The lives of gay men in the United States across time and generations are shaped by numerous burdens predicated on the challenge of coming out, a condition that permeates their lifetimes. After first realizing that they are gay, most spend much of their lives seeking the full integration of their gay identity with other aspects of their lives. These conditions create psychosocial burdens in the lives of gay men, which often engender risk and diminish health. Despite these life circumstances, which are rooted in the homophobia of American society, many gay men embody enormous grit and resilience, and their lives are indicative of both pride and dignity. While these psychological processes associated with coming out are somewhat consistent across the Stonewall, AIDS, and Queer generations, the advance in the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people have resulted in lives somewhat less burdened.
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