When You Want to Come Out, Please Remember the Following Tips

What is coming out?

"Coming out" means telling others something about yourself, but it's not very obvious. Regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, this means sharing with others that you are lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT). The process of coming out may be very different for everyone, and it may take some time for you to feel comfortable and confident enough to have these conversations with people.


Why come out?

In most cases, people just want to be honest about who they are, especially to those they love.


Hiding who you are can be a big struggle. It will distract your attention and energy from other important things in life, such as work, study or exams.


Just because someone might decide to come out to family or friends does not mean they have to come out to everyone. It is common for people to go out in certain areas of life and not to go out in other areas.


It may take a while for you to reach the point where you are ready to come out, which is absolutely fine. The main thing to remember is not to put pressure on yourself and only come out when you are ready.


When you want to come out, please keep the following points in mind:


Trust your instincts. Don't be forced to come out because of friends or circumstances. Coming out is a process. Different people are ready at different times in their lives. You may want to be open to your identity, but you also need to consider your safety. If you are at risk of physical harm or being kicked out of your home, it may be safer to wait until you finish high school or college and can live on your own.

Weigh all the possibilities. Ask yourself these questions: "Will coming out make my life more difficult? How can it make things easier? Is it worth it?" The Human Rights Movements coming out guide has many tips and things to consider.

There is a support system. If you cannot talk about your identity publicly, or if you want to figure out whether you should come out, talking to a counselor or calling an anonymous helpline (such as GLBT National Youth Talkline) will help. Having the proper support system can help you plan how (or not) it will come out. If any response to your coming out is not what you expected, the support system can also help you cope.

Let go of expectations. The person you come out may not react as you expect. You may find that some relationships take time to return to their original state. Some may change permanently. Friends and family-even the most supportive parents-may need time to adjust to your message.

Consider privacy. You may be lucky enough to have mature enough friends who respect personal privacy information and keep it confidential. However, whenever you share information, there is a risk of leaking it to people you may not want to know. The therapist and counselor must keep any information you share confidential-but only if they believe you will not harm yourself or others. If the counselor thinks you might harm yourself or others, he or she must report it.

Coming out is a personal choice. Take a moment to think about what is right for you. And remember: there is no right or wrong to come out.

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