Trying not to think about the theme song to “The Office”; avoiding eye contact with that kid who tries to steal food on your plate; trying not to burst out laughing with your best friend–your school years are pretty tough.
As if all that isn’t hard enough, the average age at which people usually “come out” as gay, lesbian, or bisexual is now 17 years old. Oh, and the questions, so many questions.
How to do it? When to do it? Who do you tell? Do you tell anyone at all?
You feel like if you take one wrong step on the potential minefield-you got to say goodbye to your gay leg. Seriously, though. For most, (95% of the time) coming out is the most terrifying idea in the world. This fear is perfectly reasonable, but there are ways to transition from “closet case” to “out and proud.” 🙂
“Coming out of the closet”… what does that mean? Well, it is known as an American slang term for no longer concealing one’s identity. When you’re ready to let people know about your identity and feel comfortable doing so; the process of establishing an identity can take years. No one is stuck with one label for their whole life, so that’s good.
Labels aren’t for everyone; many people change their sexual identity as they become more comfortable with themselves. This is the same for gender labels. Gender and sexuality are two separate things, but they both don’t require labels.
Have you ever thought about the point of coming out of all? Or if there is anything good coming out of it? The answer is…YES!
It may sound cliche, but being yourself is good! The most common phrase used after coming out is “a weight off my shoulders.” Again, cliche but very true.
Families and friends are not going to disown or hate you. They’ll most likely support you and have probably already figured it out. When you come out, your relationship becomes closer and honest.
When it goes wrong…
This is the biggest fear of coming out. Being disowned or abandoned.
There may be friends who are unable to accept you, and that’s sad, but you can always make new friends. There are people who are open-minded and don’t care about who you want to date. You should be around people who make you happy.
The worst fear is if your family will react badly. At first, many do–I won’t lie–but with time, they’ll be Gucci.
For very rare incidents, if the situation becomes so bad that you have to leave home, support is out there! Some people live with family members or family friends. At the bottom, I have lists of groups near you.
Coming out is as personal as your identity. But here are two tips I know:
Pick your time: Spontaneous or planned, whatever time you pick, I think a one-on-one conversation is best.
Pick a place: Your loved ones might need some time, so I wouldn’t recommend doing it at a Walmart checkout line.
Keep strong and listen to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”
Remember that coming out is accepting a place in a “persecuted minority.”
So parents are CONCERNED out of LOVE. Identifying as LGBT* is going to make your life a little bit harder and no parent wants that for their kid. But once they know that this is how you’ve felt for a really long time and are finally comfortable talking about it. You are being honest with who you are.
You are loved. Stay strong. Love is love. 🙂
LGBT* Youth Groups:
National Youth Advocacy Coalition: http://www.nyacyouth.org/
Youth resource: YouthResource Online Peer Educators – Advocates for Youth
Discrimination and Bullying:
It Gets Better Project: https://itgetsbetter.org/