Last week, on October 11th, we celebrated National Coming Out Day’s 29th Anniversary! Coming out is when you decide to share your sexual orientation or gender identity, whether it be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender to family, friends, or others in your life. Many celebrities have taken to social media to openly reveal their sexuality, and others to support equality, and encourage the LGBTQ community that it’s ok to be yourself.
Even with the growing support, however, it can be scary to reveal your sexuality to friends and family. You may feel a mix of emotions. If you weren’t ready to come out during National Coming Out Day, it’s ok. You have the opportunity to come out whenever you are ready.
It may also help to talk with others going through the same thing as you. Here are some tips:
- Make sure you’re ready. Are you confident discussing your sexual and/or gender identity? Do you feel comfortable answering all of your parents’ questions and concerns? Be prepared to handle negative reactions, too. If you don’t feel very secure, it might be a good idea to wait until you feel emotionally ready.
- Practice. Practice what you are going to say. Saying the words out loud, even just to yourself, can help give you confidence before you talk with your family.
- Give them time to process the news after you tell them. Just because they don’t accept your sexuality right off the bat doesn’t mean they don’t still love and support you.
- Help them learn more about you by giving them resources and connecting them to organizations like Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Assure them that you’re happy and confident with your decision, and let them know that you want their support.
- If you need more support before coming out, ask a trusted adult to help you better prepare. Having an adult your parents trust can also help them process the news.
Are you someone you has a friend or family member who needs help coming out to others? Or maybe a friend or loved one has just come out to you. This can also bring on many emotions and you might not know what to say or how to support them. There are resources available to help you sort through these emotions, answer questions you may have, and provide facts that you may not have known about the LGBTQ community. You can also help by coming out as a straight ally.
We hope that one day, acceptance and equality will overcome adversity so that National Coming Out Day will no longer be needed.
Remember, you are not alone!