Review: Coming Out Stories Edited by Emma Goswell and Sam Walker

Coming Out Stories: Personal Experiences of Coming Out from Across the LGBTQ+ Spectrum


Based on the hugely popular Coming Out Stories podcast, this empowering, humorous and deeply honest book invites you to share one of the most important moments in many LGBTQ+ people’s lives.

“He told me being gay was nothing to be ashamed of.” – Bill

From JP coming out to his reflection in the mirror, to Jacob coming out to their Mum over email, from Christine knowing she was trans as a young child, to Kerry coming out as a lesbian in her late thirties, all of the real life stories in this book show you there is no right or wrong way to come out, whatever your age and whatever your background.

“I put my hands over my eyes as I told her, as I couldn’t bear to see her reaction.” – Olivia

Whether you’re gay, pan, queer, bi, trans, non-binary, or an ally, this uplifting go-to resource is filled with helpful advice and tips on what to expect, and inspirational quotes from leading LGBTQ+ figures, to help you live your life as your most authentic self. Welcome to the family!13

Coming Out Stories is a journey through history, social impact, and sometimes prejudice. Emma Goswell and Sam Walker tread a fine balance of famous quotes and real stories and difficult coming out memories and funny ones.

“You come across so many different people with so many different loves of Kink. It’s not just my choices; I’ll defend almost anybody’s choices, because if it’s not hurting anybody (without permission), then just run with it if it floats your boat!”

Charli, poly pansexual

I think every reader will look at this book in a different way the first time they read it and then give it five years or a decade and they will look at it in another way. There is a story, I think, for almost everybody. This includes the haters, the ignorant, and the plain ole’ heterosexual who lives under a rock.

Coming Out Stories can be used as a tool as to what not to do to rainbows and some helpful guidance for struggling rainbows. Almost everyone says the same thing: come out when you are ready, the first person you tell should be someone you trust, and make your own community. The overall message is: You are not alone.

“It’s going to be alright’. You are who you are and nothing’s going to ever change that. Find your people….”

Louise, lesbian

There is actually a story that fits me. I didn’t have a “coming out” story regarding liking humans (though as Mom will tell you I have a tendency to lean towards the ladies). I apparently was always coming home with some new girl I was going to marry starting at the age of five-years-old. I never put a label on anything and I hate doing so now. But I did have my “realization” that liking girls could be a serious thing while I was in the military. I came home on leave and told my Mom and it was like asking to pass the butter. She then went on to tell me about all of the girls I started asking to marry me when I was little. (I would insert my favorite emoji of hand to head if I could here (laugh).)

“Where’s my moment? I want my moment!” and no one gave a shit!

Kerry, lesbian

Olivia makes a great point in that what someone might say the first time you come out may not be what they really mean to say – especially parents (Loc 394). I find this to be true in relation to other areas of my life such as being kink or poly. 

Coming Out Stories is a journey through time and the present. There is a mix of stories from gay, transgender, poly, and they are quite the collection. I think the biggest favor that Goswell and Walker have done for rainbows is to let them know, over and over again, is that “You are not alone”. I am going to leave this review with my favorite quote from Coming Out Stories because this book is a salute to all rainbows.

“Why can’t we just accept that people are people and there are lots of shades of people and lots of shades of gender and it doesn’t matter?!”

Charli, poly pansexual

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Further Details:
Publisher:  Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 978-1787754959,  21 January 2021
Editors: Emma Goswell and Sam Walker
Pages: 240


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