Coming out means potentially losing a lot. It is possible to lose one’s family (both immediate and extended), friends, home, job, etc. Coming out is never done without cost. At the very least, one’s self-image must be reinvented. This reinvention requires that part of one’s self-image must be changed, and part of that process is to grieve one or more losses. Each person grieves in his own way, but the stages of grief apply to most:
Denial: I am not different. This will be easy. Nothing will change except having sex with men rather than women. A relationship is a relationship, just different parts. No one needs to know, this is private.
Anger: This is not fair. This should not be happening to me. It messes up everything. People will not like me anymore. They will only see that I am gay and I can’t handle that. Why me? I did not ask for this. I don’t want it. I won’t do it.
Bargaining: I will only tell a few people. I will only have sex or be gay when I am out of town. I will only get sucked or do the fucking because that means I am not gay. I am not like that.
Depression: I don’t see a way to be happy. I can’t be gay. I can’t come out. I can’t stand this lie anymore. It is killing me. There is no happy ending for me.
Acceptance: It won’t be easy, but I will do what I have to do. I want to be happy; I want to be who I really am. I am worth it and people who love me will love me no matter what.
The loss can include loss of social status, loss of relatives and friends, loss of jobs, loss of church/religion, and loss of money. Each loss has its own process and consequence. Some men pay higher prices to be who they really are and live in integrity. For the vast majority, the journey is worth the price and they become much better, happier people. But it is crucial that the stages of grief be felt and expressed in whatever way is appropriate for each individual.