Navigating Remarkable Communication Experiences of Sexual Minorities investigates and theorizes the unique and crucial communication experiences of sexual minority people in a heteronormative society. Using qualitative and quantitative data, the authors examine messages and message processes of four communication experiences that have personal and relational impacts on lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people. The book identifies different scripts of coming out, strategies for sexual orientation disclosure and concealment, and common topics discussed by same-sex couples when making relationship revelation decisions. Data presented in this book shows that people communicate their sexual orientation in various ways, influencing their mental health and relationship outcomes. To explain why people create different coming out messages, the authors propose a Theory of Coming Out Message Production, which identifies personal, relational, cultural, and situational factors that affect LGB individuals’ sexual orientation disclosure. This book includes practical guidelines for LGB people to better prepare and enact difficult conversations in various relational contexts. Scholars of sexuality studies and communication studies will find this book particularly interesting.
Dr. Yachao Li is assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Department of Public Health at The College of New Jersey.
Dr. Jennifer A. Samp is professor of communication studies at the University of Georgia.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: “I Think I am Gay:” Revealing One’s Minority Sexual Orientation for the First Time
Chapter Three: “I love you, but I want to be whom I am:” LGB Individuals Coming Out to Heterosexual Romantic Partners
Chapter Four.: “Should We Hold Hands?” Discussing Relationship Disclosure with Same-Sex Partners
Chapter Five: “He is My Cousin:” Strategically Hiding Minority Sexual Orientation from Friends
Chapter Six: Theoretical Remark: Why Do People Communicate Their Sexual Orientation in Different Ways?
Chapter Seven: Practical Implications: Improving Communication Experiences for the LGB Community
Chapter Eight: Conclusion
For much too long coming out, both as a psychological process and as an interpersonal transaction, has been ignored in the communication studies literature. To that end, Navigating Remarkable Communication Experiences of Sexual Minorities makes substantial contributions to sexuality studies, interpersonal and health communication research, and psychological understandings of revealing and concealing sexual identities. From their bleeding-edge review of empirical coming out research to the development of their ‘Theory of Coming Out Message Production,’ Yachao Li and Jennifer Samp have created a monograph that is both an essential addition to any serious coming out researcher’s bookshelf and would make a welcome addition to seminars in interpersonal communication, health communication, or sexuality studies. This book gets my highest possible recommendation.
Li and Samp offer an ingenious, practical, and comprehensive account of the nuances, processes, and experiences of disclosing same-sex attraction and revealing lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) identities. Throughout, they identify core and often-neglected characteristics of coming out, such as disclosing same-sex relationships and coming out as LGB to heterosexual partners, and use these characteristics to develop the original ‘Theory of Coming Out Message Production.’ This book will make a necessary and significant contribution to research about disclosure and sexuality.
Navigating Remarkable Communication Experiences of Sexual Minorities is an extremely important social scientific work that examines everyday life experiences of sexual minorities such as identity negotiation, coming out process, close friendships, and relationships. Centralizing LGB experiences, this book is conceptually and methodologically meant to build on the historical and current landscape of interpersonal communication studies.