“Coming out” simply means you begin telling your story about what’s normal for you to other people. And for some folks, this is really scary!
From The Trevor Project
Some people may share their identity with a few trusted friends online, some may choose to share with a counselor or a trusted family member, and others may want everyone in their life to know about their identity. An important thing to know is that for a lot of people, coming out doesn’t just happen once. A lot of folks find themselves coming out at different times to different people. It is all about what works for you, wherever you are at. The things you hear about coming out may make you feel pressured to take steps that don’t feel right for you, or that you don’t feel prepared for. Your experience is truly unique to you. You get to decide!
After thinking it through, you may decide to be out to yourself, but not to anyone else — and that’s okay. Many people choose not to come out to others for different reasons. You are valid and deserve support no matter who you do or do not share your identities with. This resource is for you to explore how you feel and what choices are right and safe for you. If you need support, we’re here to help!
You might decide to take some time to prepare what you want to say. Writing out how you might want to come out to someone can be useful. Practicing with supportive people can also help in figuring out what you want to say and how you want to say it. How do I want to come out to them? What would I say to someone I want to come out to? What would I expect them to say? Is there a way I would want to prepare prior to coming out? If you are thinking about coming out, it can be important to think about the range of reactions people may have, including the good ones and the bad ones. Here are some questions to think through how they might react: What are some of the good responses I may hear? What are some of the bad responses I may hear? What do I expect their reactions will be, based on what I know about the person I’m sharing with? How do I want them to react? Keep in mind that other people’s reactions can be quite varied.
Figuring out how people feel about LGBTQ people and topics can give you an idea about how they might possibly react (though not always). Some ways that other people have tested the waters: Asking how they feel about an LGBTQ celebrity or asking how they feel about marriage equality. Listening to their words: Do they put down LGBTQ people? Do they invoke LGBTQ stereotypes? Noticing how they handle difficult emotional events, which can help you guess what reactions to be ready for. Sometimes the people we come out to ask a lot of questions. It’s okay to not have all the answers; it is not your job to be the expert on your identity. If you feel comfortable, you are always welcome to answer these potential questions, but you don’t owe anyone any information that you aren’t comfortable sharing.