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Biography & Autobiography Lgbt

Surviving the Closet

Learning to Live After Coming Out Later in Life

by (author) Jo DeLuzio

Initial publish date
Feb 2024
LGBT, Lesbian Studies, Personal Memoirs, Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2024
    List Price

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Jo DeLuzio sits on the subway on her way to work and contemplates how she’s managed to survive the closet.

As a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Jo came out much later in life, and her experiences inform much of the ideas in this unique volume of writing. One part memoir, one part social discussion, and every part honest, Jo’s voice is unique–and her experiences inform much of the conversations she has about coming out.

In fact, coming out is only the beginning. Once out, Jo explores the many different ways members of her community may have a slow, sometimes painful journey to their authentic life. With honesty, humor, and deep insights, Surviving the Closet is essential reading.

About the author

Jo(anne) DeLuzio was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. She attended Western University in London, Ontario where she graduated with her Master of Clinical Science, with a speciality in audiology. Jo has practised audiology in a variety of facilities around the Greater Toronto Area for the last 40 years. She also holds a PhD in Speech-language Pathology from the University of Toronto. Currently, Jo teaches in the graduate program of Speech-language Pathology at the U of T.


Outside of the audiology world, Jo writes about the oppression of people who are LGBTQ+ in Canada and globally. In her spare time, Jo enjoys bowling with her wife in a gay league. She is a terrible bowler but finds validation and acceptance in gay spaces. She currently resides in Toronto, Ontario with her wife and her two youngest children, who are currently learning about the process of adulting. Jo has had the privilege of parenting six children, and she considers surviving all those teenage years as one of her most remarkable accomplishments.

Jo DeLuzio's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Surviving the Closet shines a light on critical issues that should engage us all, but those issues and social forces are brought to life in what is first and foremost a powerful and poignant personal journey. The people and stories Dr. DeLuzio encounters in her own coming out remind us that even now there are risks to living authentically. This is essential – and moving – reading for anyone concerned with identity, human rights, social justice, and finding the courage to be yourself." -Kelly Duffin, MBA Social justice nonprofit leader

"Dr. DeLuzio’s poignant words illuminate the importance of the journey of LGBTQ+ individuals, encouraging them to embrace their authentic selves and empowering others to support their right to occupy space and be seen. Something that is needed now more than ever." -Dr. David Gehry, MD, PhD Government Executive and LGBTQ+ member

"A thought provoking story filled and backed by personal experience and understanding of the incredibly brave issue at hand. There are many coming-out stories available, but I haven't seen a description of what happens after the person comes out and how they learn to live life as a closet survivor. This is both fascinating and important to explore." -Dr. Peter Reich, PhD Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

Surviving the Closet takes a poignant look at the intersectionality of being female and gay and how difficult it can be to live an authentic life even in a country deemed safe for the LGBTQ2S+ community. As a nurse practitioner working frontline in an organization created for this community, I believe that everyone has the right to access inclusive healthcare free from judgement. Remaining in the closet puts people at risk for not getting the healthcare services they need, even when its life and death. As the author points out, people who are oppressed, marginalized, and in some cases literally hunted down and killed are not able to leave the closet. Anyone with any compassion and empathy for the human condition ought to read this book." -Ashley Pasiorowski (she/her)

"Jo describes how people coming out of the closet need to meet other gay people and find safe places. The Toronto Historical Bowling Society (THBS) is an inclusive gay bowling league. We warmly embrace all members of the gay community and our allies. It's a safe space for people to meet and make long lasting friendships. We are a family and Jo has been part of the family for years! We love her and everything that she brings to the league! You've survived the closet, welcome to the family." -Patrick Mathieu-Pandel President - THBS