This article was published on September 21st, 2017
If you are out and proud in the gay community, then you know that one of the hardest things to do is to come out and be part of the LGBT acronym. Not just anyone can walk down the street wearing hot pink high tops singing Whitney’s I’m Every Woman at the top of his lungs. For some, it can take years of self-doubt, depression, insecurity, self-loathing, and healing in order to come out – to themselves and to the world. The out queer community has an unsaid, unspoken responsibility to help others with the coming out process. Here are 7 ways you can best support someone who hasn’t come out, yet.
- Just being there is the most important thing. You probably didn’t want someone to force you out of the closet or to insinuate that they knew before you were willing to accept it. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t surround your friend or family member with unconditional love and support.
- Don’t try to push your loved one into doing one thing or another. Only they will know when they are ready to come out, publicly or privately. Be patient.
- Listen without talking. There can be a lot of fear expressed by our closeted counterparts. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is listening to their concerns.
- Keep your conversations private. Not all folks want it well known that they prefer relations with members of the same sex. The quickest way rumors get spread is by people talking about business that often doesn’t totally concern them.
- Be willing to accept that some of us just won’t ever come out. Not everyone shares a family background of love and acceptance. There are often deep-suited reasons why some people refuse to come out. Respect their wishes. Their choice is not an easy one.
- Remember that sometimes the single best thing you can do for a friend is nothing at all. Coming out is a very serious endeavor that involves time and the right opportunity for those doing so. Keep your nose to yourself unless otherwise asked.
- Don’t forget to be a support system. Nine times out of ten, the best thing you can do for a friend one or loved one is let them know that you love them and will be there for them, no matter what. Taking away the fear of loss and rejection can help lead your loved ones down a path towards coming out.
Have you helped someone come out? What advice would you give to a friend or family member who is in a coming out situation? Leave your advice in the comments section below.