Publication Date

2015

Abstract

The current research explored perceptions of disclosing the information of "I am gay", "I am heterosexual", and "I am a virgin" to a variety of audiences. Participants were 842 undergraduate students who evaluated the valence of each disclosure, listed the associated feelings, and rated the comfort of disclosing such information to various audiences (e.g., a family member, online community). Participants rated the statement consistent with their own sexual orientation as being significantly more positive. No significant difference was found between gay and heterosexual participants' ratings about disclosing virginity, and disclosure of virginity status was ranked as the most uncomfortable of the three disclosures. Both heterosexual and gay respondents indicated it would be more comfortable to disclose a heterosexual orientation than a gay one, despite gay participants rating a gay orientation as more positive. The audience ranked most to least comfortable to disclose varied with sexual orientation and disclosure content. Perceived closeness of audience was correlated with comfort of disclosure for known (family, partner, friend, colleague) audiences, but not professional (counsellor) or unknown (stranger, online) audiences. These findings are discussed with reference to the literature on "coming out", addressing important differences in the perceptions of in-group and out-group disclosure of sexual orientation, and sex-related personal information.

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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