Considering Coming Out? Here’s Some Advice.
No matter how ready you are to share yourself with the world, your safety should always come first. If you have any reason to believe that coming out might put you at risk for harm, do whatever you can to mitigate that BEFORE coming out. That could mean waiting until you are financially independent, preparing yourself emotionally, or moving to a new city, town, or state. There are still many places in the world(and in your community) where the LGBTQ+ community is extremely discriminated against. Do you live in one of these places? Is moving to a safer community something you can work toward before coming out?
No coming out experience is the same. Write it all down. Get it all out. You know your journey better than anyone, and it can help to make sense of it all by journaling, writing a letter, or just doodling thoughts, feelings, events, and emotions. You may want to consider deleting or destroying it after you’ve become familiar with it. Be very careful not to out yourself before you are ready. This step can also help you discover in what way you’d like to share your story- text, phone, email, letter, etc. Whatever feels most natural to you is what method you should choose.
There’s someone out there that loves you and understands you more than others. Find this person and share your story with them first. This could be a friend, parent, sibling, or even a teacher. Maybe they’ve hinted in some way that they are LGBTQ+ friendly- or maybe they just have a connection with you that you can’t explain. Coming out is hard. Don’t make it harder on yourself. Tell someone that you can trust first.
Prepare yourself. Coming out isn’t a one time occurrence. Coming out is a lifelong process. As you begin to take the steps to come out, you’ll start to realize that we live in a heteronormative society- if you haven’t already. Coming out happens over and over, every day, in every situation. Consider asking those who you’ve already told to support you in whatever ways that they can. Lean on the support you have. Feel every emotion. It gets easier with time.
Allow time to facilitate healing. The fear of not being accepted is crippling. The truth is, that is a possibility. This is why we discuss your safety and emotionality first. There is nothing wrong with you. If someone does not accept you, do not give them a single inch of your humanity. Give them time. Do not allow them to make your story about them. Leave the situation, take some space, and allow time to put in the work for you.
Reach out: Do not suffer in silence. Lean on your support system or use your resources:
Trevor Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386 available 24/7
Trevor Text: Text TREVOR to 1-202-304-1200
Trevor Chat: thetrevorproject.org
Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
As Rupaul says, “You know, we as gay people, we get to choose our family.” Keep looking for your family. We are out there. We are everywhere.
This blog post was written by former CWT intern, Krista Kennedy.