chapter  10
36 Pages

Coming O ut

V ^om ing ou t” may be the most commonly shared cultural experience defining the modern gay identity. It marks the beginning of openly transgressing beterosexually constructed categories of gender and sexuality. In its everyday usage, coming out or “coming out of the closet”

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means telling another person that one is gay. There is quite an extensive literature of coming out stories that includes novels (Vidal, 1948; Rechy, 1963; Warren, 1974; Holleran, 1978; Kramer, 1978; M aupin, 1978; Leavitt, 1986), plays (Crowley, 1968; Fierstein, 1983; Kushner, 1992a,b), autobiographies and biographies (Ackerley, 1968; Crisp, 1968; Brown, 1976; Kantrowitz, 1977; Duberman, 1991; Preston, 1991; Jarman, 1992; Liebman, 1992; Monette, 1992; Bawer, 1993; Hooven, 1993; Mass, 1994; Singer, 1994; White, 1994; Goldm an, 1995; isay, 1996), histories, jou rnalistic documentaries, and social com m entaries (Silverstein, 1981; Shilts, 1982, 1993; White, 1991; Rist, 1992; Signorile, 1993, 1997; Woods and Lucas, 1993; Browning, 1994; Duberman, 1994; Sullivan, 1995; Eskridge, 1996).