Coming out to family and friends as LGBT can undoubtedly be both stressful and overwhelming. However, rather than treat coming out as a singular event, look at it as a process and growing experience. With June being LGBT Pride Month, there’s never been a better time to consider sharing your sexual identity with those in your life.
Here are some helpful tips for coming out to family and friends:
Be comfortable with yourself.
Before coming out, take the time you need to feel comfortable and confident with who you are. It’s important that you feel emotionally stable before delivering potentially shocking news to your loved ones. Being comfortable with yourself will ensure you’re prepared to handle others’ reactions – whatever they made be – without becoming overly upset or angry.
Be realistic about others’ reactions.
Remember that your news may be very surprising to those who hear it. Everyone processes things differently, so be prepared to get several different reactions. Some people may have very vocal or emotional reactions, while others may not react much at all. Don’t expect everyone to embrace your news in a positive way, as each person will have their own way of handling it.
Prepare yourself for questions.
No matter how accepting others may be, you’re inevitably going to get some tough questions. Prepare yourself with answers ahead of time so that you’re not taken off guard. Some people may be overly inquisitive, while others may express concern. Regardless of the reactions you receive, be calm and assertive with your responses.
Communicate in writing first.
If you’re nervous about coming out, consider writing a letter or email for your loved ones. Expressing your thoughts in writing is sometimes easier than breaking news in person. Communicating this way puts you in control of the situation and gives others time to get used to the news before talking with you directly about it.
Remember that approval or permission is not required.
After you share your news, don’t expect to receive immediate acceptance from others. Give them time to reflect upon what you’ve shared, but do not give the impression that you’re seeking their approval or permission. Remember, coming out is not about them – it’s about sharing who you truly are. Let them see that you’re still the same person you always were, but are making the choice to be honest about your sexuality.
Are you ready to show your pride? Check out Pride San Antonio for all upcoming pride events! And, if you are personally struggling with coming out as a LGBT, seek the professional help and support of Joseph Montaldi, licensed clinical social worker, based in San Antonio, Texas.