So, you have decided to come out as gay, lesbian, bi or transgender, and share your true self with the world. But how do you do it? Sometimes it’s hard to put your feelings into words, especially if you are nervous or worried about negative reactions. It can be hard to find the right time, and it’s unlikely to come up in conversation! So how do you initiate ‘the talk’ with family and friends? What if they react badly, or start crying and yelling? It can be a stressful time, but these tips can help you to be ready for whatever happens.
Confide in a trusted, close friend. Maybe you already know someone who is LGBT themselves, or you feel confident that they will be cool with it. Telling the first person can be the hardest part, so after you’ve done it once, it only gets easier.
Choose your words wisely. This all depends on your audience – you can probably be a bit more bold and irreverent with your buddies than with your aging grandmother, so think of ways you can talk about it with different people.
“Sometimes when I say “I’m fine”… I want someone to LOOK at me in the eyes and say “tell me the truth”“
If you can’t bear the thought if doing it face to face, or it is impractical due to distance, a phone call or Skype can be ideal. If it goes badly, it can be easier to make a swift exit from the situation as well.
Anticipate what kind of reaction you will get. Some people may surprise you – in a good or a bad way. If your family or friends have shown homophobic attitudes in the past, or they are very ‘conservative’ in their views, consider what you might have to deal with in the aftermath.
Don’t feel like you have to have something to ‘show’ for it. If you are gay and you don’t have a partner, that doesn’t mean you can’t come out – your feelings are still valid, and you don’t need a boyfriend or girlfriend in order to prove yourself.
Don’t be offended by dumb questions. They might be well-meaning, and a genuine attempt to understand, not to hurt you. No, Mom, that time I wore my sister’s underwear when we were 5 by mistake didn’t make me gay. No Dad, spending more time with me wouldn’t have stopped me from being a lesbian. It sounds trite, but parents often feel the need for an explanation where there isn’t one – no event or experience ‘made’ you the way you are – it’s just you!
No matter what you choose to do in the end about coming out, whether you shout it from the rooftops or leave a note in someone’s pocket, as long as you are honest and truthful to yourself – that is the most important thing.
Stay strong my friend.