As the LGBTQ+ community becomes increasingly visible, more and more people are starting to feel comfortable sharing their gender and sexual identities.
You may be thinking about coming out to your friends and family, but there are a few things you should consider before taking that step. Coming out is a personal choice that not everyone is ready or necessarily willing to make. A few things to consider may include how it will impact your personal relationships, your career, and your personal safety. It's also important to be aware of the different types of discrimination that LGBTQ+ people face. If you're thinking about coming out, you may be interested in doing your research to be prepared for the potential challenges.
Coming out can also be an exciting process! But, it's important to take the time to make sure it's right for you. In this article, we have included 7 things to consider before you decide to come out.
- Coming out is a very personal decision
- How safe will you be?
- What kind of support systems do you have in place?
- How will your family react to your orientation?
- What's the best way to come out?
- How do you deal with feeling shame and guilt?
- What are the benefits to coming out?
1. Coming out is a very personal decision
Coming out is a very personal decision, and no one can make that decision for you. It's important to weigh all the factors before making the choice to come out. You may currently find yourself in situations where you are feeling dishonest about your identity, but there is no need to feel this way. If you're not ready to be open about your identity, don't worry; there's no rush.
Does everyone need to come out? Not at all! There is no correct answer to this question, as everyone's experience and feelings around being LGBTQ+ are different. Some people feel they need to come out to everyone they know, while others may only come out to a select few people. Ultimately, it's up to the individual to decide if, when, and how they would like to share this part of themselves.
2. How safe will you be?
It's important to consider all the risks before coming out. Are there any threats or dangers in your social environment? Will anyone attack, hurt, discriminate against, or otherwise harm you because of your sexual or gender identity? It can be a very scary decision to make, and there are a lot of potential risks involved. But, it's also important to remember that there are risks in not coming out as well. At the end of the day you have to be sure that you are in a safe position - mentally, physically, economically, and otherwise.
3. What kind of support systems do you have in place?
What kind of support system do you have in place? Would you feel comfortable coming out to your family and friends? Do you feel supported by them? If not, what may help? Consider these questions carefully. You may need to talk about this first with someone who has been through a similar experience. They might offer some suggestions or advice.
4. How might your family react to your orientation?
When you come out, there are a lot of things to think about. One of the most important is how your family will react. Will they accept your identity? Or will they reject you because you're different from their idea of "normal"? If your parents already have an opinion on sexuality, that could make things even more challenging. In any case, before making any decisions about whether to tell your family about your sexual identity, ask yourself these questions:
- How close are you to your family?
- How religious are they?
- How will they react to your orientation?
- Do they hold homophobic or transphobic beliefs?
5. What's the best way to come out?
Coming out is a personal experience that can be both exhilarating and terrifying. For some, it's a lifelong journey that starts with the realization of their own sexuality or gender identity. Others may come out in a moment of spontaneity. No matter when or how it happens, coming out can be an important step on the road to self-acceptance.
There are no right or wrong ways to come out. You may decide to have conversations, send texts, or blast it over social media. Totally up to you!
6. How do you deal with feeling shame and guilt?
Do you have a strong sense of confidence about your identity? If so, then you're probably not going to feel too much guilt for being who you really are. However, if you struggle with feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, depression, anger, etc., chances are that you'll also find yourself struggling with feelings of shame and guilt. You may be ashamed that you've been hiding this part of yourself from others; or maybe you feel guilty because you don't want people to think badly of you. Some people even go as far as blaming themselves for their sexual orientation. Coming out can open you to hate from the outside world and this may cause you to internalize shame. It's important to intentionally pursue the process of building your coping mechanisms for dealing with feelings of shame and guilt.
7. What are the benefits to coming out?
There are many benefits to coming out! For starters, it can be liberating and empowering. It can also help you form closer relationships with the people who matter most to you. You will find that when you come out, there is no longer a need to hide yourself away in order to not hurt someone else’s feelings. There is nothing wrong about your identity! Additionally, coming out can help you live a more authentic life. When we don't have to worry about hiding our true selves from others, we feel freer to express ourselves authentically. We may even discover new talents or gifts we never knew existed within us. Finally, it can send a powerful message to other LGBTQ+ people that it's okay to embrace and celebrate your true self.