Steps to Help You in Coming Out
Firstly recognise that true happiness is only possible if you can be yourself. If you have to hide a part of yourself away, and particularly an important part of you such as identity, then it is highly likely to end in sadness, loneliness and depression.
Of course you will have had to accept yourself before your can come out to others. So when you are ready to come out and let the world know who you are, it is vital that you give this some thought. This is because you will be vulnerable during this time.
Coming Out Steps
1. Support – Discuss coming out with a therapist. A LGBT therapist or affirmative LGBT therapist. They will have experience of what you are going through and what you intend to do.
2. Be Safe – pick and choose carefully who you want to tell that you are Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual. Doing this to the wrong person, or group of people can be dangerous. It has been known for some parents of teenagers to force their children out of their home. If you fear this might happen, make sure you have somewhere to go.
3. Timing – they timing is everything. Come out when it is the right time for you and you feel in a good place to answer questions about your identity. Also, take into account the person you are coming out to. Can they handle this news at this time? If they have or are going through some difficult life experience, wait until they are in a better place. The timing needs to be right for you and for them too
4. Choose the Easiest Person First– coming out is nerve wracking. Make the first person that you come out to, a person who you are confident will be accepting and hopefully supportive. This will help you build your confidence for when you need to come out to people whose reaction you fear the most.
5. Emotional Reactions – if someone cares for you they are likely to have an emotional reaction. Anger, crying and sadness are all healthy emotional reactions. Let them work their way through their emotions. Parents have future dreams for their children and coming out can shatter that dream. So for some it will be like a bereavement of the child they thought they had. Remember you have had a long time to get used to your identity and so it is important to allow them some time too
6. Questions, Questions, Questions – be prepared for many questions. These can positive questions but some may be questions based on the person’s anxiety about having a gay friend, son, daughter, mother, father or colleague. Whilst it’s great to have many answers ready, it is okay to say to some questions that you don’t know yet or are still finding out for yourself.
7. You are still you – remind the person you talk to that you are still the same person with all your idiosyncrasies, characteristics and mannerisms. The only difference is that you are attracted to the same sex.
8. Be Prepared – The best laid plans go to waste at times. So be prepared for if things don’t go according to your imagined scenario. Stay strong and stay on message but be ready for time to be a factor. Of course you can be pleasantly surprised at times too when someone lets you know that accept you.
9. Underhand Tactics – be aware that the person you tell might try to become the victim. They might say “how could you do this to me?” or “I won’t be able to look my family in the face” or use other shaming statements. Stay strong. Acknowledge their anxiety and say that you have had to hide who you truly are for too long. That is scary to tell other people but if they are truly good friends or family that they will come accept it even if it takes some time.
10. Happiness – remind yourself that you are doing the right thing. You have a right to be yourself just as others have that same right. You just happen to find the same sex attractive. That’s all. You are not a murderer, criminal, or horrible person. You are still the same person but now your relationships know more about you.
The above steps are generalisations based on past experiences of Gay men, Lesbian women and Bisexual men and women. Tailor them to your situation and the people you choose to come to.