What is coming out? Coming out is when someone who identifies with the LGBTQ community tells someone about their sexual/gender identity. If someone comes out to you, make sure to be supportive and offer them your support. In honor of National Coming Out Day, I wrote this article to help anyone in our Kent Place community come out to their parents. Although this article is about parents, many of these tips can be applied to coming out to anyone. Coming out isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be a big deal either.
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to cause fear. Coming out might be really nerve-wracking, or it could be easier than you might think. Please don’t assume that the worst case scenario will happen, but this article is just meant to help you prepare. Also, everyone’s experience may be different, so not everything on this list may work for you personally. This list is student-generated advice based on personal experiences, and the tips on this list are not created by experts, nor are they based on research. If you have any feedback, concerns, or suggestions, I invite you to please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have patience: Sometimes the generational gap between parents and their children might mean that a parent may need some time to think about things. Also, it is important to be patient with yourself, meaning that is it okay to take time to think about things yourself. If you are not sure about your identity, that’s okay.
Have a back-up plan: This entails that you have a short-term and long-term plan. For example, when I first came out to my mom, I was planning on going to a friend’s house (make sure you are able to get there on your own) so that I could give my mom some time to think. If you are unsure of what your parents’ reaction will be, consider packing a bag. However, your back-up plan doesn’t just refer to the possibility of being kicked out, it also means identifying who supports you and the plenty of other resources out there (see tip #8).
Think carefully about when, where, and who you come out to: When you are coming out, you are probably at least a little bit nervous. Having family/friends who support you is great for lessening your nervousness. If you’re coming out to your parents, maybe consider coming out to one parent at a time. Although this does mean coming out twice, it may be less intimidating to to tell one person instead of two. It is especially important that you think about the right time and place to come out. You want to make sure that when you do it, there is nothing to distract the people/person you are coming out to. It is important to be aware of any activities/events that you had previously planned and think about how coming out may affect that. In my personal coming out experience with my mom, I had a plan to go to my friend's house after I told her, just so that I could let both of us have some time to think afterwards. When I was thinking about the perfect time, I had all my homework done before, and I waited until after I ate dinner, so that I could leave my house if I needed to without being hungry or worrying about unfinished homework.
Don’t feel pressured, and do it on your own time: In the last tip, I talked about waiting for the right time and place, but remember that you decide when that is, so if you are not ready, that’s okay. I waited three years to tell my mom, because I didn’t feel like I was ready to. It can be hard to accept your own identity, so it may take some time before you want to tell the people closest to you. There is no reason that you should be forced to do it, and don’t let anyone tell you that either.
Put your safety first:If you think that it would be dangerous to come out, put your safety first and wait.
Know that you have resources. If you want to talk to someone, you have plenty of resources to do so:
The Trevor Project (chat and phone calls):
- Trevor Lifeline: (866) 488-7386
- Trevor Chat: text START to 678-678
- Or you can use their website to communicate/find support
Trans Hotline : (877) 565-8860
Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255
National LGBT Hotline: (888) 843-4564
Crisis Text Line (for any crisis): 741-741
Besides these resources, you could also talk to another trusted adult (a teacher, coach, etc.), friends, another family member, as well as Kent Place’s GSA club.
I hope these tips helped you out! Remember that no matter what, you are loved by so many people around you. Never be ashamed of who you are.
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