Revealing sexuality

A person who comes out as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) will not necessarily feel happier as a consequence, new research has suggested. According to a study published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, the environment in which someone reveals their sexuality can play a part in their emotional wellbeing after the event.

Investigators from the University of Rochester and the University of Essex discovered individuals who come out in settings where they face stigma and discrimination are likely to endure a different experience than those in supportive surroundings.

Nicole Legate, a doctoral student at the University of Rochester - which has more than 200 academic majors and 9,300 students - said the study showed that environment plays "a huge role in determining when coming out actually makes you happier ... those who come out may actually feel no better than those who conceal".

The researchers also found that age, gender and sexual orientation made little difference in who does and does not reveal their sexual identity.

Dr Ceri Parsons, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Sexuality and an individual's experience of it is highly context-dependent so the nature of identifying oneself as lesbian, gay or bisexual will not be equivalent across the board.

"The experience of identifying as LGB in a liberal environment where perhaps there is a visible LGB community will differ markedly from that of an individual who comes out in a very conservative context."