Sexuality is comprised of multiple orientations towards different sexes. The most commonly understood and known sexes may be heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality. However this does not fully represent the full spectrum of sexualities, for example A-sexual people may not experience sexual attraction to any sex.
Furthermore, pansexual people are attracted to any person regardless of sex or gender identity. It is important to stress this is a sample of all the sexes and identities currently explored within society. Sexual expression is a fluid concept. As such It can take considerable time to understand your own sexual identity, by understanding that sexuality is fluid its important to note that these preferences can change over time. You may be attracted to men, women, both or neither, there is no right or wrong answer.
Coming out is a very brave process and varies between each individual. The process of coming out refers to people from the LGBTQ+ community openly expressing their sexual orientation or gender identity with friends, family and wider society. The purpose of this process is to help an individual feel more secure and validated within themselves. When deciding to come out there are multiple factors to consider. The first being that this is a lifelong process as you may need to disclose this while interacting with society as a whole.
There's a big difference between coming out, and coming out to yourself. I came out to myself when I was single-digit aged. But for whatever reason in my brain that was broken from being a queer kid in a straight world, I didn't think I would ever be allowed to integrate that part of myself into the whole. That is, until there was someone who actually liked me back.
Coming out represents a critical step forward for a LGBTQ+ person to share with others their true self, without having to hide or conceal shamefully. This journey has numerous pros and cons, for example the ability to live life honestly is a liberating feeling that allows an individual to build self-esteem and confidence.
This has an added benefit of helping an individual develop deeper and meaningful relationships with family and friends. Community is a big part of the coming out process, this gives LGBTQ+ individuals an opportunity to connect and relate to other people within their community.
Every journey presents obstacles that an individual must contend with while coming out. Not every friend or family member will be accepting or understanding of your decision, these relationships may be irreversibly changed. Additionally, this may lead to the loss of financial and emotional support from relatives. These are some examples of harassment and discrimination that an individual may experience within their close relationships. It is important to note this harassment and discrimination may occur in wider society also. This may be a hate crime.
Social media plays a significant role in the everyday lives of wider society. More now than ever, everyone's opinion or life story is accessible at the touch of a screen. It is estimated that there were more than 3.8 billion social media users across the world in 2020, with users averaging 40% of daily time to internet usage.
It is clear why LGBTQ_ communities utilise social media as a way to connect with similar individuals. Looking more specifically at how this affects the coming out process it is apparent that LGBTQ+ content creators inspire others to speak out on their stories by talking about their specific issues.
Despite social media's ability to connect with people it is still associated with lower self-esteem and loneliness this is especially true for LGBTQ_ individuals. Social media can attract hateful and outspoken individuals that are ignorant and hostile to the challenges LGBTQ+ people face in everyday life, this especially includes the coming out process. This can be explained by social media corporations lack of protection for LGBTQ_ individuals.
Furthermore, these lack of protections leave LGBTQ+ people exposed and vulnerable to family members who may be unaware of their decision.