Everyone has a unique coming out story. Yet, nearly everyone who has come out has a list of a few things or tips they wish they knew before they came out.
Check out our top five tips we have collected from LGBT folks as they reflect on their coming out journey.
1. Nervous to come out? That is normal. You do not have to do it by yourself! Enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member who you can come to privately first.
They then may be able to help you come out to friends and family members who you think might be less accepting. They can also help you prepare in advance what you might want to say as you come out to people.
2. Think of questions you might get in advance and prepare answers. Even though many questions will be no one’s business except your own, people will ask questions.
It can be helpful to come prepared with answers, even if the answer is “I don’t know” or “I do not feel comfortable discussing that” to common questions such as:
- How do you know?
- How long have you known?
- How do you identify?
- Are you dating someone?
- Are you sure?
While you cannot predict everyone’s response and reaction, being prepared with responses to questions you anticipate getting can help you feel a bit more at ease.
3. You just came out? Great! But remember, you will likely have to come out many times throughout your life. Unfortunately in many societies and spaces, straightness is still assumed to be the norm.
This means you may have to come out multiple times including at work and school, in social settings, or to healthcare providers. Think about and be prepared for the many ways you may need to come out.
4. Remember, coming out is an individual experience that you should do on your terms and in your way. It is okay if you do not feel safe or comfortable coming out just yet. You are still valid!
Coming out is a choice and there is no right way, wrong way, or correct timeline to follow. Furthermore, do not feel like you have to conform to certain labels or customs that exist with the LGBT community.
You are you and that is more than enough!
5. No matter how you are coming out experience goes, remember you are worthy! Experiencing rejection after coming out can be heartbreaking, but it does not change your self-worth! No one’s reaction can take your inherent self-worth and beauty.
Give yourself time to address the rejection but move forward and remember you are amazing! Being part of the LGBT community can be wonderfully liberating and there is a place for you within this dynamic community.
You are free to be you - the real you.