Telling others about one's sexual orientation is often a difficult process for many individuals, but it can also be empowering. Although "coming out" and sharing this part of your personal identity involves risking rejection from family or friends, it also can mean feeling a sense of integrity about who you are and affirming your right to love whom you choose. Coming out is a continual process. Though some people feel anxious each time they come out, many others experience a sense of relief at not having to pretend or hide an important part of themselves. Frequently, gay, lesbian, and bisexual people have to weigh the costs and benefits of coming out to different people in different contexts; they may or may not feel safe sharing this information with their roommates, friends, family, potential employers, or faculty members, depending on a variety of factors.
"I have worked for many years to create a gay-friendly classroom in which students who perceive vast differences between themselves and others can work together. Reading novels and confronting new theoretical positions, we try to develop strategies for negotiating the sometimes rocky terrain of social and sexual differences in contemporary American life."
Marilyn Mumford, Presidential Professor of English
When people do decide to come out, it may be a way of letting important people know about a significant part of their identity, educating others or teaching respect for gays, lesbians and bisexuals, asking for acceptance or validation.
It is up to the individual to decide when and with whom to share such information. Respect for everybody's right to privacy is needed to provide an atmosphere that welcomes difference so that all students and staff can work, live and learn in a safe and accepting climate.
"It has been gratifying to be part of a change initiative that has from its very inception, involved students, faculty, and staff. The Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Concerns Office is the result of the work of many people; we hope to continue to work in productive coalition to enlarge and strengthen such support structures for lesbian/gay/bisexual/trangender students at Bucknell."
Cindy Peltier, Operations Manager, Bucknell Art Gallery