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Coming out

Gender identity | Coming out

Are you questioning your sexuality and want to talk about it?

Sept. 30, 2022

Being lesbian, gay, bisexual (or any other sexuality), trans, non-binary or any other gender identity is completely normal and natural.

We understand that it might sometimes be difficult to talk about these feelings though, especially to your closest friends and family.

Some people feel that they are born liking only the opposite gender, the same gender or both. Some feel that they have been assigned the wrong gender at birth. Others might come to these realisations later on in life, or they might change how they identify over time. Some might never want to put a label on their feelings or their gender identity.

Whatever your feelings are, they are ok.

"Whatever your feelings are, they are ok."

What is coming out?

Coming out is what people often say when you are ready to tell your support networks and others about your authentic true self.

It’s not essential to come out publicly – in fact, it’s quite common for people to be ‘out’ in certain areas of their lives but not in others – but lots of people feel that they want to be open with the people they are closest to.

Other people feel that they shouldn’t have to come out, because people who are not LGBTQ+ don’t have to. There’s no right or wrong choice: do what’s right for you.

Deciding to come out might feel like a very hard or scary decision, so take as much time as you need to make it. If you decide you are ready, it can help to be prepared and to ask yourself some questions before you do.

Should I come out?

Ask yourself why it is important to you to come out. This could be because hiding your identity might make you feel low or insecure, or it could be that you want to be out and proud to be you. It might be that you are starting to feel ready to meet people or start dating.

Whatever you decide, you haven’t lied to anyone by not coming out sooner or at all – don’t let anyone make you feel like you have.

Who should I tell?

If you do want to come out, it is important to think carefully about who you tell and when.

It might be easier to tell someone outside your family first, or to talk to somebody else who has already come out about their experiences.

You might have a close relationship to someone in your family who you want to tell first – this is completely up to you. Find a trusted person to you.

You might have to explain what some terms mean, so it could help to be ready with some simple definitions.

Think what the reaction of the person you tell might be. If you feel you need additional support, consider telling them with someone else there with you.

If there is a chance the person may still respond in a negative way, try to talk about your feelings rather than your opinions. For example, you could start sentences with ‘I feel’. This is not because your opinions are wrong or invalid, but just because feelings are much harder to argue with!

"Find a trusted person to you."

When should I tell them?

Plan a good time, when you'll have enough time to talk.

Make sure that you have a clear head and that you haven’t been drinking alcohol or taking any substances.

Try to avoid telling them at a big family occasion (like a wedding, Christmas, Mother’s Day or a birthday party). These occasions are full of other emotions and the person you tell might have their focus on something else and not have the time to talk.

Try to tell them calmly, and not when you are in a bad mood or want to hurt them with the news. Make sure there is time for them to process the information. They will have feelings too.

If you have trouble talking maybe go and do an activity together in which there are distractions, should you need them, like going to the zoo or shopping. Sometimes this can ease pressure.

What if they don't like it?

Every person is different and there is no perfect way of making sure everything goes well. Most parents will be happy and proud that their child is being open and honest with them, but there are some that are not. Some parents might feel shocked at first, or show emotions of anger or anxiety, and you might have some arguments. It is common for parents or relatives/carers to need some time to adjust.

If you think your family is likely to react badly to you coming out to them, then have a back-up plan in place. If you live with your parents and you think they might kick you out when you tell them, make sure that you have a safe place to go to until things calm down. Make arrangements with a friend or another relative beforehand, have some money saved and some clothes at their house.

Remember, this is just a back-up and hopefully coming out will not be a problem. If you are unsure, talk to somebody first and get support.

Email beyou@porchlight.org.uk to find out how we can help.

Remember, help is at hand

You are still you. Let them know that you have not changed, and that you respect them, which is why you want to be honest.

If your parent, friend or anyone else reacts badly to your news, give it some time. Some people need longer than others to let the information sink in. They might need to get some information or support themselves.

If you need some support before, or after you've given someone your news remember the BeYou team are here to help. Contact us here.