Whether you’re as far in the closet as you can be or you’re half way there, ‘coming out’ is never easy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s to your friends or family, work colleagues or even teacher; there is no real easy way of saying it. Especially if you don’t want to be asked a million questions afterwards. Fortunately enough for me, my family didn’t mind one bit, and several said they already knew and were just waiting for me to tell them. Of course at the time it seems terrifying, particularly when you don’t know how they’ll react.
So whether you’re thinking of telling your Mum, Dad, great aunt or your cat, here are a few dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind…
Do: Take your time
Don’t let anyone pressure you into coming out. You’ll know when the time is right, and you don’t have to tell everybody at once, so just take one step at a time and tell someone you can trust first.
Don’t: Instantly expect everyone to feel the same as you do
Even if you explain your sexuality in the greatest of detail, people don’t always understand or see it quite so positively as you to begin with. But don’t fret, people adjust and coming out initially is the scary bit, and the rest is history.
Do take your time... and be ready to discuss your feelings
Do: Be prepared for some questions
It’s not an interrogation situation, but be prepared for a few questions afterwards. Coming out to your parents is very different from telling a couple of your friends at school/college/work, so you could easily be facing the questions about ‘the future’, marriage, kids and all that jazz. You don’t have to know any of the answers to these right away, don’t worry.
Don’t: Keep things to yourself afterwards
You might not feel comfortable in chatting to your parents/friends right away about the person you fancy the most, but don’t be afraid to talk to them once you’re both past the dramatic ‘coming out’ situation. Onwards and upwards! Don’t bottle things up or you’ll just be going round in a vicious circle.
Do: Give the person you’re telling some time to deal with it too
It may come as a big shock to them, which is fine, but don’t be put off by this. Some of us know what our sexuality is from a young age and others realise later in life, so they need some time to deal with it too, just like we did.
Don’t: ‘Come out’ with your boyfriend or girlfriend
Whether you just hooked up with someone or not, it’s probably not wise to bring them along and try half the duty of coming out to your friends or parents. Not only will they be stood there thinking ‘who the hell is this?’ at your new boyfriend or girlfriend, but if you coming out is a shock already then they may not be prepared to see you with a partner just yet.
Do: Hope for the best and prepare for the worst scenario
You’re probably unsure how they’re going to react, but if you’re prepared for the worst case scenario then nothing can put you down and the rest is easy.
Scrabble might not be the best time to reveal your true sexuality!
Don’t: Use a defensive tone
Whether you think they’re ready for the news or not, standing with your eyes closed and loudly grumbling ‘I’mgayandIdon’tcareifyoulikeitornot’ in an angry tone will get you nowhere. They’ll probably ask you to repeat yourself and things will just be 100 times more awkward.
Do: Have a friend on standby for a chat afterwards
We all have someone we tell everything to, right? If you’re about to tell your parents, debrief a friend beforehand and let them know you’ll be giving them the lowdown shortly after. It’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders and no matter what the reaction from your parents, you can talk it off and let things cool down before talking about it again.
Don’t: Wear your ‘Some people are gay, get over it!’ t-shirt
So, you might be proud, but this is definitely not the way to break the news to Mum and Dad. •
What's your advice for coming out? Add them in the comments below!
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