So, coming out is a brave decision and in all likelihood one that will make you feel happier as time goes by and you feel more confident about it. It’s a big deal and people who aren’t LGBTQ+ sometimes don’t realise just how big of a deal it is!
Thinking about coming out?
Hearing those words come out of your mouth can be amazing, especially if you chose to say them to someone accepting. Feeling like you can finally be yourself can be unbelievably liberating!
Below are a few tips and pieces of advice from young people who’ve been right where you are – and if nothing else that’s a big thing to remember; even if you’re alone when you do it, you’re not completely alone because thousands of thousands of young people have been exactly where you are and not exactly what you’re going through.
Coming out to your friends can sometimes be awkward and make you not feel as confident with each other at first, but that will pass. Good friends would and should support you whilst coming out, and the vast majority will, even if it’s awkward at first.
You can also read the coming out stories from a couple of our young people here as well as find more in our LGBTQ+ podcast
Remember it’s your decision! It’s your identity and entirely your thing – don’t let anyone else pressure you into if you’re not ready!
It might help to be prepared and it definitely helps make sure you’re ready to come out. There’s a bunch of ways you could do this – rehearse in your head, right a few things down, watch some YouTube videos… If you get easily flustered in things you could even keep a note on you for what you want to say.
There’s no “right way” to come out! There are dozens of ways to come out, from conversations to writing songs, playing YouTube videos, showing a comic strip, the list goes on and you can get as creative as you want! Make sure you’re ready, don’t let any friends push you into it.
You can come out to just one person that’s close to you, or a few friends, or broadcast it over Facebook. Everyone’s story will be different and what works for one person will be different for others.
If you plan to tell someone, it’s worth choosing that first person to come out to wisely. You don’t have to announce things to the entire world all at once. You can take it slow! It could be a friend, a family member, a mentor, a teacher…
You can start coming out to people more casually as you become more confident and secure of your identity. The truth is you’ll have to “come out” a whole bunch of times throughout life; it gets easier and you’ll find the way that works for you. Be ready for some cliched reactions, like “it’s just a phase” or “how do you know?” or “oh a guy on street is gay too…”! Don’t let people’s reactions determine your value though.
Remember you’re not alone – every LGBTQ+ person who’s ever come out knows what it feels like before you say the words
If you need inspiration, look on YouTube. There’s lots of coming out stories that may help out and you can check out www.rucomingout.com too.
Worried things will go wrong?
OK, yes, they might… there's always that chance.
But a lot of the time people do take these things better than we think they will – probably because most of us are better at imagining worst scenarios than best case ones!
The advice above will hopefully make you feel a little more confident about coming out, but it’s up to you when, and if, you do it. You feeling safe is really important if you do decide to come out. If there is a chance things might be unpleasant or may get difficult, as long as you’re safe those are things that others can help you with (finding others in LGBTQ+ groups is a great start)
If you’re worried, take your time, listen stories of others, www.rucomingout.com might help, pop along to a local youth group. You can read a story about coming out from one of our young people here too.
Sadly, some people out there might not be accepting. If you spend too long online, you can find people who don’t accept much of anything to be fair… What you need to remember is that they are the minority. There are far more people who do accept and support you than the loud minority who don’t, even if they’re not in front of you right now.
We’ve also got a couple of coming out posters for you too :)