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If everyone around you (family, friends, etc.) is hostile towards LGBTQ people, how should you come out? Should you come out at all?

31 Answers
Last Updated: 07/12/2021 at 3:52pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Evelyn Coker, MSW, LCSW

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

I am down to earth and enjoy working with all clients. I have a special passion to support teen girls and women. My work is nonjudgmental and provides a safe space to grow.

Top Rated Answers
January 21st, 2015 12:56am
The first thing you need to take into consideration when coming out is if you'll be safe. There doesn't have to be a rush in your coming out process. Once you start building a life as an adult and become more independent you'll be in a much better situation to come out to friends and family. However, if you are surrounded by supportive people, coming out can be done at an earlier age.
December 8th, 2015 3:27am
Okay, heres a few things I have learned as a pansexual girl in a Christian family group. 1) do not just say 'hey im gay' at first. Ask your guardians/parents their opinions first. If they say something along the lines of 'good for nothings' or 'ultra sinners' or something of the like, do not come out. No matter how tempting it may be, you can severely jeaprodize your future and possibly be disowned. 2) Have supportive friends. If you don't have any friends you know are out there 'LGBTQP+ Pride', be sure to bring up the issue around them first. All of this 'carefulness' sucks, but it may save you from total disaster or transition therapy. If your group of people you know are pro-LGBTQP+, it is not yet time to go 'hey family and friends im a lesbian'. They may become hostile towards you despite their earlier actions. If you are going to come out, I would reccomend doing it when you can support/defend yourself in case of sudden 'oh well we disown you' cases. This means a steady job, a friend or two to fall back on, and a High School Diploma or something of that likeness. You don't have to have any of those things, but they are good safeguards. Hope this helps!! -SM
May 4th, 2015 7:29am
The simple answer is: no. If you'll be endangered by coming out, please stay in the closet! It may not be the best place, but it's safe. Try setting up online accounts where you can be yourself and talking to other LGBTQ folk in your area so you'll have someone safe to talk to, but be very careful. The most important thing is for you to be safe.
- Expert in LGBTQ+ Issues
October 1st, 2019 11:11pm
Safety always comes first, and if you feel like it's not safe for you to come out yet, you're free to wait. However, I understand the need to feel free as soon as possible. Maybe you can try finding support elsewhere for now, like in LGBT groups near where you live, or away from your usual acquaintances. I can ensure you that there's a lot of supportive people out there, andsurrounding yourself with the ones that can truly understand and support you can make you stronger, and you'll know you won't be alone if an when you'll decide to come out with other people!
January 23rd, 2015 10:28pm
Coming out is vital to being who you are. However, if the environment is not accepting, the best thing to do is to seek out help you know will accept you (help sites, guidance counselors, etc.). It is not healthy to hold all the feelings inside, and we need an outlet when it comes to things like that. Journaling or blogging can make it a little easier. Repressing your sexuality/gender identity will only affect you more negatively.
April 30th, 2015 4:03pm
I think in terms of coming out there is no magic formula. I would say don't come out if you are concerned abut your safety, or being kicked out of your house. If you are not worried about your safety and more worried about the opinions of your friends and family, then I would say you have to weigh up whether you will find those negative opinions harder to deal with than any negative feelings you may have about not telling them. I guess if you want to keep those people in your life you will have to tell them one day, but that isn't to say you have to tell them right this minute. It's hard, but if you do decide to come out remember that people can surprise you and if people love you a compromise can be reached.
May 27th, 2015 6:00pm
Coming out is always your decision, and it is always optional. However, if you are in a situation where you would face personal danger if you came out, then it is highly recommended that you do not. If you simply can't stand it anymore and it becomes a necessity, then have a solid background plan worked out. Pack your stuff and leave the bag by the door. Have some friends agree to host you. Have a solid amount of money in your runaway bag. If you're going to be beaten or kicked out, you should be prepared to leave.
May 27th, 2015 10:35pm
Coming out is something every LGBTQ person wants to do. But if you have homophobic/transphobic family or friends, I'd recommend waiting. I know it seems a little oppressive but your safety is always important. Especially if you're emotionally/financially dependent on your family. You should definitely come out eventually. It's not good to repress your feelings. But if the environment around you is hostile, you should probably wait until you're emotionally and financially stable enough to take care of yourself if anything happens.
June 17th, 2015 6:28pm
You should only come out if and when you are safe. If you are underage and in danger of physical or emotional abuse, including being thrown out of your home, then it might be best to stay in the closet for awhile, even though it is not ideal. In the meantime, you can privately and anonymously reach out for support online, including here at 7 Cups of Tea.
July 20th, 2015 2:26am
This, traditionally, is why queer people move to the city. It allows us to be out while avoiding the question of whether to come out to our families.
September 8th, 2015 3:33pm
Coming out is a personal decision. It can bring great relief and happiness for some, but pain and even danger for others. Only you can decide if it's worth the risk for you.
October 31st, 2015 3:14pm
I can't give you a direct answer, because I don't know the whole situation. But please remember the most important thing when coming out; will you be safe? If you truly, truly think that someone will be accepting, then maybe you could give a tentative shot. However, considering your question implied no-one close to you seem supportive, it might be wiser to hold your ground.
November 1st, 2015 2:55am
This is something you'll have to decided for yourself. If you do not feel like it is a safe environment, then you do not need to force yourself to come out. Coming out is a delicate process for anyone, which is why you'll have to decide for yourself if you're ready for the hostilities. If so, you need to know that whatever reaction you get, you are not abnormal and you are not doing anything wrong. You are you, and you are not alone.
December 7th, 2015 5:48pm
This can be a difficult situation, but the best answer i can give is just try not to put yourself in a dangerous situation. If the situation could result in harm for you, I would reconsider coming out to those people. If all your friends are hostile towards LGBTQ+ people, perhaps you should try to find friends who aren't and who would accept you for who you are like true friends are supposed to.
January 25th, 2016 1:01am
You should only come out if you think it's safe. If coming out would endanger you in any way, don't do it. Coming out to hostile people takes a lot of confidence and is difficult unless you're sure of yourself and understand that your identity is valid and okay. If you plan on coming out to someone who's not very tolerant of LGBTQ+ people, do it at a time that allows for discussion if you feel you're able to hold a good conversation with them about it. If not, slip it in at a time where they may not be able to process and respond until later, so you have more time to plan.
February 15th, 2016 10:07am
It all depends. If you're very young and wish to come out to your parents who aren't for LGBTQ+ people, then I would advise holding it till you're old enough to know if you were kicked out, you'd be able to support yourself. If you're at a young age and wish to come out, try coming out to a school counsellor, or a close friend. Just so you're able to get it off your chest. Try your best to explain your situation to your parents.
April 18th, 2016 5:18am
This is a difficult question to answer. On one hand, an LGBTQ individual should have every right to express themselves freely and openly without fear of reprisal or judgement. On the other hand, however, such expression in a hostile environment could very well cause severe problems (as illustrated by the many homeless LGBTQ youths). To answer your question: it depends. If you feel that you would not be putting yourself at risk, then it is your decision to make. Would you be more comfortable knowing that you have nothing to hide? Or would the stigma placed on you by your family/surroundings outweigh that freedom?
May 23rd, 2016 3:51pm
If you want to come out, it is up to you. If you feel safer staying closeted, then that is okay. If you feel like you would be better off coming out, then that is also okay. Try to make sure you have a support system, and have a back up place to go in case things go awry if you find that necessary. Just do what you think is best for you.
July 18th, 2016 1:41am
Coming out is something that you should only do when you feel comfortable doing so, do not feel under pressure to come out when you do not feel ready to do so, many come out when their young, others when they are older, there is no right or wrong time to come out except for when you feel ready.
August 16th, 2016 10:09pm
You should come out so you can be true to yourself. And you should just hope people will except you
October 25th, 2016 6:08am
Of course , you should come out. There are many more like you waiting to come out, but are just feeling the inhibition to be the first one.
June 19th, 2017 7:15pm
Always make sure you are safe. You do not have to come out if your family if hostile towards LGBTQ people. If you still wanna come out, make sure everyone one is calm and answer all there questions with patients since they need time to adjust to the news.
August 22nd, 2017 9:25pm
That is very hard to answer. Would it be safe for you to come out? Do you want to come out? What would it mean to you if they didnt accept you? Can you cope with a double life?
November 20th, 2017 5:45pm
I think that decision can only be made by you. I would recommend not coming out until you are 100 percent ready, and sure of yourself, so that anyone hostile can't change your mind or make you uncertain. Then, the choice to come out, is totally yours, based on how hostile that person is and whether you think they would be a danger to you.
November 21st, 2017 9:32am
You should if you feel your living a lie and you want to be your true self. Find some safe people to come out to first and to support you through it.
September 17th, 2018 8:30pm
Coming out to family members who are hostile to LGBT people is always hard. With the chance that this family member is hostile towards you after coming out, if you are able to avoid this hostile family member after coming out and you feel that it is necessary to come out to them, then coming out on your own terms can be safe in this situation. If a family member becomes hostile towards you and puts you in danger it is necessary to remove yourself from the situation and if needed, call the police. Pressure by others to come out should be ignored until you yourself are ready to share this with your family.
October 15th, 2018 4:37am
The most important thing when thinking about coming out is making sure you are safe. There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in the closet until you are ready and it can be a better option in some cases. What is important to think about also, is if coming out will make you happier. If you have to come out in a hostile environment you have to weigh the difference for yourself of what will make you happier. coming out and facing possible backlash, or staying in the closet and maintaining your current environment. It is definitely a personal choice that should be thought through thoroughly. It may be best to test the waters at first and play it by ear a little for how you want to proceed.
April 27th, 2020 7:56pm
When you're thinking about coming out, there is never a "should". You are in no way obligated to come out or not to, and it's entirely up to you. Come out when and if you're ready, and if you choose to do it, be prepared to come out in "phases". People will likely have questions, and coming out is a process. You don't have to come out to everyone at once, and there aren't any "rules" on how to do it. I would recommend making sure it's safe to come out before you do it, or make sure you have a plan for what to do if it goes badly. While you don't owe anyone answers, if you're not ready to explain and have conversations about your gender/ sexuality, you might not be ready
February 23rd, 2021 4:01pm
if you feel comfortable coming out, you should, but if you don't, take your time and wait until you're ready, which you may never be. and you know what? that's completely fine! a lot of people never come out, and they are still just as valid as anyone else in the community. if you think you could be in any danger from coming out, I would reccomend waiting until it would be safe, but ultimantly, it is completely and absolutely up to you. no one should say anything that could out you, or try to force you out of the nice, safe, closet.
May 11th, 2021 10:00am
Even though, I don't belong to the Lgbtq+ community and I am not queer at all, as I am heterosexual, I have immense respect for all queer people belonging to this community and I support them all totally. However, people around me are very hostile and disrespectful when it comes to lgbtq+ because I belong to a very conservative religious country and community. If I were queer, I wouldn't come out at all. It would not have been very hard for me because I am also an atheist for 2 years now and no one from my family knows and it has been working pretty smoothly up til now so I am pretty sure I can hide the truth about the sexuality very easily too till I move to a secular or liberal country where I'm given my rights and am free to accept my sexuality.