Coming out is different for everyone.
It’s a very personal decision and experience. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to come out. Some people may find coming out easy and others difficult. Coming out is probably one of the biggest milestones of growing up and can be one of the most liberating and freeing experiences.
The best and sometimes the hardest person to come out to is yourself. Acknowledging your sexuality or even the unsureness of your sexuality can be the biggest challenge, and that’s OK, that’s part of the whole journey of discovering who you are. You don’t have to put a label on it or know right away how you identify, use words that you feel comfortable with.
Coming out isn’t always easy for you or those you choose to tell, you don’t have to tell everyone. Some people may take it really well and some people may not. Some will react exactly how you expected and some may really surprise you, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a not so good way.
The most important thing when coming out is to talk to someone you really trust, whether it’s a best friend, teacher, school counsellor, cousin or aunty. Make sure that when you do choose to confide in someone that you do it in a safe place at a safe time, where and when you feel comfortable.
You should never feel pressured to come out, listen to your instincts, you will know when the time is right. When you do, also take into consideration the person you are about to tell. What’s going on in their life, are they too stressed or busy to understand and support you, give them time and space to soak it all in. Respect that person as it may be a shock to them and they may not know how to deal with it. Also make sure you look after yourself as coming out can be very stressful so take time out to relax, eat well and make sure you have a good support system. If you don’t feel like you have a good support system or people to talk to yet then there are some great networks out there, such as Q-topia, Youthline, Lifeline, OUTline, What’s Up and Rainbow Youth.
Be aware that you don’t always come out just the once. You may have to come out when you meet a new person, start a new school or job, there are many situations in life that may require you to come out and you won’t always get the same reaction, as not everything in life goes to plan but it will get easier along the way and you will find you will get stronger and more confident as you go.
When you do come out don’t feel like you have to live up to any stereotypes or change who you are, what you wear, your behaviour or appearance. Remember you are still the same amazing person you were yesterday.