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‘Coming out’ is when someone tells someone else about their LGBTQ+ identity. Find out our top tips on coming out to people.
There is no right or wrong way to come out, and each person’s ‘coming out’ journey will be unique to them.
For some people, coming out is a pleasant and comfortable process of sharing an aspect of their identity with their loved ones. For others it can be scary or stressful and may come with risk.
Some people choose not to ‘come out’ at all, which might be because they don’t feel the need to, or because they don’t feel safe to.
Not everyone feels nervous about coming out but if you do, here are two things that might be comforting to bear in mind:
Coming out is a journey
Some people might experience coming out as a one-off event, but for most people it is an ongoing process, perhaps as they meet new people or their understanding of their identity changes and develops.
There are no rules to coming out and only you will know what is right for you. The most important thing is that you are safe and have support, whether that is from friends, family, or a trusted adult like a teacher or counsellor.
However, there are some things it might be helpful to consider if you are thinking of coming out, whether in general or to a particular person.
If someone reacts badly…
When you tell people, such as your family, they might be shocked, worried or find it difficult to accept at first. Remember: their first reaction isn’t necessarily how they’ll feel forever, they might just need a bit of time to process what you’ve told them. However, it is important to take care of yourself in these situations; while it is a good idea to give people time to adjust, you should still be prioritising your own comfort and happiness, and seeking support from people who you trust and will be supportive.
If you are worried about coming out, or if you have a difficult experience of coming out, it is important to seek support. There are lots of organisations who can talk to you and give you advice, and who can offer emotional and practical support. If you worried about your safety, contact Childline on their website or by calling 0800 1111. If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
For more advice on coming out as LGBTQ+, visit the Stonewall website.
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