1. Free Yourself from Pressure
Coming out isn’t something you have to do within a certain time frame. Many people feel pressured to talk to people about their sexuality, even if they’re not comfortable doing so. Relax and come out on your own schedule. Remember, this is about you. While it’s natural to want to please the people important to you, you need to do what’s best for your emotional well being. The people that love you most want to see you happy. Whether you’re ready to come out now or need more time, prioritizing your own happiness is best for everyone involved.
2. Labels Aren’t Essential
Even if you’re prepared to come out, there might not be a specific label that you identify with. While labels such as gay and lesbian are useful for many people, they’re not a requirement. You should trust your own feelings. If there’s a specific label that makes sense to you, feel free to adopt it. If there’s no label that speaks to you, you don’t need to choose one.
3. You Don’t Have to Abandon Your Faith
If you have religious beliefs, you don’t have to give them up when you come out. In most cases, you’ll be able to find religious groups that are accepting of all followers, regardless of their sexuality. Check online to find groups in your area.
4. Take the Time to Read Other People’s Stories
It’s important to remember that many people have been in the same position you’re in right now. Reading these stories can is a wonderful way to see that you’re not alone. It can also give you the confidence you need to come out to your loved ones. At RUComingOut, you can find more than 300 stories from real people. You can also find interviews with many gay celebrities. Take a look at these stories if you’re feeling fearful or anxious.
5, Start Out Small
Keep in mind that you don’t need to come out to everyone you know right away. Instead, you can pick one person you trust to come out to. This could be a close friend, a family member, or someone that’s served as a mentor to you, like a teacher.
After you’ve opened up to one person, you’ll feel like there’s a weight off your shoulders. It’s been said many times before, but opening up to others can help you in all kinds of ways. Better yet, you’ll be able to get advice and speak openly with that person as you prepare to come out to the other people in your life.
6. Don’t Cling to Stereotypes
Media representation has come a long way over the years. When TV shows, movies, and other media first started to feature gay characters, it was common to see butch women and effeminate men. It’s not unusual for people to assume that all gay people match up with these stereotypes.
There are also new stereotypes that have cropped up. For example, some people think that all gay men are muscular and have facial hair.
Stereotypes can be frustrating, which is why you shouldn’t let them define you. You can be whoever you want to be. Whether you’re butch or feminine, muscular or out of shape, you should feel free to be yourself.
Part of growing up is discovering the person that you want to be. Your sexuality is just a part of who you are. Take the time to explore your interests and find out more about yourself.
7. You’ll Have Protections
Schools, colleges, universities, and workplaces are legally obligated to make sure that students or employees are treated fairly. You should have access to the same opportunities as other students. Schools and workplaces often provide training so that staff know how to address homophobia.
It’s not unusual for schools to have LGBTQ groups for students. This can be a wonderful place to connect with people and even make new friends. While you shouldn’t feel obligated to be a part of one of these groups, they can be a wonderful place to get to know people that understand what you’re going through.
8. Focus on the Bright Side
Coming out can be anxiety inducing. Ultimately, however, it can also be incredibly rewarding. It will feel amazing to be open about who you really are. It’s a life altering experience.
It’s normal to be nervous, but you have a lot to look forward to as well.
9. Not All Experiences Are Positive
Things don’t always go smoothly for people when they come out. That’s why you should make sure you have a support system that you can rely on. LGBT counselling is there to help you deal with situations that may come up, in addition to friends or family you can depend on.