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Coming out

"Coming out" is the process of becoming aware of your sexual orientation and/or gender identity, accepting it, and telling others about it.

Coming out can be a very positive experience when friends and family are supportive and the person feels they can finally be themselves. For some people, the idea of coming out can be scary. Some fear negative reactions or rejection from friends and family. Societal attitudes and discrimination can make coming out harder.  

For many people, coming out is something that happens over time. There is no “best way” to come out. It will be different for each person and it will depend on the situation and relationships. If you decide that you would like to tell people about your sexual orientation and/or gender identity, here are some things you might want to consider:

Make sure you are ready

Are you comfortable with telling your sexual orientation and/or gender identity? There is no obligation or rush in coming out to your family, your friends or your co-workers. Take some time to think about the way you want to come out and to whom.

Do you have support?

Look for LGBTQ2IA+ groups in your area, or go online for support. It can help to find people who will understand. You don’t have to go it alone!

Make choices about how and with whom you share

Choose a time and place when you, and those you are telling, have time to talk. If you are feeling tired or emotional, you might want to wait until you are rested and calm. If it is important to you that others not share your story, then tell people that. You can ask them to not talk about this without your permission. You can choose to come out to some people and not others.

Be prepared for different kinds of responses

Some people may respond with support and happiness for you. Others may be surprised and not know how to react. Some may respond negatively, or need time to process. If you get a negative reaction, find support is available from others who understand what you are going through. Remember, you deserve support for who you are.

Resources

QMUNITY – BC’s queer resource centre
Coming Out Resource Guide – US-based guide for LGBT, Human Rights Campaign Foundation
Trans Care BC – Coming Out
PFLAG – Support and information for parents and family members of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans* loved ones

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coming out, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, sexuality
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