Tips for Coming Out to People
by Andres Carrion | April 2021
Coming out is the process of revealing your sexual orientation and/or gender identity to yourself and to people you choose. People will come out to themselves, loved ones, and people they meet. Before coming out, it’s important to understand why you want to come out.
People come out to various people and for many reasons. Some reasons people choose to come out is to become closer with people in their lives or to live a more authentic life. Are you coming out because you’re angry and want to hurt the other person? Do you want to form a closer relationship with the other person? Do you want to live a more authentic and unapologetic life? Understanding why you want to come out to someone is a great first step in preparation for coming out.
A second important step to consider is your safety. It is not always safe to come out, as sexuality and gender identity are unfortunately still stigmatized in society and different people will have different reactions to your coming out. Many people usually have an idea already as to whether it is safe to come out, so if you do not feel safe, trust your gut instinct. Only you know when it is safe to come out, and only you can decide when to come out.
If you have decided to come out to someone, there are some things you can do to make the process a bit easier. You can try testing the waters with them by asking them their opinions on LGBTQIA+ issues like marriage equality, adoption and family formation, or general LGBTQIA+ rights. Another tip is to find the right time and place. Coming out to someone can be a lot to process for some people, so it’s important to have their attention in a neutral setting. This could be a time when you’re alone with them and you have their undivided attention. Provide them resources like PFLAG or other LGBTQIA+ educational resources. Finally, it is important to understand that the conversation may not go the way you would like. Many of these relationships get better and become more accepting over time. If the conversation does not go as planned, reach out to your support network (like friends and family who you’re out to), reach out to people you know who are already out, or your therapist. These people can be there for you and support you through this process.
- Understand that coming out is an ongoing process, and only you can decide when you want to come out.
- Recognize why you want to come out, and make sure that it’s safe for you to do. If you don’t feel safe, trust your gut.
- Pick the right time to come out and make sure you have their full attention.
- If the conversation doesn’t go as planned, reach out to loved ones and your therapist for support.
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