Regardless of whether you are 10, 20, or 50, coming out can be a difficult task. If you are reading this, you likely have already made the decision to come out and live a more authentic life. You have decided that the relief you would get from no longer hiding outweighs the fear of any possible consequences. Your courage should be celebrated.
I came out during my junior year of college, after gaining a better understanding that I had nothing to be ashamed of and that I was an essential part of a movement. Bruce Bawer’s book A Place at the Table helped me to realize that while a portion of society saw me as abnormal, that was not the reality. And The Times of Harvey Milk documentary helped me to understand that my coming out would lend another example of why the world need not fear or look down upon homosexuals.
If you are indeed ready to come out, I offer you these three tips to help make the process as easy and rewarding as possible.
1. Start by telling someone whom you are most confident will have a positive initial reaction, then tell more people as you feel prepared to do so.
2. Face-to-face is not the only option. Use any medium you feel most comfortable communicating this message.
3. Understand that others, especially family members, may go through a grieving process if they believe they are losing the fantasy they had of your current and future life.
If you are interested in learning more about coming out or other issues related to the LGBT community, please feel free to visit my website, LGBTtherapyNJ.com.
Israel Martinez, LCSW
I am a psychotherapist who has been working with the LGBT community on a professional basis for over ten years. This background provides me with unique expertise on issues that tend to be a part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender experience.