This article was published on May 15th, 2013
Coming out is one of the scariest moments for gay people, especially youth. It’s full of emotion and takes a lot of strength and courage. Making the decision to come out is difficult and takes time.
Here are 10 questions you will want to think about and ask yourself before coming out:
- Is it the right time? Make sure you are in a good emotional state, of sound mind, and in a comfortable position in life. You cannot predict how people will react and you need to be prepared that no matter the outcome that you are comfortable with those reactions and will be fine no matter the response. Ensure you have a stable foundation and have a clear mind.
- Are you emotionally ready? It’s never good to come out after breaking up with someone or after the death of a loved one. Coming out takes everyone time to process the information and to adjust to the news. Do it at a time when people are in good spirits. If you’re coming out over Christmas, maybe not make it Christmas morning when opening presents, and definitely not after everyone has had a few too many rum & eggnog. After a Sunday barbeque dinner would be a good time, when everyone is relaxed and enjoying themselves.
- Have you anticipated the questions you’ll be asked? Yes, there will be questions – many questions! Be prepared for questions and topics ranging from how do you know you are gay, to safer sex, to threats of bullying. Some questions you might be comfortable with, others might be more embarrassing or awkward. Regardless of the questions, always answer honestly. If you don’t know the question, see if you can look up the answers online, research the answer together, or agreed to get the answer and to get back to them in a reasonable amount of time.
- Will you be able to remain calm? Emotions will run high! Expect everything from tears of joy to words of anger. Just remember to be calm and don’t over react. Refrain from shouting and insults if the conversation turns negative.
- Can you support yourself? Make sure you have resources like a secure place to stay, money for food, and a safe place to go if you need someone to talk to afterwards. Youth may need to consider options of staying with another family member including aunts/uncles, grandparents, older siblings, or other extended family if it’s not safe to stay at home.
- Do you have a support network? Youth should look to gay/straight alliances in participating schools, school counselors, or other peers in the community to reach out to if they have questions or need someone to talk to. Parents can access online resources or join a support group, like PFLAG.
- Have you thought about how you want to come out? It’s not recommended to come out while intoxicated, in a moving car, or in a crowded, public location. Choose a private setting where you are comfortable sharing your news. Do it on your terms and don’t drag it out; get to the point, and quickly.
- Who are you going to come out to? Sometimes it’s easier to come out to a friend or family member first. Start off by telling the most important person you can trust more important secret to. Predict their reactions. They can support you and help you with your emotions and to deal with your news. You don’t have to tell everyone at the same time. Do it as you feel comfortable.
- Have you prepared for negative reactions? Sometimes people can get really angry. Have a plan to remove yourself from the situation, safely. Know who you can turn to for help and advice. Never allow yourself to get put into physical danger.
- Are you proud of who you are? The equality movement has taken giant leaps forward in recent decades. Being gay is not considered to be bad. Peoples views are changing for the better. New laws and protection of equal rights are being implemented around the world. Understand that you are not alone. Many people have helped build a strong, safe community, so you can be comfortable and confident in who you are.