Coming out is a multi-stage process for individuals in the LGBTQ community that includes recognizing one’s own sexual orientation and/or gender identity and choosing if, when, and how to share that identity with others.
The coming out process is often viewed as a form of liberation and a celebration, but also can be a frightening experience that includes huge levels of risk. The experience of coming out is different for each person, and there is no one correct way to come out. Here are some important things to think about as you consider making a decision to come out.
- Safety--Are you emotionally, physically, financially, and/or spiritually safe? There can often be dangers associated with coming out, so it is essential to make sure that you have assessed your own safety and that you are not putting yourself at undue risk by coming out.
- Privacy--If you are not widely announcing your identifier to everyone, is the person you’re telling trustworthy?
- Support--What does your support system look like? Are there friends, family members, peers, or professionals who may be of assistance?
- Preparation--Have you considered your own emotional or physical responses to how this person may react? It is important to be prepared for both positive and negative reactions.
- Resources--Do you have an idea of the local, or national, resources that can potentially assist you in your coming out process? Check out your local LGBT Community Center or PFLAG chapter. Look at resources from the Human Rights Campaign, the Bisexual Resource Center, or The Trevor Project. You can also check out our list of LGBTQ resources, including a longer list of Things to Consider About Coming Out and Tips on Being an Ally.
Remember, each person’s journey is different and only you can know when is the best time to come out.