For the LGBTQA+ person, whether it’s to do with their sexuality or gender or both, coming out could be an easy or difficult ordeal. It’s important for people who aren’t LGBTQA+ to understand how difficult it is for some people to come out.
“Coming out” is a term used for those of the LGBTQA+ to introduce and explain their identity – whether it’s telling somebody you’re gay, or explaining your gender plus name and pronouns. Although now we live in a time where LGBTQA+ rights have never been better, there are still a lot of hatred in the world. Gay marriage is still barred in some countries, transgenders are common targets for assaults and non-binary people are practically non-existent to the modern day world.
That’s why one of the most important things about coming out to people is SAFETY. A lot of people, especially straight and cis people, often say things such as, “Why aren’t you out yet?” or “You should come out, my friend already has!” Coming out isn’t a race nor a competition. Some people haven’t come out for safety reasons, such as homophobic/transphobic family members or classmates. Others may not feel comfortable about coming out yet and need time. Non-binaries don’t come out often as their genders are viewed as invalid to a lot of people in society.
Another thing that people should understand is that coming out to people never really ends. You will always meet new people who you need to explain your sexuality and gender to. The first steps of coming out are often the most terrifying, as it is your first time coming out and it usually starts with people close to you such as good friends or parents.
For those who are friends with LGBTQA+ people, it’s very important that you be careful when you out them to other people. Often in conversation they may use the wrong name or pronoun and you may feel compelled to correct them. It’ll be safer if you don’t! Chances are they might not want to be out to people yet. It’s safer to ask your friend, just in case.
Coming out is a stressful ordeal. The consequences could be great or fatal (or even indifferent, in my case). If things don’t go right, there are plenty of actions to take. Call up hotlines designed for LGBTQA+ members or confide in friends who also LGBTQA+. If you’re planning on coming out soon, I wish you all the luck!
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.