Tips on "Coming Out" to Your Family and Friends
Ellen & Portia
Are you secretly gay or lesbian but are afraid of coming out to your friends and family? Opening up to your loved ones about your sexuality is never easy. When I first came out to my family, well, it wasn't exactly "coming out" or an easy confrontation. I was sort of guilty by association and my girl friend at the time was the one who "outed" me. That's a whole other story! Regardless of the situation, coming out is easier said than done. Maybe your family is conservative, religious, or homophobic. But no matter what beliefs they may follow, they are still your family. Coming out is a confusing time. You may start to wonder, "What will people think of me?" "Will my family and friends stop loving me?" "Will people make fun of me?" This is an opportunity to re-evaluate yourself and who you want to be.
Life is too short to live in a closet.. haha! Let me try again, Life is too short to live with regrets.
You should always be true to yourself.. Here are some tips about coming out to your friends and family that helped me.
1.) Make sure that you are what you say you are. Accept yourself. A lot of teenagers and people think that homosexuality is something you can just "try out" until you realize that you really are or not. In a lot of cases, being "bisexual" becomes a new trend. That, my friends is NOT cool. Don't pretend to be someone you're not just because its the "cool" thing to do.
2.) Reach out to the closest person to you.. Casually bring up the topic about homosexuality and wait for their reaction.. if its positive, you can slowly start telling them about yourself. If their reaction is negative, maybe you should reach out to some people who ARE gay. Join a group on line, whether its myspace or facebook, whatever, join a group and reach out to people who are experienced. Chances are, they've been in your shoes too. Everybody is different and their experiences are different, but there are people your age going through the same thing you are. Sometimes its helpful to get a second persons perspective.
Know that you are not alone.
3.) Learn about the Gay community. Educate yourself on practicing safe sex, how to handle discrimination and defamation. Because of religious and or personal beliefs, a lot of people are not accepting of this lifestyle. Try to surround yourself with positive influences such as celebrities, artists, or people you meet.
4.) When you are ready to come out to your family, start off with the person you feel most comfortable with and when you're ready, work your way up to your parents.And if your parents are not okay with it, surround yourself with people who are. I'm not saying that you should turn your back on your parents but this is a hard process for them as well. Educate them with books or articles about homosexuality. It may take a little longer for them to come to terms with the situation or even accept it, but they will on their own time.
No matter how you do it, whether its through a letter or an email, tell the truth and make sure that you are ready and comfortable. Keeping your sexuality hidden will repress your true emotions and desires in the long run. Believe me, that is NOT fun. Being gay or lesbian does not make you a monster. Be proud of who you are. People in this world discriminate against others not only because of their orientation, but race, gender, religion, and anything they can. We live in a society that judges and discriminates each other! Shameful, isn't it? One's opinion is only as big as you make it. I hope this was somewhat helpful.. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post!