This phenomenological study explored the coming out experiences of individuals
who identify as lesbian or gay. The phenomenon of coming out was examined in
an effort to better understand the complexity of the coming out process.
Participants shared their general experiences in addition to what was helpful and
unhelpful through their journey. The findings revealed a complex definition of
coming out that includes two major components: personal development
(intrapersonal) and layers of disclosure (interpersonal). The data included what
was helpful and difficult in the coming out process in addition to
recommendations for counselors and clients.
Keywords: coming out, counseling, phenomenology