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Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are$
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Abigail C. Saguy

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190931650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190931650.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 28 January 2022

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

(p.10) 2 Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are

Abigail C. Saguy

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the origin of the term coming out to gay men in pre–World War II urban communities, who spoke of coming out into gay society. It recounts how, by the 1970s, coming out had become a political tactic by which people revealed their sexual orientation to friends, neighbors, and co-workers or—in the case of celebrities—more publicly via the mass media in an effort to challenge harmful stereotypes and gain sympathy. It reviews how, in the 1980s and 1990s, coming out was set up in explicit relation to the metaphor of the closet and how the mantra “Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are” became a demand for members of sexual minorities to declare their sexual orientation—bringing forth the “closet case” and “outing.” It considers critiques of the imperative to come out and arguments that gay men and lesbians have moved “beyond the closet.”

Keywords:   (LGBTQ+), coming out, Stonewall uprising, gay pride, personal politics, Queer Nation, closet case, outing, competing identities, stages of coming out

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