Developing a Positive Identity

Stage-One: Pre-awareness

Stage Two: Encountering

Stage Three: Immersion/Emersion

Stage Four: Internalization

Stage Five: Synthesis/Commitment

Obstacles to Overcome in Developing a Positive Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Identity

Silence: few openly "out” role models; little sense of lesbian and gay history/culture; invisibility of gay/lesbian contributions to history

Lies: distorted Images and stereotypes/myths by news media, church, TV/films; lack of accurate/responsible research.

Isolation:  without the freedom to gather or be open, gays and lesbians cannot easily share ideas and strategize ways to combat heterosexism and homophobic oppression

Intimidation:  as lesbians and gays become more open, society becomes more overt: in ridiculing, jokes, legal threats of attack, prison, blackmail, custody battles, job loss, eviction.

Physical violence: assaults; rape; murder; electro shock therapy

Denial of basic civil rights: employment; housing; child custody; freedom of association/assembly; freedom of speech.