The transformative potential of “coming out” narratives in young adults

Stefano Maltese


“Coming out” in the life of young adults is a challenging and transformative experience not only because it contributes to a process of the realization of sexual orientation and self identification, but also because it can trigger a critical and reflective process, the outcome of which may be a full subjectivation of life courses. This specific and crucial biographical event represents a transformative opportunity in accordance with Mezirow’s transformative learning theory not only with regard to the clarification of one’s sexual orientation but also to a full subjectivation of life courses, following a critical and reflective pattern. Within this framework, “coming out” can be understood and explored according to a transformative learning matrix, which helps to identify the steps followed and the changes occurred over time in the meaning perspectives homosexual individuals use to frame their understanding of reality.


transformative learning; critical reflection; self-determination.


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