Help For Coming Out
In almost every resource, you find that “coming out” is a process. It takes time, thought and planning. Ask yourself some basic questions:
- Why do you want to come out? What is it that is motivating you right now?
- What would your best outcome look like?
- What do you anticipate your family reaction will be? And why? The “why” is most important because it gives you clues to where you need to prepare.
In coming out it is helpful to consider the following items. If these items are covered carefully, then the outcome can be improved.
- I am ready and I am comfortable with myself. This means that you have made up your mind to come out, that you have a positive self esteem (self value), you have worked through the shame causing you to hide your sexuality, you have developed a healthy attitude about your right to be who you are without apologizing, you are PROUD of yourself and who you are.
- I’ve asked myself why I want to come out, and I’m sure it’s for the right reasons. You want to do it for yourself and not because you feel obligated, forced, or persuaded. You want to be yourself and not hide anymore. You are not trying to punish or hurt someone.
- I’m ready to deal with the outcome. You have thought through all the possible outcomes and made a plan for how you will react to each of these. You have considered the feelings associated with each outcome and you have faced those feelings as real possibilities. You have worked on communication skills to help with emotional responses. You have learned techniques to stay calm in the face of emotional persons.
- I am ready to provide information. You have done your homework. You have studied the history of the gay rights movement. You know the religious arguments and you have facts about those arguments. You know the history of the church in relation to women, slavery, etc and how religious people have changed their minds through changing their hearts. You know the current legal rights for the GLBT community. You have information about possible health issues. You have responses that are based in factual information and not emotion. You have a list of resources for parents and contact information if they want help.
- I have a support system. You have friends, family and professionals ready to give support if outcomes are difficult.
PFLAG can be a support system for individuals during the coming out process. Some individuals seek professionals to be a support system. Everyone’s experience is unique and everyone chooses his/her own way “out” but all of us need support, so seek the support that will be best for you.
- PFLAG PUBLICATION – “BE YOURSELF” – Order at www.pflag.org or come to our next meeting and get one free.
- HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN PUBLICATION – “A RESOURCE GUIDE TO COMING OUT” – Order at www.hrc.org
- Check out our resource page to see books about coming out.