Sexuality and Culture

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 57–78 | Cite as

Coming out discourses of Asian American lesbians

  • Lusha Li
  • Myron Orleans


The authors examined the accounts of a small group of Asian American lesbians regarding their experiences forming their sexual identities. Discourse analysis and the social constructionist approach were applied to the subjects’ accounts of their coming out. Focus group subjects’ discussions were transcribed in order to depict the practices they employed to render their experiences meaningful to themselves and others. There was an internal dialectical process between the subjects’ subjective and objective reality, during which they came to terms with their subjective identity, or came out to themselves. There was also an external dialectical process between the subjects and society, during which they negotiated with their objective world for their subjective identity, or came out to the public in general and to their families in particular. The research suggests that in these dialectical processes, Asian cultural values and beliefs served as the means through which the conflict between the subjects’ interiority and their social networks was reconciled. The desire to reabsorb the subjects served to motivate the family members to work collaboratively to overcome cultural barriers to acceptance.


Sexual Orientation Sexual Identity Principal Researcher Asian American Woman Dialectical Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lusha Li
    • 1
  • Myron Orleans
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyCalifornia State University, FullertonFullerton

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