Coming Out Support Tips
10 tips for Coming Out By: Unknow I’d like to talk about coming out and what to expect from it, giving all of us some suggestions and tips. Coming out can be very easy for some of us and, sometimes, these people regret that they haven’t done it soon; for others it can be hard, or they live in a homophobic environment so they are more worried about it. I have written down a list of things that can be useful in this situation: 1. Don’t feel pressured. Everyone has their own timing and coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans… is all about you. Don’t feel like you need to do it just because your friend did the same or you consider it as compulsory. This leads us to the next point: 2. You don’t have to come out. For some people orientation/gender identity is something very private and they want to share it only with the closest people in their life, or they don’t even feel this need. Maybe you can go to a family dinner and bring your same sex partner with you and just introduce them “Guys, this is my significant other”. Full stop. This also leads to another issue: 3. Don’t label yourself if you’re not ready/don’t want to. You can be ready to come out but also feel like you don’t fit into any label. Even though calling themselves ace, non binary, pansexual, or using any other term is perfectly alright, it is also okay to decide not to use any of them. 4. Consider the timing and be safe. If you are in a bad place in your life right now (for example, after a break up and you are heartbroken and miserable), if your family is having a troubled period (for any reason), if you’re not economically independent yet and you need your parent’s help (to get through college, for example), or if you are in any other situation in which coming out will make you less safe… don’t do it. Wait for the right time and place, your safety comes first. 5. Be realistic and anticipate people’s reactions. Everyone of us hope in the best outcome possible, of course, and people can surprise us but… let’s be realistic. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I mean, be prepared with what you’re going to say and how you’re going to respond to their reactions. We know our family members and friends better than many others, so we are also able anticipate their reactions about our coming out. That implies also: 6. Allow people to be shocked and give them time. We had so many years, an entire life sometimes, to get used to it. You being gay or trans, for example, is not a bad thing, of course, but your family and friends can be shocked at first. So you need to prepare yourself to answer their questions, tell them that you’re still the same person you were till that moment, try to keep calm even if others are not and stay in control of the news. 7. Read some coming out stories. You can find useful reading about other people with similar experiences. RuComingOut has a section that collects these stories - I've found this site - but internet is an amazing place so I’m sure you can find many others, too. wink 8. Choose how to do it according to your own style. Some of us are very outgoing and expressive, others are more shy. You can bake a “Hey, I’m gay” cake and enter the room with an explosion of rainbow confetti, or just opt for a letter so you don’t have to tell it out loud. Every way is good as long as you feel comfortable. 9. Tell one person at first. Talking to a very trusted person can be easier and it can offer you a safe place: you can bring them with you if you decide to come out to your parents, for example, and you can always find a “home” with them. 10. Family approval is not required. Even though we all want to be accepted and loved for who we are, sometimes family can disappoint us in this situation. But you are you and this is amazing. You don’t need your family’s permission to be who you are. Added information By: TaranWanderer -it's okay to come out as one thing and change your mind later. Discovering your sexuality/gender can be complicated, and things can change. It's okay if you come out and with time you find out maybe you identify a different way. You don't have to force yourself to stay identifying one way just because you went through the process of coming out. -you can choose to start small or get it all over at once. Many times, we belong to multiple areas of the community, so it's your choice whether you want to start with just one of your identities, or all at once. -if you think someone won't understand, try to look up resources to help them understand. There's lots of stuff on the internet, for all different situations (like spouse, children, parents, etc)! There's nothing wrong with sending some links or printing out brochures to give that extra boost of understanding :) -it's okay to cry or to lose your words. Coming out can be a really emotional thing, and you don't have to be perfect at it. -remind people if they seem to forget. This is especially important for pronouns or correct names, if you come out to someone and they keep using the wrong ones, it's okay (and sometimes important) to keep reminding them what you prefer. It's not pushy or selfish. At the same time, try to give them a little bit of a window to get used to it, it can be tough to change, but not impossible. -maybe state some things that make you uncomfortable, so they know where to start in supporting you? If you can pick some concrete things that the person can do, it can make the process a bit easier, because they have goals to work on :) An example could be not saying "hey man", or not asking about who you have a crush on, etc. -this one is for the allies, or anyone who has someone come out to them: do not out someone else. This is so important, because sometimes a person only ever wants to be out to certain people, or is still working towards being more out. This is their journey, and it needs to be left in their hands so they can continue as is comfortable for them. An exception is if the person specifically tells you it's okay to tell others, but even then I think double checking couldn't hurt :)
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