This can mean something different to everyone. Coming out to yourself has to do with developing an awareness that you are LGBTQ. Coming out to others involves disclosing your LGBTIQ identity. Coming out to others may be an ongoing process throughout life, though when it’s talked about, for example, as “when did you come out?” it refers to when you first disclosed your LGBTQ identitiy to significant family and friends. Some people choose to come out only to specific people in their life.
Here are some Questions to Ask Yourself Before Coming Out. We recommend you think about these in regards to your own personal circumstances – everyone and everyone’s family is different so only use this info if you think it will work for you. Take time to think about this;
“Are you sure?” is one of the most common questions you will be asked. It’s OK if you aren’t sure, but you might need to answer the question with confidence. Tell them if you are sure. Tell them if you aren’t 100% sure, but assert that you can’t ignore the feelings you are having. Another question often asked is “how do you know?” –how do straight people know that they are heterosexual? It’s just how you feel and who you are. It’s important to be honest about that if you are ready to be and won’t be put in an unsafe situation if you are.
If your family’s reaction may not make you feel good, you need to find someone or a group that you can turn to for emotional support and strength.
Many people’s responses will be based on stereotypes and myths about gay, lesbian or bisexual people. Reading up on the subject will mean you can more confidently respond to these sorts of questions. Check out our Links, Glossary, FAQs and the rest of this Info section.
If you have the choice for when to come out, consider the timing. Try not to tell people during an argument or use your news as a weapon for shock value. This will only distance people and catch them during an aggressive and/or defensive moment.
People often need time to deal with and process this sort of thing if they don’t expect it. Just as it can take time for us to accept our own sexuality, it can take our loved ones time to accept and understand our diverse sexuality. If/when you decide to tell someone close to you, be prepared to give them time to adjust and comprehend this new information about you. Try to hang in there while they get over any initial shock of finding out they didn’t know everything about you.
If you suspect they are capable of withdrawing any financial support or forcing you out of where you live, you may choose to wait until they do not have this pressure to hold over you. You need to think about the advantages and disadvantages.
Depending on your relationship with someone, you may already have a good idea about their views and feelings about sexual diversity. Use this knowledge to consider how much info or support you may need if/when you decide to tell them about your feelings and/or sexual identity.
Yes it is! This is a personal decision that should be yours, though unfortunately this is not always the case. Try not to feel pressured by people who think everyone must come out or by snooping people who ask unwelcome questions.
Coming out to parents and friends is rarely easy, so planning your strategy in advance can make things go much more smoothly. Remember that your fears and their fears will trigger reactions so stay cool and take things easy… the following are some suggested "do's" and "don'ts" from some counselors and researchers… Good luck!
Our sexuality is that part of us that expressed through our sexual activities and relationships. It is represented in our feelings, behaviours and our sexual identity. A person’s sexuality can be homosexual, heterosexual, pansexual, bisexual. A person’s sexual identity is how they choose to describe their sexuality. They may choose a label like gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer, or many others. Many people also choose not to label their sexuality. Everyone expresses their sexuality differently with various levels of diversity. Many people’s sexuality and sexual identity may change at different times of their lives.
“Gender refers to the economic, social and cultural attributes and opportunities associated with being male or female.”
Source: Transforming health systems: gender and rights in reproductive health. WHO, 2001.
A person’s gender is how a person, thinks, acts, dresses and speaks which distinguishes them as masculine or feminine. It’s the sociological construction of one’s maleness or femaleness. A person’s gender can be masculine, feminine, both and/or androgynous. Everyone expresses their gender differently with various levels of diversity or deviance from society’s expectations.
Our identity is our sense of ourselves, who we are, and our character, culture, values, lifestyle and personality.Self esteem (how much a person likes, accepts, and respects themselves overall as a person) is strongly linked to our identity, as our sense of ourselves determines how much we like & respect ourselves. There are things we can do to enhance our self esteem, like writing a list of your strengths or favourite characteristics or talents, or things you wouldn’t change about yourself. You can also do that with a friend and write about each other’s strengths or talents. Sometimes just spending time appreciating yourself can really make you feel good!
Mental Health is a term that broadly describes our mental wellbeing. It’s about our state of mind, and also our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. It’s also about our relationship with the outside world, with other people, and with society. It’s also about how we think about and relate to our selves, and participate in society.
When things are difficult to deal with on your own it’s important to get support. You may have people in your life that you already do or can get support from. Sometimes that’s enough and other times we need more than that. Sometimes just having someone like a friend or family member listen to how we’re feeling is all we need to feel better. Other times a professional’s knowledge can help us figure out how to deal with things that are more tricky.
Relationships can be in all forms, from romantic and/or sexual relationships to friendships and family relationships. Relationships can have a huge impact on us and our lives. They can impact our lives in all different ways; good, bad and confusing.
Being same sex attracted, sex and/or gender diverse can make it harder to meet other who understand where you are coming from so it’s important to link in with the community for support, social networks, or to do your bit to help others in the community. There’s heaps out there!
Online safety is really important these days as we spend more and more time using the internet. Here are some tips for keeping yourself safe when you’re online;
Being same sex attracted, sex and/or gender diverse and having a disability can be hard. Our society has a history of denying that people who have disabilities have a sexuality at all (let alone diverse sexuality!) Many people still think this way and the result is a “double taboo” around sexuality and disability. Many people with disabilities can be denied choices and access to information about sexuality and sexual health.
Living in rural and regional areas and being same sex attracted, sex and/or gender diverse can pose even more challenges, but support is out there!
Freedom Centre provides Info beyond Perth via email, phone, and our website and you can also get involved with the online FC Community in our forum, and on our blogspot page.