Will I ever be completely ready to come out?
Well, that’s a complicated question. Chances are, no, you won’t feel 100% ready to come out. You’ll never feel completely calm, completely prepared, or completely confident. But that’s okay.
You don’t need to be completely ready, as long as you feel ready enough to come out.
Coming out can range from feeling empowering to feeling terrifying, and sometimes both at once.
Other coming out information:
Do you know your identity?
Knowing your own identity first can make coming out a lot easier. It lets you explain your identity to people clearly and confidently. This also helps others to understand you. Unfortunately people who don’t know what it’s like sometimes think that you’re going through a phase. That idea comes from their own ignorance but it often falls on us to “prove” who we are. While you might have to plan for this, it is not your fault. You don’t owe anyone proof of these parts of your identity.
However, if you want to tell people that you’re questioning, that’s okay too. If someone doesn’t take you seriously that’s their issue to work through, not yours. It might be a bit harder to explain how you feel to someone else if you don’t fully understand it yourself yet though.
Do you know who is supportive?
If someone is LGBTQ themself, then it’s very likely that they’ll be supportive of you and your identity. Also, it probably means that you won’t have to do as much explaining, compared to telling cishet people.
Coming out as “not straight” is much better understood than “not cis”. Sometimes even LGB people find it harder to understand trans identities. At the extreme, they could be transphobic (including Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs)) and don’t support trans people at all. This is very rare though. It happens, but they’re much more likely to be supportive of trans identities than against them. Transphobia is more common among cishet people.
If they’re not LGBTQ, you should find out if they’re supportive or not. Think back to their reaction when someone else came out, or bring up an LGBTQ celebrity and see what they say, for example. If they’re not supportive then try to avoid having to come out to them. However, some people will react differently than you expect, for better or for worse. Also, their support might grow over time so there’s hope that even if the person isn’t supportive at first, they might be one day.
Do you have a support network?
Coming out can be stressful, especially if you know you might face hate for who you are. Being exposed to hate can really hurt you and how you feel about yourself. Make sure you have a group of people who accept you and support you, to help you deal with negative reactions. This support network can be in person or online, depending on what’s available for you.
There are also helplines you can call if you want to talk anonymously to someone who understands. General mental health helplines can help you through feelings like rejection and abandonment. Also, LGBTQ helplines can help you further with specific coming out issues.
Do you have a safety plan?
In case the person isn’t supportive when you come out, make sure you have a safety plan. Have someone you can talk to about it, like a friend, teacher or family member. Also, have somewhere you can go if you need time away from the person, or if you get kicked out. This could be a friend or relative’s house, or nearby shelter.
There are LGBTQ housing programs if you need them. Also, social services might be able to give you somewhere to live temporarily if you are kicked out or a victim of violence at home. Homelessness disproportionately effects queer people. It’s very unlikely you’ll be kicked out unless the people you live with are extremely homophobic or transphobic, but it’s always worth knowing where you could go, just in case.
Do you feel ready to come out?
This is more important than everything else. You could tick every other box on this list but if you still don’t feel prepared and confident, then the other points don’t matter. Your comfort comes first.
There’s no rush to come out. Take your time until you feel prepared. You’re not ‘lying’ to anyone by not coming out, so don’t feel pressured to do so before you’re ready. Your feelings and safety come first here.
If you are being blackmailed or coerced, tell someone, as this is not okay. In some cases, the police can intervene. If you don’t feel comfortable with police, call a queer helpline or tell someone you trust, and they can provide advice and support. This is your journey and you are in control of when you come out. No one has the right to take that away from you.
If someone is forcing you to come out, please remember that you’re not alone in your experience. Nikkie de Jager (NikkieTutorials) is a popular makeup Youtuber who came out as a trans woman in 2020. She was open about her experience being blackmailed about her identity, which caused her to come out. Her approach was to take the power away from the blackmailers by coming out on her own terms, but you don’t have to take the same approach if you don’t want to. There’s nothing shameful in asking for help in these situations, no matter if that’s from friends or police.
Am I ready to come out?
…know your identity?
…know who is supportive?
…have a support network?
…have a safety plan?
Yes? Sounds like you’re ready. Good luck!
Thanks for reading! Want to support me in providing more resources for LGBT people? Please donate to my GoFundMe by clicking ‘donate’ at the top or bottom of this blog. You will be helping young LGBT people have a place they can go to be themselves and learn about their community.
Stay safe and have a good day.