The period from 2009 to now has been crucial for the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/ questioning, intersex, asexual, and others) community in India. Since then, members of this community have been fighting a constant battle in trying to gain access to basic human rights for themselves. While things are slowly but surely improving and the LGBTQIA + community is getting the attention that it deserves, they remain a community with overall poor health equity. On a daily basis, the community struggles with the psychologically complex decision of “coming out” or openly acknowledging their sexuality; whether to reveal, whom to reveal to, how much to reveal, and if they will get the desired acceptance; in short, coming out is a process that never ends.
In contemporary culture, coming out is defined as “revealing one’s sexual orientation as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or pan. Such a declaration can sometimes lead to problems with the individual’s family, employers, or friends and can therefore be a difficult step, even for those who accept and are comfortable with their sexual orientation. Some might say it’s easier to just remain silent.
But, closeted people frequently experience the inability to accept their individuality. The struggle to keep their homosexuality out of conscious awareness and public persona is very real, leading to high rates of mental health concerns within the community. Therefore, not coming out might be just as stressful, if not more, than coming out. Studies found that LGBTQ+ people who are struggling with self-acceptance also showed a high risk of increased incidences of serious depression, anxiety disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance addiction, and suicide in the community.