The purpose of this study was to investigate coming out to family and friends and their relationships to shame, internalized heterosexism, lesbian identity, and perceived social support in Chinese lesbians from 2 different cultural settings—Mainland China (N = 244) and Hong Kong (N = 234). Results of structural equation modeling showed that, in both samples, a sense of shame was related to internalized heterosexism and a devaluation of one’s lesbian identity, which in turn was related to a decreased likelihood of coming out to others. Shame was also associated with a reduced perception of support from friends, which seemed in turn to exacerbate internalized heterosexism among lesbians. Family support was generally unrelated to outness, except for outness to friends in the Hong Kong sample. Results are discussed in relation to the cultural stigma attached to same-sex orientation and the cultural practice of shaming that parents use to socialize children. Copyright © 2010 American Psychological Association.
CitationChow, P. K.-Y., & Cheng, S.-T. (2010). Shame, internalized heterosexism, lesbian identity, and coming out to others: A comparative study of lesbians in mainland China and Hong Kong. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 57(1), 92-104.
- Internalized heterosexism
- Coming out to others
- Lesbian identity
- Chinese lesbians