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Coming out

"Coming out" is a termed used when a person tells others that they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.

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

For many people, coming out is something that happens over time. You may come out to some people and not others. If it is important to you that others not share your story, then tell people that you want to to be the one to tell others when you are ready. You can ask them to not talk about this without your permission.

There is no “best way” to come out to friends and family. It will be different for each person and it will depend on the situation and relationships. If you decide that you would like to come out, here are some things to keep in mind:

Make sure you are ready. Are you sure about your sexual orientation? Are you comfortable with your sexual orientation? If you are still wrestling with doubt or guilt, it might be better to wait until you are comfortable with your orientation. Some people like to write down what they want to say beforehand, so they can plan what to say and how to say it.

Do you have support? Look for LGBTQ 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!

Choose a good time and place. 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.

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. If you get a negative reaction, find support from others who understand what you are going through. Remember, you deserve support for who you are.

Resources

QMUNITY – BC’s queer resource centre
YouthInBC – LGBTQ resources for youth in BC
Sunshine Coast Gay and Lesbian Association
Safe 'n Sound Squamish – LGBTQ+ resources and support in Squamish
PFLAG – Support and information for parents and family members of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans* loved ones
Gay Okanagan Network
Nanaimo Pride
Generation Q – Queer support and discussion group for youth (ages 13-18) in Nanaimo
The Youth Project – Links to resources and information around sexual orientation and gender identity.
AVERT.org – Information on coming out
AVERT.org – Coming out stories
Our Bodies, Ourselves – Resources for LGBTQ Youth
Coming Out Resource Guide – US-based guide for LGBT, produced by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation

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