Coming Out Gay Step-By-Step
What Does Coming Out Gay Mean?
Coming out gay refers to the process of accepting one's own sexuality and embracing it, followed by disclosing it to family, friends and co-workers. Due to different amounts of social and family pressures that surround each individual, coming out gay is different in each instance. (Thinking about coming out gay? Read: What is Coming Out, and Should I Come Out of the Closet?)
To start with, coming out gay can often be confusing and scary because of:
- being fearful of other's reactions
- concerns for the person's own future
- concerns over scrutiny and discrimintaion
These concerns are all valid and represent a fear of the unknown. However, this time can also be seen as an opportunity for personal reflection; examing who individual is and who the individual wants to be. Because of this, many people who have come out gay refer to it as a process of being reborn.
How to Come Out Gay
Create a personal inventory when coming out.
Although being gay does not define a person, it is nonetheless a new part of that person's life. The individual does not have to completely alter their personality, they are still who they are, but when you come out gay, it does provide an opportunity to:
- reflect and evaluate your own life and trasition
- concentrate on your own well-being and personal feelings
- educate yourself as much as you can about these issues
- create and plan a personal direction of your gay lifestyle
Coming Out Gay: Know that you are not alone.
Oftentimes when a person comes out gay, they feel isolated and different regardless of where they live and who they surround themselves with. These feelings are commonplace and felt by millions around the world at any given time. There are many gay support groups, organizations, resources and forums one can go to in order to deal with this stress. These include gay community centers and gay online communities, where one can find others dealing with similar issues who can offer some support.
Tell family and friends you're gay when you're ready.
Any person who has come out gay has dealt with a certain amount of stress in dealing with the reaction of his or her loved ones. Many are afraid that their family will reject them, or that their friends will no longer be comfortable with them, or their social standing might be jeopardized. These concerns are valid and must be dealt with at some point. Unfortunately, there is no way of predicting the reactions of family and friends. In the end, the overriding concern must be the individual's own health and well-being.
One must try to surround themselves with as many positive support structures as possible. If a person's family does not take kindly to the news, they should try to educate their family regarding their lifestyle and maybe seek out a support program at a local gay community center.
Coming out gay is not a race and there is certainly no set timeline one must adhere to. Each person's situation is different and demands a different pace. The one common theme that seems to be present amongst all individuals who come out gay is the liberation of no longer having to lie or hide the truth. Keeping these truths hidden away from oneself and others can have a negative impact with a person's psyche and mental health in the long run.
Other Helpful Coming Out Articles
- Coming Out at Work? Consider These Things
- Coming Out to Parents GLBT
- Teenagers Coming Out GLBT – The Four Stages
- Top 4 Ways You Shouldn't Come Out LGBT
Last Updated: 18 August 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD