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Coming Out

Coming out is the process through which a person recognizes their sexual orientation and begins to accept it as their own.

What does coming out mean?

  • Coming out is an individual process that is different for each person.
  • Coming out may mean that one has come out to friends or maybe to family . 
  • Coming out also involves telling another person about your sexual orientation.
  • Many people say that coming out is a life-long process.
  • There are some people that you may feel very comfortable sharing this information with and others that you may not ever feel comfortable telling.
  • As well some people sometimes feel they are in a situation in which they do not feel it is safe to "come out".

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Questions to consider before coming out:

  1. Are you sure about your sexual orientation?
    How will you react when someone says: "Are you sure?" Confusion on your part will increase your family/friends' confusion and make your judgment questionable.
  2. Are you comfortable with your sexuality?
    If you are going through a period of depression related to your sexuality you may want to hold off on coming out to your parents. coming out may require a lot of energy and positive self-image that you may not have if you are fighting depression.
  3. Do you have sources of support?
    Is there an individual or a  group of people you can turn to if the reaction of your family/friends is devastating? Will these people help provide emotional support and strength? Remember that it is very important to maintain your sense of self-worth.
  4. Are you knowledgeable about homosexuality/bisexuality/transsexuality?
    Your parents may respond to you with limited knowledge. Are you prepared to help them by sharing reliable information and research?
  5. Do you have resources that you are ready to share?
    Have a book addressed to parents, contacts, support group numbers, or the name of a counsellor that may be able to help your parents.
  6. What is the emotional state at home?
    If you have a choice of when to come out, consider the timing of your coming out. Choose a time when there is not something else emotionally draining going on that is affecting you, your parents or both.
  7. Can you be patient?
    Your family and friends are going to need time to process the information. This can last a long time.
  8. Why are you coming out now?
    Are you coming out because you love them and want to share this part of your life with them or are you coming out in anger or during an argument? Never use your sexuality as a weapon.
  9. Are you financially dependent on your parents?
    If you suspect that your coming out may be coupled with your parents demanding you leave the house or withdrawing their financial resources from your schooling etc. you may want to wait until you have a financially secure environment.
  10. What is their moral societal view?
    Do your parents tend to look at social issues, in terms of good/bad or holy/sinful? If this is the case you may be able to anticipate that they will have issues with your sexuality.

    If however, they have displayed a degree of flexibility in dealing with other social issues you may be able to predict that they will have a willingness to learn and work through this with you.
  11. Is this your decision?
    Coming out to one's parents isn't for everyone; you don't have to do it if you don't want to. Don't be pressured into it if you think you'd be better off by not saying anything to them.

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Who should I tell?

  • The first step in coming out is to tell yourself that you are gay/lesbian and that it's okay.
  • Later, you may want to tell someone else - someone you trust to understand. It could be a friend or an adult.
  • You will probably want to meet other gay kids for friendship and support.
  • You need to decide whether or not to tell your family and to choose the right time.
    Because lots of people don't understand gay people, be cautious about who you tell.
  • Unfortunately, not everyone is accepting and supportive and sometimes it is hard to know who to tell.
  • Some friends may accept you; some may turn away from you or tell other people without your permission.
  • Telling family can be difficult. 
  • Some families are very supportive but some gay/lesbian youth have been kicked out of their homes when their parents found out.
  • There may be a guidance counsellor or social worker in your school you can trust. There are counselling services available in Halton as well.
  • It's important to find someone to talk to and help you decide who to tell.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone you know about your feelings around sexuality, check out the  community resources section on these web pages to find out about local counselling services.

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