15th, 2010

In the chapter Lesbian Grief and Loss Issues of the Coming-Out Process, Carol A. Thompson writes, “As a lesbian psychotherapist, specializing in trauma and loss, I am interested in loss issues and ways to reframe loss as a normal process. In my work, I often see women in the process of coming out who are struggling with a variety of issues that contain a loss component. My belief is that lesbians are raised to value a heterosexual lifestyle, and that it is natural to grieve the loss of that value as part of the coming-out process. Additionally, lesbians lose the inherent rites and privileges of the majority position such as marriage, divorce, societal acceptance of the relationship, and the esteem of family and community. Finally, there is a broader loss that lesbians experience by virtue of often being isolated from the heterosexual community.”

Grief and loss may be associated with other things, too, such as feeling disconnect from family, friends, and religious traditions that are incompatible or non-accepting of homosexuality—regardless relationship status (i.e. identifying as gay while single or in a heterosexual relationship).

Coming-out does not need to be limited to the LGBTQ experience. Anyone who undergoes a process of differentiating and individuating from one’s family of origin and culture most likely will experience some form of grief and loss.

This question focuses specifically on the grieving process associated with coming-out as LGBTQ. If you’ve experienced grief and loss through this process, what was this like for you and how did you cope / recover?

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