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Coming Out: When Micro Level Vulnerabilities lead to Macro Level Risk Open Access

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Exploratory projects have the capability to emerge new ways of understanding data. Non-traditional perspectives, like the intersectional-vulnerability standpoint used in this project, enable researchers to step back and look at experiences differently. At the beginning of this paper, I relate my experience of coming out as lesbian to the experience of coming out as a child witness of abuse in order to set the standard of how I conceptualize coming out. Coming out was an experience that connects LGBTQ people across the spectrum allowing me to use that experience to bring LGBTQ identities together. Assumptions about the coming out experience in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity are challenged and a new theory emerges. Related to coming out, the experience of getting out of an abusive relationship reflects parallel perceptions around fear, risk, and vulnerability. It is by building the bridge between researcher and participants that I was able to challenge bias and create a new idea about the coming out/getting out process for LGBTQ survivors.

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