n Gender and Behaviour - Sexual orientation and disclosure : coming out narratives by young men and women in urban setting in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1596-9231


The purpose of this study is to understanding the process and experiences of coming out among young men and women in an urban setting in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Open ended individual interviews were conducted with ten participants. Content analysis was used to identify emerging themes. Four major themes emerged: feeling different and self-identification, gendered dimension of orientation, socio-cultural and religious context, expression of youth and freedom. Participants differed both in how much they disclose their sexual orientation and in the narrated experiences that follow from disclosure. Despite the very personal and private nature of coming out, sexual identities invariably seem to center around the complex relations between sexual expression, social, cultural, religious and political context. The expression of youth and freedom came as way of dealing with prejudice and barriers against gays and lesbians since most participants viewed coming out as a type of political activism in its own right.

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