Possible Consequences and Reactions to Coming Out

Both positive and negative reactions to coming out are possible.

Negative and positive reactions to coming out are possible. Dealing with negative reactions to coming out can be tough, but consider these tips.Coming out (aka "coming out of the closet") can be one of the most liberating experiences in your life. There is a sense of accomplishment along with a feeling of lifted burden but there are consequences to coming out. It is important to understand that you should not feel guilty about letting go and having a sense of relief. On the other hand, it's important to be realistic and know that not everyone is going to react like you hope they would.

Negative Reactions to Coming Out

If there are negative reactions to coming out, it is important not to get down or discouraged. Time can heal wounds and things generally get better. If some close friends have rejected you, it may be worth it to ask yourself if they were ever really that close in the first place. Of course, that's in the context that you came out in a reasonable way vs using one of these ways you shouldn't come out GLBT.

If your family reacts negatively to your coming out (coming out to your parents GLBT), it may just be a brief but varied range of emotions, such as:

  • Shock
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Blame
  • Disappointment
  • Pain

These initial reactions to coming out can obscure their true happiness for you and your choices. Very few parents will completely reject their child because of their sexuality.

If things turn to the point where you feel like giving up with the whole process of coming out, find someone you trust that you can talk to about your fears and concerns. It may be best to just keep going forward; sometimes going back is even more difficult. The next person you talk to could show a positive reaction to your coming out and be happy for you, shower you with signs of affection and acceptance, and be proud that you were comfortable enough to tell them something of this magnitude.

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Last Updated: 14 March 2016

Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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