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Tips for coming out queer
Discovering your sexual orientation or gender identity is a tough journey for anyone to go through at any age. Here’s some tips and learnings from my own coming out I’d like to share with you, dear readers.
1. Study the Cass Model of Identity. This is a good tool for gauging where you are in your coming out journey.
2. Relax. Don’t worry if you can’t put a word to your feelings. It’s okay to experiment and it’s okay if you don’t know who you are or you label yourself something different each week. Take your time and above all: USE PROTECTION if you are going to experiment with anything sexually. Don’t let anyone pressure you into anything you don’t want, it’s okay to say “No” and never ever let anyone tell you who they think you are. Only you can know that.
3. Make sure you will be safe if you tell people. I can’t stress this enough. People have been thrown out of their homes or been beaten up or abused. Be safe and smart.
Have a back up plan ready. Arrange to stay at a friends house. Arrange to tell your family in a public place so no-one can make a scene or hurt you.
Sometimes it’s better to wait until you move away from home and you can support yourself before you tell people.
4. Before coming out to people, think of what questions they might ask and have answers in mind just in case.
Stand your ground. People may try to tell you that you are wrong or you don’t know what you want. Politely correct them and ask them if they have any questions for you.
Be willing to answer questions but feel free to tell someone when you feel a question is inappriopriate.
5. An important thing to remember is that your family and friends may go through a grieving period. Parents still have unintentional expectations and hopes and dreams for their children and rarely is “being gay/bi/trans/asexual/pansexual etc” on the list. It will be a shock. Give them time.
6. If you feel no one in real life will accept you, try meeting other queer people on online forums or find your local queer youth centre or queer social groups. Be safe and smart when talking to people online.
7. Come right out and say it. Beating around the bush or dodging the subject will (1): scare your friends or family member; or (2): give the impression that you’re ashamed. You can write a letter if you want or use any other medium you feel comfortable with.
8. Coming out is a life long process. We do it everytime we introduce our partners to another person or talk about transitioning. Over time it will be easier to do.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: If you don’t fell comfortable or safe coming out, that’s okay as well. You have no obligation to come out. Do what makes you feel comfortable.
If you have any questions about coming out or need advice, feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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