HomePhilippine Journal of Psychologyvol. 46 no. 2 (2013)

Developing and Managing One’s Sexual Identity: Coming Out Stories of Waray Gay Adolescents

Pierce S. Docena

Discipline: Psychology

 

Abstract:

 

 This study explored the coming out stories of nine self-identified Waray gay adolescents aged 17-20 years. Using the life story approach in studying how people make sense of their identity, the participants were asked to share their processes of coming out to themselves as young gay men and coming out to their parents as gay sons. Results showed that all the participants have recognized, labeled, and accepted themselves as gay; however, none of them directly disclosed their sexual identity to their parents because of their belief that their parents already knew they were gay and their fear of parental rejection. Their narratives revealed that beyond sexual identity development, sexual identity management was more central to their experiences as Waray gay adolescents. This challenging task stemmed from their family’s culture of silence toward sex and sexuality as well as their parents’ ambivalent heterosexism. Strategies in managing their sexual identity included reframing their situations and compensating for their sexual identity. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed in light of the important role of the family in how gay adolescents develop and manage their sexual identities.