Book Cover for Coming Out As A Sacrament A sacrament is an act that mediates the grace and mystery of God. Coming out is a sacrament for GLBT people of faith because it sets us on a lifelong path of manifesting God’s grace in our lives.

Coming out is crucial to our spiritual development because it starts us on a journey of integrating our GLBT identity into our whole life. Or to say it another way:  embracing our GLBT identity is an invitation to go deeper in our spiritual journey.

Coming to terms with being part of the GLBT community—acknowledging who we truly are and have been created to be—is one of those “break-in” moments in our spiritual life. Break-in moments are those moments of invitation that happen throughout our life in which we catch glimpses of something more, something bigger in which we participate. In those moments we catch glimpses of our own divine nature: the true authentic self that is the image of God in us.

This true self gets layered over with the ‘stuff’ of life. Our true self in God’s image gets covered up with a false self, made up of our fear, our defence mechanisms, and our survival techniques. For GLBT people, part of that false self is an identity we try to live into based on our conditioning in a heterosexist culture.

We grow up with strong messages that are counter to our true selves. We accumulate layers of the false self trying to fit into a heterosexist ideal. When we come out, we let go of this false image and we begin the process of making room for our true self to emerge—the true self that God intended. We are engaged in the work of transformation.

A Central Theme

Chris Glaser, the author of Coming Out as Sacrament, claims that coming out is the central theme in the lives of GLBT people. He indicates that the expression has had its own history in gay and lesbian culture. Before World War II, ‘coming out’ was an initiatory event in which a person was introduced to gay society. It wasn’t until the  1960s that coming out began to be associated with hiding one’s sexual  orientation, most commonly referred to as ‘being in the closet.’ For Glaser, coming out is a ‘unique sacrament—a rite of vulnerability that reveals the sacred’ in the lives of Queer people of faith.