As we continue to celebrate Pride Month, we want to cover some topics that students have identified as important conversations. Coming out is a process that is unique to every individual, and you get to decide if, when, and how that happens. Below, we have some advice from one of our team members who has gone through the coming out process. Please take whatever advice feels right for you – follow your instincts, honor your thoughts and emotions, and be safe.
- Come out in whatever way feels the most comfortable to you. It can feel like there is pressure to make coming out a memorable event, but it doesn’t need to be that way. When I came out, I felt more comfortable doing it in a casual way. With most people in my life, I didn’t plan to come out at a certain time, I would just know that I wanted to and then I would tell them when a conversation about relationships came up. Coming out in an informal way is just as special and memorable as planning something bigger.
- Do not feel like you need to justify why you choose a certain time to come out to someone. I worried that people would question why I didn’t come out to them earlier than I did. Coming out is vulnerable and can be difficult - focus on telling whoever you feel the most safe talking to, and not who you think would expect to be told first.
- Do not be afraid to ask someone to keep information about your sexual identity private - that is never too much to ask.
- If someone does not reciprocate you sharing your identity with them, that does not mean that you were wrong for coming out to them. It is not your fault if someone responds negatively or does not know how to respond. You should expect acceptance and love, and if that is not given, it is not your responsibility to make your identity more digestible for the person you’ve come out to. I have only had a couple experiences like this, and I felt as though it was my responsibility to protect the other person from feeling bad about their reaction. That is never your job to take on. Remember that you can exit a conversation that doesn’t feel validating or supportive.
- Your identity as a LGBTQ+ individual is valid whether or not you have come out. I remember Pride month being difficult before I came out because I didn’t feel seen or heard. Remember that you are an important part of the LGBTQ+ community regardless of where you are at in the coming out process.
What Resources are available?
The Trevor Project website has info, resources, and a live chat feature.
You can call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386
To use TrevorText, text START to 678-678
And as always, if you’d like additional support through conversations, resources, or safety planning, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.