Coming out (LGBTQIA+)

2 October 2023 | Author: Julian Motha

Coming out is a personal decision, and only you can determine whether it's the right time to do so. When considering if you should come out or not, ask yourself, 'Is this something I want to do right now?', 'Is it safe for me to come out?' and 'What supports can I reach out to?'

Coming out isn't a singular event, but rather something we repeatedly do to share our authentic selves with others. A benefit of this is that you don't have to come out to everyone at once. Instead, it is entirely up to you whom you want to entrust this information with.

Here are some tips on how you can prepare to come out:

1. Practice what you're going to say before you say it. If you think the words in your head or say them in the mirror, you may find yourself more confident when you say them out loud to someone else

2. Be sure to come out when it is safe to do so. This includes your physical, emotional and financial safety.

3. You can test the water before coming out to someone. Posing a hypothetical situation or talking about a friend or celebrity with a similar identity can help you safely gauge people's attitudes.

4. Start with a trusted friend. Coming out can be an anxiety-provoking experience. Testing the waters with someone you trust can make it easier when you come out to someone more challenging to open up to.

5. Plan for different outcomes. When you come out to someone, they may not react how you'd like. Planning ahead and accounting for different reactions can make it easier to navigate an undesirable outcome.

6. Remember that if it doesn't go the way you hoped, there are people in the world who are there for you. No matter how distant they may seem, there is a community that loves and celebrates your existence.

7. You may want to prepare for questions. For many people, being LGBTQIA+ is something they're unfamiliar with. To prepare for their questions, you can have some answers ready, or you can re-direct them to some online resources as it shouldn't all be on you.

8. Let people know if you'd like them to keep this information to themselves. Not everyone understands that coming out is a private thing.

9. You might learn more about yourself over time. That might mean you might prefer different labels or pronouns to describe yourself. Making these discoveries over time doesn't make your identity any less valid.

10. You can talk to people who have already come out to loved ones. Our community is a wealth of knowledge, and you can use this to prepare before coming out.

The way you come out is entirely up to you. Some people do it more publicly, whereas others may prefer one-on-one conversations with those they trust. Whether you send a text, say it over the phone, face to face or via a social media post, you should choose the mode that suits you and your circumstances. The only 'right way' is the way that's right for you.