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Should I Come Out?

Whatever you decide to do, we’re here to support you.

Are you thinking about coming out to family and friends? Wondering whether the timing is right? Unsure how to go about it? Worried about how they’ll respond? We’ve got you.

“I Don’t Know If I’m Ready…”

You may never feel 100% ready to come out and there’s really no way of knowing when the time is right. Trust in your own gut and do what feels right for you – this is your identity, and it is yours to share with whoever you decide, whenever you decide.

You might feel amped up and ready to do it, or the whole thing might be filling you with dread. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re all set to tell someone but then you suddenly get the fear and clam up. It’s OK to change your mind and it could be a sign that you need more time. That’s perfectly normal. You’ll find the right moment, someday, and it will feel like the right time.

“How Should I Do It?”

There’s absolutely no right or wrong way to come out. Your coming out will be as unique as you are. You might want to plan a chat with your loved ones or an unexpected opportunity might pop up when you feel like it’s the perfect moment. Some people write it down in a letter or an email or text. Whatever way you choose to do it, make sure you feel comfortable with your decision.

If you’re completely struggling to figure out how to come out, why not read coming out stories online? You might find a method you could use. Reading about other people’s experiences of coming out also helps to reassure any worries you might have and reminds you that you’re not alone. You can read coming out stories here.

“Who Should I Tell?”

Whoever you want. If you don’t feel comfortable telling a certain person, then don’t. You might want to talk to your best friend before your family and that’s OK. It’s often easier to be completely open with a mate than it is with, say, your mum. A big part of coming out is worrying about people’s reactions. If you suspect someone will react badly to your news, for example, a grandparent or particularly judgy uncle, then it’s perfectly OK not to tell them. Protect your own mental health. You can always ask someone else to tell them on your behalf.

“What If They React Badly?”

It’s almost impossible to predict how people will react to your news, which can be a massive source of anxiety for you. When you come out, be prepared for a mix of responses. Some people might be surprised and want to ask you lots of questions or they might say they already knew, while others might be completely shocked and find it difficult to accept.

When people are shocked, they can struggle to process their emotions and blurt out things they don’t really mean. Hopefully, after a short period of reflection, they will adapt their thinking and come to terms with it. It can feel very hurtful and heart-breaking when loved ones don’t respond in the way we wished they would or when we are rejected by the people we love the most in the world. Make sure you have supportive, loving people around you or pick up the phone and talk to LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30.

Curated by

Sian Dolan
Sian Dolan is a content writer for Hidden Strength with a background in children’s and teenage magazines. She feels it’s more important than ever to write supportive, engaging features for young adults who need a guiding light and a helping hand with their mental health and wellbeing.