There’s no right or wrong way to do it — how you come out is your choice to make.
But there are times I wish I could tell my younger self to prepare better to somehow soften the blow. If you’ve decided that this is the moment to come out, then congratulations. But brace yourself.
I want you to be ready for the questions (no matter how progressive people are, they’ll still have questions) and take advice from a person who wishes she has prepared better for that reveal.
How You Reveal Depends on the Person You’ll Tell
Some would be more welcoming than others, that’s why you have to gauge how receptive the person would be. Their potential reaction will guide you on how (or whether) you should break the news. Some would need firm words and detailed explanations, whereas for others, two or three words will do.
You’ll get a sense of how they’ll react based on their stand on LGBT+ matters, their take on celebrity coming out stories, and the culture of the social group you’re in. Their tweets, the posts they share on Facebook, their comments on the Pride Movement, the jokes they laugh at, the kind of insults they throw — all these point to how they would receive your story.
Of course, this isn’t a foolproof method, but it’s a fair guide. If it’s a bunch of mixed signals, just trust your gut.
Prepare to Explain the Basics of SOGIE, Just in Case
One difficult thing about coming out is that your news may challenge their ideas about gender identity and sexuality.
- “How can you be gay if you only dated girls?”
- “How can you be a lesbian if you like makeup?”
- “How can a girl be bisexual if she’s dating a boy?”
My mistake was answering these questions with a “basta ganon” (thankfully, that didn’t happen often). That could have been a golden opportunity to bust misconceptions about SOGIE.
A thorough understanding is the road to true acceptance.
Not everyone is as well-versed in SOGIE as you are, so it helps to have a ready explanation in case they ask. Trust me, after a couple of tries, the explanation will come naturally to you.
Moreover, be clear about how your friend should treat this news. Will this remain a secret between friends? Is this a grand exit from the closet that they’re free to announce? Spell it out clearly (you know how wagging tongues are).
The Response Won’t Always Be Positive
I hope you’ll always be greeted with a hug, a smile, or a comforting joke, but that’s not always the case. There will be disbelief, discouragement, denial, or dismissal.
One person went as far as calling me “damaged,” and another calmly told me I was headed toward an “abyss” because this is an affront to God.
Countless others have heard more painful words.
We don’t want anyone in the community to experience any of that — the goal of the movement is to create a kinder and more accepting world.
Should unkind words be thrown at you as you come out, remember: that says more about them than it says about you. And that the fight needs to continue, so the next generation won’t experience what we have had.
One last thing. This may not be the last time you come out. If you’ve chosen to come out to a select few, there will come a time you’ll have to go through that gruelling process all over again. Don’t worry, each time, you’ll be tougher, wiser, and more assertive.
Believe me when I say each time will be better than the last.
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Drinks an ungodly amount of coffee and eats an ungodly amount of chocolate. Up at an ungodly hour.