I believe "coming out" is a process. It does not describe a sudden event. "coming out" usually move in the following stages:
1) Out to oneself (This is the harddest stage in my opinion)
2) Out to another GBLT (Less threat involved)
3) Out to close friends (Slightly more threat involved; as some of them might be gay-haters)
4) Out to colleagues
5) Out to parents
Of course, it does not mean that one has to out to everyone before he can be considered truely out. For discussion purposes, let's talk about "coming out" to oneself as the criterion for stating whether somewhere is out or in.. We can discuss other kinds of "coming out" later.
I came out pretty late in life, 28 to be exact.. Prior to that, I live in a denial for as long as I know.. One of the biggest obstacle for gays to out themselves is still:
1) Social unacceptance
2) Not enough platform for gays to find other gays for social support
However, with the availability of the Internet, "coming out" has become a much easier process.
The event triggering to my "coming out" can be described as "dramatic"..
I took one whole month of leave to study for an exam when I was at the age of 28.. And at that age, most of my friends had settled down in a marriage.. And suddenly, in that month itself, my social circle (which was provided by my colleagues when I was working) suddenly disappear.. For one whole long month.. I was all alone.. Just studying, studying and studying..
Nearing the exam, I bought the DVD for I Not Stupid.. After watching it, I cried out loud.. For reasons which I could not explain.. Other than:
1) My own social isolation..
2) Why am I studying so hard when no one will be celebrating my achievement with me?
It was only until then that I took up the courage to venture into the cyberspace.. To look for gay groups in Singapore.. The first group I joined was Adlus.. A sports group.. I used to play volleyball and Adlus does organise volleyball session every week.. And I started to turn up regularly.. And I started to have acquaintances..
To be continued..