Someone may be closeted around some individuals and not others. For example, if someone has told their friends about their sexuality or gender but not their parents, they would be "out of the closet" around their friends but "closeted" to their parents.
Some reasons someone might be closeted include the following:
- Safety; one may be stuck in a queerphobic family, community, and/or a location where queerness is illegal or punishable in some way.
- Unsure about their identity/experience; someone might be sure they are queer in some way, but have not discovered a label for themselves or are unsure about what they experience.
- Fear of acceptance; they might fear that they won't be accepted by friends and family.
- Internalized queerphobia; someone might be in denial/against their own experience/identity, and due to this, remains closeted as to convince themselves it "can't be true" while knowing subconsciously that it is.
Being closeted can have many negative mental ramifications, as with suppressing any part of your personality or identity. This can lead to effects such as low self-esteem, loss of sleep, depression, and a higher rate of suicide attempts, among other things.