This article is about the term describing nondisclosure of sexual behavior, sexual orientation or gender identity. For other uses, see Closet (disambiguation) and In the closet (disambiguation).
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Closeted and in the closet are metaphors used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and intersex (LGBTQI) people who have not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity and aspects thereof, including sexual identity and sexual behavior.
In late 20th century America, the closet had become a central metaphor for grasping the history and social dynamics of gay life. The notion of the closet is inseparable from the concept of coming out. The closet narrative sets up an implicit dualism between being "in" or being "out". Those who are "in" are often stigmatized as living false, unhappy lives.
In the early stages of the lesbian, gay or bisexual identity development process, people feel confused and experience turmoil. In 1993, Michelangelo Signorile wrote Queer in America, in which he explored the harm caused both to a closeted person and to society in general by being closeted.
Seidman, Meeks, and Traschen (1999) argue that "the closet" may be becoming an antiquated metaphor in the lives of modern day Americans for two reasons.
- Homosexuality is becoming increasingly normalized and the shame and secrecy often associated with it appears to be in decline.
- The metaphor of the closet hinges upon the notion that stigma management is a way of life. However, stigma management may actually be increasingly done situationally.
- A person who is in the closet may be disparagingly referred to as a "closet case".
- The Glass Closet (Harlow, 2006) refers to those who may not be out, even to themselves, but others can plainly see that they are, in fact, in the closet.
- Pagans who keeps their religious ideas secret are known as being "in the broom closet".
- Coming out
- Down-low (sexual slang)
- Ego-dystonic sexual orientation
- Gay community
- List of gay, lesbian or bisexual people
- List of transgender-related topics
- National Coming Out Day
- Religion and homosexuality
- The Closet (2001 film)
- Chauncey, George (1994). Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940. New York: Basic Books. Cited in Seidman 2003.
- Humphreys, L. (1970). Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. Chicago: Aldine.
- Kennedy, Elizabeth. "'But We Would Never Talk about It': The Structure of Lesbian Discretion in South Dakota, 1928-1933" in Inventing Lesbian Cultures in America, ed. Ellen Lewin (1996). Boston: Beacon Press. Cited in Seidman 2003.
- Seidman, Steven (2003). Beyond the Closet; The Transformation of Gay and Lesbian Life. ISBN 0-415-93207-6.
- Seidman, Steven, Meeks, Chet, and Traschen, Francie (1999), "Beyond the Closet? The Changing Social Meaning of Homosexuality in the United States." Sexualities 2 (1)
- ^ Seidman, Meeks, and Traschen (1999)
- ^ re-released in 2003 by University of Wisconsin Press, ISBN 0-299-19374-8
- Epistemology of the Closet (reprinted 1992) by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, ISBN 0-520-07874-8.
- Dossie Easton, Catherine A. Liszt, When Someone You Love Is Kinky, Greenery Press, 2000. ISBN 1-890159-23-9.
- Empty Closets - Coming Out Resources and a Safe Place to Chat
- The Human Rights Campaign's Coming Out Guides
- The Human Rights Campaign is the leading agency of the National Coming Out Project
- Coming Out Stories
- Coming Out Gay Stories and Videos
- The Closet Threshold - Dealing with sexuality issues
- Sexual orientation and society
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