What is ‘coming out’ ?
What is ‘coming out’?
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What is ‘coming out’ ? Telling people about your sexual orientation or gender identity is often called “coming out”. Coming out need not be a one-time event – lesbian , gay, bi, trans , queer , questioning, and as ( LGBTQ +) people often have to come out multiple times in their lifetime. It’s also something unique for you – people face different challenges when they come out.
There is no “right” way out. Some people prefer to tell everyone at once, for example by posting on social media. Others move more slowly, sharing the news with one person or group at a time. You might feel comfortable only talking openly about your sexual orientation and gender identity with certain groups, or you might decide that you don’t want to be “outcast” in all settings. It is good too. Coming out is also only part of your LGBTQ + journey, and while it may be important to many people, it doesn’t define who you are or how you love and accept yourself.
Coming out can be difficult and takes courage. Some people will welcome the news immediately. Others might have a less positive response or take longer to adapt. It’s important to think about how you want to tell people and how the conversation might go with different people in your life. While getting out can be a challenge, it can also be incredibly liberating. Many people see it as the first step to living authentically as themselves.
Why go out ?
Whether you have come to terms with your sexual orientation or gender identity, or are still considering it, it can be difficult to deal with this on your own. You may come to a point where you need to talk to someone about it – either to get help or just to get rid of it. Hiding who you are from others often means lying and pretending, and it gets exhausting after a while. It can take your focus and energy away from other important things in your life.
You may also want to go out because you think the experience will be exciting and liberating. You may want to introduce people to your partner, seek a new relationship, or simply connect with the LGBTQ+ community and others who have the same sexual orientation or gender identity as you.
Don’t feel pressured to come out, whether the pressure comes from yourself or others. Take your time and trust your feelings – only you will know when you’re comfortable and ready to move on. If you decide not to come out, that’s okay too – your sexuality or gender identity is still very valid.
I want to come out, but I don’t know how – can you help me ?
Coming out is a very personal process, but we’ve compiled a list of useful phrases that might help you get started when having that conversation with loved ones or co-workers.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about my sexuality recently and realized I’m gay. It would mean a lot if you could tell me that you still love and accept me.
“You are important to me, so I want to share with you that I am pansexual. It means that I am attracted to people, regardless of gender.
‘Could we please have a conversation about my gender identity? I think I’m trans and would really appreciate your support on this journey.
“I realized that I don’t feel attraction to other people. I want to share with you that I am an ace.
What will my friends say ?
They might be surprised, have a lot of questions, not know what to say, or even have guessed already. It’s a good idea to start by choosing a friend you trust and who you think will support you.
Think about how you will answer questions such as “how do you know?” or ‘how can I support you?’. You can also decide if you want to tell them in person (whether public or private), over the phone, or via letter or message.
If a friend reacts badly, remember that they may need some time to process what you’ve told them. Although you can’t predict what people will say or do, when you tell a close friend you trust, chances are they’ll feel privileged that you feel able to share something. so personal with him.
How can I tell my family ?
Many people worry about their family’s reaction when they go out. It’s worth acknowledging that coming out might come as a bit of a surprise to them – while you’ve probably had a long time to get used to your identity, your family will be hearing the news for the first time.
Try to tell them at a time when you will be able to talk about it properly. Coming out when you’re fighting or angry isn’t a good idea. Some people talk to their family about it face to face, while others prefer to write a letter or send an e-mail. Your family might be shocked, worried, or find it hard to accept at first. If you’re upset with his reaction, you can end the conversation until he’s had more time to process the news. Remember that their first reaction is not necessarily how they will feel forever.
Go out to work
LGBTQ+ people perform better at work when we can be ourselves and feel valued for who we are. This means that it is in your employer’s interest to help you be open and honest at work. Some employers have staff networks you can join for support and to meet other LGBTQ + people. If there is no network at your workplace, share your news with a trusted colleague or your manager. Or, if you’re feeling brave, network yourself. Chances are you’re not the only LGBTQ+ person at work.
It’s also worth checking to see if your employer is a Stonewall Diversity Champion . We work with workplaces across the UK and globally to improve LGBTQ+ employee experiences.
If you feel a negative reaction after coming out at work, there are legal protections on your side. The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination and harassment on grounds of sexual orientation and reassignment of sex (gender identity) in employment and vocational training. This includes direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimization, and you are protected throughout the employment relationship, from recruitment to dismissal.
Specific support for coming out bi
Coming out as bi, or as an identity that falls under the bi umbrella like pan or queer , can be different from coming out as lesbian or gay, with its own set of hurdles. People might say that being bi is a “phase” or that you’re “really” lesbian or gay, but haven’t come to terms with it.
This may make it seem like your identity isn’t as “valid” as others – but of course that’s not true. Being bi is a valid identity in itself.
Even if you later identify as lesbian or gay, it’s a decision you will make at the appropriate time. No one else can determine what your sexual orientation is at any time in your life.
Specific support for coming out as
Coming out as an ace, or as an identity that falls under the ace umbrella, such as demisexual or greysexual, can come with different barriers to emerging as gay, lesbian and bi , due to the stigma attached to it and a lack of widespread dissemination. understanding and knowledge. You may have to deal with people telling you it’s not ‘normal’ or that you have a mental illness – this can be hard to live with, but remember your experience is personal to you and everything absolutely valid.
Specific support for trans coming out
Coming out as trans, or as an identity that falls under the trans umbrella such as nonbinary or genderqueer , is different from coming out as lesbian , gay, or bi. For one thing, you might want to ask people to use a different name or different pronouns when talking to you. Whether or not you want to transition medically, you may be asked questions about hormones and surgery.
As with all of these conversations, it’s a good idea to reassure people that you’ve given this a lot of thought. Give them time to process your news and tell them how best to help you – are there books they should read, podcasts they should listen to, or movies they should watch ? Our article The Truth About Trans People might be a good place to start if they feel unsure about what it means to be trans .
It’s okay if you don’t answer all the questions you are asked about your transition and what it might entail. But you might want to think about what questions you’re happy to answer (this can vary depending on who you’re talking to) and how detailed you want to go.
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