For members of the LGBTQ+ community, there is one shared experience that connects everyone together – coming out. It can be the hardest, easiest, terrifying, or most exciting you thing you can do in your whole life. While everyone’s situation is different and everyone’s emotions on the topic are therefore different too, the process of announcing your sexuality to those you love the most is something that creates a deep understanding of fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community.
It’s important for us to create a world together where everyone feels that they belong, that they feel supported to be who they are, and encouraged to chase their dreams too. This is why shining a light on that coming out conversation is so important.
Remaining in the closet or feeling confused about your sexuality can be a lonely and isolating experience. Looking for advice on how to share your story with the people you love most can take up so much of your time and energy. Listening to other people’s coming out stories can be helpful, but it’s important to remember that no two experiences are exactly the same.
If you are someone who is struggling to tell your friends and family about your sexuality or identity there are some important things to remember.
Don’t Feel Pressured
Everyone should come out in their own time. If you don’t feel it’s the right time to tell your friends or family about your sexuality or identity, then simply don’t do it. If you do feel that it’s time for you to come out, you also don’t need to feel pressured to tell everyone. BeLonG To explains: “Some people find it easier to first come out to a close friend or to somebody who accepts them for who they are. This could be a Teacher, a Youth Worker or another LGBT+ person. Others feel it’s important to come out to family members before anyone else.”
“Coming out is different for everyone. However you choose to do it, it’s important that you are happy for this person to know. Remember, you do not need to come out to everyone at once.” Focusing on yourself and your own happiness is the most important thing to remember. Never feel like you owe anyone anything when it comes to your sexuality or identity, because you don’t.
BeLonG To share these questions to ask yourself before choosing to come out to someone:
• Does this person need to know?
• Will they tell anyone else?
• How might they react?
• Will they be supportive?
• Am I happy with other people
knowing right now?
• Do I feel safe sharing this?
Make Yourself Comfortable
If you do decide it’s time for you to come out, there are a few things that you should consider when preparing for it. Of course, there is no right or wrong way to come out, but there are ways that you can make the experience the most comfortable for you, never feel as though you have no control over the situation. BeLong To reccommends considering the following:
It might work best to choose a time when you and the person you’re speaking to are comfortable and relaxed. Speaking about your sexuality or identity when you have no time constraints is best, because you will be able to express how you feel without interruption. This also allows for the person you are speaking to, to process the information and ask questions if they feel they need to.
Just like choosing good timing, decided on a location that is comfortable can help too. BeLonG To recommends choosing somewhere that you’re not likely to get interrupted, this could be your bedroom or kitchen table. If are worried about a negative reaction from the person that you’re coming out to, maybe choosing somewhere more public would put you at ease, this could be a public park, or a coffee shop, anywhere you feel most comfortable.
It’s likely that you will be asked questions after you come out. Of course, it’s not your responsibility to educate straight cis people about the LGBTQ+ community, but your parent, friend or whoever you come out to might have basic questions like what does LGBT mean etc. Having information in your head might be helpful, and you can also head to www.belongto.org
for helpful information for Young People, you could print out information and share it with the person you’re coming out to.
Do It How You Want
As we said, there is no right or wrong way to come out to anyone. If you do feel it’s time to share your story and feel a little nervous, consider how you’re going to do it. BeLonG To outlined that there are many ways to come out rather than just verbal, here are some ways you could choose to come out:
Of course, you yourself know your situation best. While the above ways to share your news are quite serious, If you feel that your family or friends are open-minded and would be completely chill with your coming out, why not have fun with it! You could choose to come out by writing it on a cake, or singing a song about it – it might sound silly but your sexuality and identity is something to be celebrated, and we’re sure that those around you want to celebrate with you too.
Know That Someone Is Always There For You
BeLong To have outlined that sometimes sharing your coming out news with others may not always go as planned, or you might feel different after you have shared your thoughts, “You may feel sad and overwhelmed if your family or friends are not supportive, or you may be confused about how you feel after you come out – no matter what the response.”
“If someone reacts badly to you coming out, don’t blame yourself. Give the person some space and consider talking to them at a later stage. If you find yourself in this situation, it can be very helpful to talk to others.”
“At BeLonG To, we offer support and advice for LGBT+ young people across Ireland. You don’t have to do this alone. You can meet LGBT+ young people in one of our Youth Groups nationwide, receive one-to-one support or visit our professional counselling service. We are here for you.”
For more information on the LBGTQ+ community, coming out, and support you can visit BeLonG To here.