Coming out isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience, and one should be emotionally ready before doing so. Unsure how to go on about it? These tips may help.
Test the waters first
Okay, as much as you may want to tell your loved ones everything right off the bat, it’s a good idea to take a step back first and breathe. Though there’s no right way of doing it, being a little hasty with your actions may also lead to unexpected stumbling blocks.
Sharing a coming-out story from someone you know or you’ve heard in passing, for instance, can help gauge the reaction of people at the receiving end. Try practicing how you’ll say it if you like. Do it gradually, and once you’re truly ready…
Trust yourself from here on out
It would be tough to express your feelings if you’re doubtful about everything — including yourself. Be more comfortable with the reality that it’s impossible to control other people’s responses, but you can control how much credit you give yourself. Tune in to your gut, and remember this piece of advice from The Strive about trusting yourself:
“If you have fostered self-trust, you will also likely speak with greater authority and carry yourself in a manner that does not apologize for who you are. This is not the same as having an air of arrogance, but rather knowing oneself, your value, and what you have to offer others.”
Ensure your safety
There are countless stories of people being disowned or left homeless after coming out. Others are physically hurt or even killed. These heartbreaking stories aren’t inevitable, but they’re far too common.
Before you tell people the whole truth, your safety should be the top priority. In case things escalate to violence or abuse at home or the workplace, look for trusted individuals or local LGBTQIA+ organizations who can help deal with the worst possible responses to your coming out.
Once you identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, it doesn’t mean that everyone’s entitled to a slice of your coming-out pie right away. Do you just let in a stranger knocking on your door? No. Whether it’s your best friend or your mom, don’t hesitate to take the littlest steps. This is your truth, and you’re the only one who has the right to say who should and shouldn’t know about it.
Find a coming-out method you’re comfortable with
A vast majority of LGBTQIA+-themed Movies and TV shows have portrayed coming out as a formal conversation, usually set in the protagonist’s home paired with cinematic lighting or background. While revealing your sexual orientation or gender identity face-to-face is ideal, it doesn’t always be the case.
Wanna say it on a video call? Give it a try! Prefer to come out through a heartfelt letter? Write one! More comfortable voicing it online? Post it! Just do what works best for you, okay?
Expect that not everyone will understand
Things may never be the same once you come out — in the long run, things can get better overall, but some relationships may be damaged or severed. You can’t expect people around you to wave a Pride flag, much more, acceptance. We know it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s one of the realities you must face with such openness.
Give them time to process everything, and if they still can’t accept you despite your efforts, that’s on them. You have a choice to keep educating them and hope for the best or keep your distance — whatever’s best for your wellbeing.
Don’t pressure yourself
Coming to terms with who you really are is a personal journey you can’t rush. There’s no deadline, ~*darling*~, so take all the time you need to discover missing parts of yourself. In fact, you don’t even have to come out if you don’t want to.
Embrace who you are!
After telling your truth, it’s normal to feel lost, nervous, or even guilty, but don’t let these feelings take away what truly matters — you. Why? Because you’re one amazing person that’s deserving of all the love and happiness flowing in this universe! Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.