Silhouette of a person holding a PRIDE flag in front of a sunset.

What is coming out? Coming out is when a person decides to share their LGBTQIA identity with other individuals in their life. It can be significant moments of planned conversation with loved ones or in small daily interactions like when we go get a new haircut. Coming out can be a celebration that can increase health and happiness because it lessens the stress of hiding an LGBTQIA identity and increases our sense of belonging.

Coming out can also be incredibly stressful and there is no guarantee that your identity as an LGBTQIA person will be supported or affirmed in your coming out moments. Many members of the LGBTQIA community experience significant barriers to coming out. Coming out does not mean that you are living more authentically or are a better member of the LGBTQIA community. While many queer and trans people come out, there are many who are unable to.

Should you choose to come out, remember you are in charge and decide when to come out and to who. Coming out is a process. Different people are ready for it at different times. No one else should make that decision for you.

What are the benefits of coming out?

The benefits include:

  • Living an open life;
  • Build confidence and self-esteem;
  • Reduce anxiety of hiding parts of your identity;
  • Develop and connect genuine relationships and join a strong LGBTQIA community;
  • You might influence others and become a role model for them.

How should I come out?

You are in charge and decide when to come out and to who. No one else should make that decision for you. Coming out is not a direct, simple path, you can come out to a select few or many at once.

You can come out to friends before family or vice versa. It is different for everyone must it’s important to remember it’s your decision at the end of the day every time.

What to do before coming out?

  • Possibly test the water with the person you want to come out to by asking their opinion on LGBT topics
  • Listen to their words/actions: Are they disparaging of LGBTQ people?
  • Make sure you have a solid support system

Risks of coming out?

  • Make sure your safety will not be compromised.
  • Rethink If coming out puts you in a dangerous situation at home/school/work.
  • You might experience discrimination/harassment.
  • If you’re under 18, you may be thrown out of the house or lose financial support.

How might my family respond?

  • Prepare for a variety of reactions.
  • Initial reaction may not reflect how they feel long-term.
  • They might need some time to understand/learn more.


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