Gay men’s experiences coming out online : a qualitative study
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The current study employed qualitative methodology to investigate the experiences of 12 men who came out online, using Facebook. Analysis of coding data yielded several key themes. First, gay men discussed a range of experiences that influenced their online disclosure including homophobia, internalized homophobia, and previous salient sexual identity disclosures. Participants also commonly expressed a variety of goals and concerns about coming out online, including improving relationships and loss of friends. Finally, gay men identified several benefits to coming out on Facebook, including increased efficiency in coming out as compared to face-to-face disclosures, increased authenticity, and decreased ambiguity about their sexuality. Results are discussed within the context of literature on men’s coming-out experiences, men and masculinity and online identity management.