Coming Out

What is "coming out"? "Coming out" is short for "coming out of the closet," that is, telling someone you're gay. You can come out on your own, to a few friends at first, or to a whole bunch of people. When it's widely known that you're gay, you're "out." You can also be "outed." This is when someone finds out about your homosexuality and tells people, generally without your consent.

Coming out is hard; it's scary, and it's dangerous. You always run the risk of being rejected, attacked, verbally and physically, even being thrown out of your home. You should always be careful when you're going to come out. I've had four experiences: my best friend, my second best friend, my sister and my mom. Fortunately, they've all been good. But I know they won't always be.

Note: Quite a bit of time has passed since I wrote this essay; I'm now in college, and semi-closeted again. I hate it. But, I am out to a number of important people in my life. It gets somewhat easier to come out when you have strong support already. But you should always be careful.

Before you come out to your friends, you need to be sure that they aren't going to tell anyone, especially your parents. Your parents can be either your greatest support or your worst enemy. Before you tell your parents, you need to be sure (this is advice that I have from another page) that you have a fairly large amount of cash that you can take with you, in case you end up living on the street. You should also have somewhere to go, either a friend's house or a family member's house, like an aunt or a cousin.

Don't come out to a group of people all at once. People are stupid, easliy frightened, and, most importantly, they outnumber you. In a group, people are afraid of what they might say that would put them in danger. Come out individualy. When someone is alone, and just a person, they can think on their own. Most of the time, given enough time, they will accept you.

Don't expect that whoever you're coming out to will accept it right away. They probably won't. They will probably have questions, if not immediately, then soon after. You need to, first of all, be sure of who you are. Don't start coming out if you aren't sure, because if you find out later that you aren't gay, then you may have alienated yourself and your friends and family for nothing (but really, if they abandon you when they think you're gay, are they really your friends?). You need to know as much as you can. There are plenty of online resources for gay youth. YouthResource is one, and XY Magazine is another. I will post more on the links page.

Lastly, you need not only to be sure, but also you need to not be ashamed. You are who you are. If you act as if you are ashamed, then they will treat you poorly. They may attempt to "talk you out of it." (Believe me, if I could have talked myself out of it, I would have.) You should remind them that you are the same person you were a minute ago. You have the same thoughts, the same feelings. You still care for them, whether they're your parents or your friends.

And, who knows? Maybe the person you come out to will reply, "So am I."