In today’s society where it’s still a hush-hush thing to talk about the third gender, it is a very difficult and psychologically stressful process for the members belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community struggling between hiding or revealing their identities.


Coming out is a term which is used to describe the process through which LGBTQ people work to accept their sexual orientation or gender identity and communicate it openly with others.

Coming out is a highly personal and unique experience for everyone, and it takes a lot of courage. Coming out might make a person feel anything from being afraid and apprehensive to joyful and relieved. Years spent hiding one’s identity and orientation can make it really emotionally charging while revealing about oneself.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to coming out. It may feel better to be honest and upfront about your sexual orientation than to hide it, but there are a lot of things to consider before coming out.

  • Coming out is a process. Coming out to yourself is often the first step. This happens as you come to terms with your sexual orientation and accept it.  You may feel excited or anxious as you come to realize that the previously unacceptable feelings or the confusion that you may have had before now makes sense and is a part of yourself. Following that, you may choose to inform your family, friends, and neighbors – sometimes immediately, and sometimes later. You may choose to be open with some people but not with others in your life.
  • Coming out isn’t a one-time thing. Coming out is a continuous struggle since many individuals assume that everyone they encounter is heterosexual or straight. Every time an LGBTQ-identified person meets a new individual (friends, co-workers, nurses and doctors, etc), they have to determine whether to come out or not, when to come out, and how to come out.
  • Choosing to come out depends on the situation. Coming out may be liberating and bring you closer to the people you care about. However, it can be stressful, as well as harmful or dangerous. In some instances, you may feel safer not coming out. You do not have to be out and about all of the time. You have the power to choose what is best for you.
  • Coming out can have benefits and risks. There’s a lot to think about if you’re debating whether or not to come out. Is it possible that coming out puts you at risk of losing your family’s emotional and financial support? Is it possible that coming out may put you in danger? Will your relatives try to persuade you to change who you are? If you responded yes to any of these questions, you might want to postpone your decision until you’re in a better circumstance or have more assistance.

You and you alone, are in charge of your coming-out process. It’s entirely up to you to decide how, where, when, and with whom you share your sexual orientation and gender identity. It may feel safer to begin by being upfront with someone who shares your LGBTQ identity. This could be done on the internet, in community centers, at an LGBTQ club or group, or with a small group of close friends.


There is no single, correct way in coming out to your family and friends. You’re the expert on what feels right to you and who you can trust with your identity.

Here are some ideas that might help:

  • When you’ve decided to come out, set aside some time to practice how you’ll do it and what you’ll say.
  • Choose the person or people in your life who you believe will be the most accepting of the news and come out to them first. When the topic of LGBTQ persons comes up in conversation, you can often sense how friendly someone is to them.
  • Do some research so that you’ll be prepared if your loved one has questions or is unaware of the facts about being LGBTQ.
  • Rather than telling someone in person, you might feel more comfortable writing a letter or sending an e-mail. That’s perfectly OK.
  • Prepare to wait while the people process and accept the new knowledge after you’ve decided who you’ll come out to, what you’ll say to them, and how you’ll say it. Allow them the time they require.
  • Allow them the time they require. Some people will surprise you with their acceptance and openness, and many people already know and have some LGBTQ persons in their lives.


Changing one’s natal sex is a multi-step process that takes a long time to complete. Telling one’s family, friends, and coworkers; using a different name and pronouns; changing one’s name and/or sex on legal documents; dressing differently; hormone therapy; and sometimes (but not necessarily) one or more forms of surgery are all included in transitioning.

Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS), also called Gender Confirmation Surgery (GCS), refers to doctor-supervised surgical interventions, and is only one small part of transition.


The American Psychiatric Association published the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) in 2013, which revised the diagnosis criteria and replaced the old term “Gender Identity Disorder” with Gender Dysphoria. Gender dysphoria refers to a psychological distress that results from incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity. The need for a psychiatric diagnosis is debatable; given both psychiatric and medical organizations support customized medical treatment for gender dysphoria, such as hormones and/or surgeries. Some advocates for transgender argue that including Gender Dysphoria in the DSM is vital in order to advocate for health insurance that includes medically necessary treatment for transgender people.


Gender dysphoria may cause people to experience:

  • You may see a marked difference between your inner gender identity and assigned gender.
  • You may see a difference between your gender primary and secondary sex characteristics and your anticipated secondary sex characteristics.
  • A strong desire to get rid of primary and secondary sex characteristics because of the difference or a desire to prevent the development of anticipated secondary sex characteristics.
  • You may develop a strong desire for having the primary and secondary sex characteristics of the gender you identify with.
  • You may develop a strong desire to be of the other gender or a gender which is different from your assigned gender.
  • You may develop a strong desire to be treated as the other gender or a gender which is different from your assigned gender.
  • A strong belief that you have sentiments and reactions that are typical of the other gender or a different gender other than your assigned gender.
  • You may experience significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other areas of functioning.

Gender dysphoria can begin in childhood and last all the way through adolescence and adulthood (early onset). Alternatively, you may go through times where you are free of gender dysphoria, followed by a relapse of gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria can occur at any age, including during puberty and later in life (late onset).


Many aspects of life can be impaired by gender dysphoria. Being of a different gender than the one assigned often causes daily tasks to be disrupted. People with gender dysphoria may refuse to attend school because they are pressured to dress in a way that is associated with their sex or because they are afraid of being ridiculed or teased. Gender dysphoria can also make it difficult to operate in school or at job, leading to dropout or unemployment. Relationship problems are very prevalent. Anxiety, self-harm, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and other issues are all possible outcomes of gender dysphoria.

Discrimination is common for those with gender dysphoria, resulting in minority stress. Due to a lack of skilled practitioners and a fear of stigma, access to health and mental health treatments might be challenging.

Suicidal idealization, suicide attempts, and suicide may be a concern for adolescents and adults with gender dysphoria prior to gender reassignment. Suicide risk may also persist after gender reassignment.

Treatment for people with gender dysphoria includes assisting them in exploring their gender identity and identifying a gender role that is comfortable for them, thereby reducing distress. However, treatment must be tailored to the person. What may be beneficial to one individual may not be beneficial to another. Changes in gender expression and role, hormone medication, surgery, and behavioral therapy are all possible treatment options.


For an average person, life is hard, but imagine how much more difficult it is for a transgender or anyone belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community! They have to face hate, discrimination, and ignorance as well as go through transitioning and deal with feelings of isolation. We need to learn to accept them just the way they are and provide them with a safe space to come out and live their lives the way they truly are. Parents, siblings, relatives, and friends should be supportive to anyone who comes out as a different gender. It’s high time we start accepting people for who they are.


Masters in Psychology, 1st Division

Utkal University, Vani Vihar