Some time in the near future I will be making an article similar to this for families and friends who may not know how to deal with someone coming out to them. I’m also working on a series sort of thing that will cover people’s personal stories, interviews, and what they have to say about coming out and the process. If you’d like to see a certain person or you would like to share yours just contact me to let me know so we can set something up.
So for years I struggled with who I was and a huge part of the problem was that I would hold it all in. I was so afraid of what people would say or do if they found out I was gay. I talked to dozens of people, read different things, just looked around for advice and something that always concerned me was the one big rule. “Always have a backup plan” meaning before you come out make sure you have a support group, somewhere you can stay if things go bad, etc.
I’m lucky because I didn’t have to use a backup plan, but I did have one. Everyone I’ve told has been nothing but supportive and now that I can be myself and be comfortable I feel better. I’m happier, less stressed, and just pleased with where I’m at in life.
Now this post isn’t going to be just my story, it’s going to be that post I wish I would have found when I started realizing who I was. A place with all the resources and help you can find. Had I found it I would have been able to be happy much sooner, but that’s in the past and it’s time to change the present.
Finding Who You Are
In theory this sounds simple and may sound silly. But it’s a very important step. Before you decide you want to “come out” try to understand who you are first. I know how it feels to want to just tell everyone because you want to get it done and over with but that’s not a smart way to do it. You have to accept yourself first and you have to understand that it’s just another beautiful part of you.
A couple of things you could do to discover yourself and become pleased with it is to write yourself a letter, a letter about anything. Coming out to yourself is going to be a huge step. If someone doesn’t like your sexuality they will make it known and if you aren’t secure with who you are they can do some very serious damage to you. No one wants that, not even them. I’ve had people say some pretty hurtful things when I started coming out but I knew who I was and I knew that I wasn’t wrong, so it didn’t destroy me.
You can also find a close friend who you know will be supportive, this person can be your savior and you might not even realize it. You can voice all of your concerns about coming out or being LGBT and this person will give you their feedback. If its positive feedback and it’s within reason I suggest you take the advice given.
You don’t have to climb up on your roof and fly a rainbow flag and scream at the top of your lungs that you’re LGBT, if that’s the way you want to do it then by all means go ahead. But realistically not many are going to have the confidence to do so.
Just like everything, you want to start small, find a good foundation. Talk to your brother, sister, or cousin. Get someone within the family who supports you and they’ll also be able to give you feedback and be able to listen to what you have to say. These first few people you tell are going to be very important in the process. But be prepared, just like in any family, there’s always a risk that the person you tell will slip up and say something to someone else. This isn’t always a bad thing though, most of the time it seems to take out a lot of work. You don’t have to tell anyone anymore, because everyone knows and if they’re curious they’ll just ask you.
But just like I said before, get a small group of people who support you first. Then go on from there.
This was the most horrifying part for me and many others. Not knowing how people will react. Unfortunately people won’t always support you and may even bash you. This can be friends, family, and even strangers. But don’t let them destroy you. You know you’re not a freak and you know there’s nothing wrong so don’t let them brainwash you.
If you have family that makes questionable comments about the LGBT community, I suggest you be careful. Sometimes they’re not as serious as you may think but sometimes it’s worse. In most cases people come around, especially family. They may cry and scream at you but over time they’ll be able to look past it.
In a situation where someone causes harm, mentally or physically, please get out of there. Report it and get yourself help. It may seem impossible but you have to get out of that situation immediately
The Clean Up
This step is assuming things got ugly. I’m not talking about the “Mom, I’m gay” and she starts crying. Odds are you just caught her off guard. I’m talking about a situation where someone says or does hurtful things to you. Like the step before, leave the situation and report it. If you’re religious, find a local LGBT group or church to supports. They’ll be able to help you quite a bit with giving you support and essential resources that will help ensure your safety.
If a friend or family member reacts negatively, don’t hate them for it. They were taught to believe something that isn’t true. They might come around and over time support you. If you don’t, then they simply shouldn’t be a part of your life. Don’t try to fix what isn’t broken, especially if you didn’t break it.
Find The Happiness
There’s a few things in between this and the first step, but they vary from person to person and I don’t want to give you false statements. Once you’re out and you know who supports you and who doesn’t it’s time to start getting comfortable. Those who support you will most likely be willing to give you advice on relationships and what not just like they would have if you were straight.
If a friend or family member says something hurtful or they said it before they knew you were LGBT, confront them. Just to clear the air so you don’t feel uncomfortable around them. Most of the time it was a poor choice of words and they didn’t mean it the way you took it. Once the airs cleared you’ll feel better and you won’t be holding onto those negative feelings.
This is the final part of coming out. You may have gone through hell or maybe it was a breeze, but ultimately, you don’t have to lie to yourself or anyone else anymore. Enjoy your freedom and remember that you’re normal. Remember that your sexuality doesn’t define you. Find your passion and help those who may be struggling.
If you need to find hotlines or websites just simply go to google.com and search “LGBT” or “LGBT support”. Thousands of results will come up and you can choose what you need and what will suit you the most.
If you feel I left something important out please contact me. If you need helping getting resources or you just need someone to talk to than once again, contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org