On Coming Out
Coming out is different for everyone, so make sure you do what feels genuine and organic to you. Here are 7 of our tips for coming out based on our experiences. We hope some of this is helpful!
Coming out is a process
Coming out is not a one-and-done deal. As difficult as it might be, we will be coming out and out and out for the rest of our lives--to new friends, new coworkers, and new neighbors forever. But don't worry--in most cases, it gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes, and the better you get at reading situations to determine what the best move is.
Coming out is your decision to make
This is nobody's decision but yours, even though sometimes we are thrust out the closet against our own will by people with malicious intent or even people who out us completely by accident. Regardless, coming out should happen when you feel most comfortable doing so. This is a scary process for a lot of queer people, both young and old, so do it on your own time, at your own pace, and on your own terms when possible. Timing is everything, so if you are at a stage in life that is particularly stressful for other reasons, coming out to people who might not support you afterwards can add to this burden of stress. And never let people pressure you into coming out--especially a significant other. If they truly care for you, they need to understand that this is your choice to make, not theirs, and they should support you in how you navigate this lifelong process.
Take baby steps
You don't have to take the plunge into deep waters right off the jump. Come out first to someone you know who is an ally. This will give you a boost of confidence and some practice that will go a long way when coming out to "more difficult crowds" in the future. The first person I came out to was my best friend who I knew would support me, love me, and accept me no matter what--and he did. From there, I slowly began coming out to different friends, my siblings, social media followers, until, eventually and years later, I was able to rip the bandaid off and come out to my parents. All that practice and support years prior came in handy.
Put your words into writing
Sometimes writing it all down helps with organizing our thoughts and discovering language or methods that work best for you. Maybe through this process you'll realize that the best way for you to come out to certain people is through a letter. Sometimes it's easier for others to process things and actually pay attention to words when they're written as opposed to when they're spoken. Things can get heated and out of hand in person in some cases, so maybe writing is the way to go for you. It also gives you time and space to think of everything you want to say with room for edits.
Talk to someone who is out
If you have someone that you trust who is queer and out, reach out to them for advice or support. Listening to other people's stories can help you discover what might work or not work for you, and it can also be comforting to talk to someone who knows what you are going through. And if you ever need advice or someone to talk to, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Prism@Hopeloft.com! (:
Have a plan
If coming out to your family puts you at risk, then wait until you have a plan. Reach out to friends or other family members who might be willing to let you stay with them if need be. Make sure you have money to support yourself. In cases where coming out might go really badly, maybe writing a letter and leaving it for them while you are out of the house is the best option for you. This can also work for people who are not great at confrontation in general, or those who are just not good at confronting certain people. Make sure you have a plan that best fits your situation.
Coming out is a learning process
Don't expect to have all the answers immediately. This is something that you learn with practice and time. Coming out is different for everyone, so you have to learn what works best for you. Do what feels right, and even if you mess up, you will learn from your mistakes and grow wiser!
We hope our list helped you! Do you have your own advice you would like to share? Do you have a question you would like us to answer (can be anonymous)? Send us your advice or questions! Email us at Prism@Hopeloft.com.