Reader question. What advice would you give to teens thinking of coming out ?

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Coming out is a difficult time. It’s full of fear and uncertainty about how friends and family will react. Everyones coming out experience is unique and it’s a very personal choice, but there are a few things I would suggest to help make it easier and safer.

Firstly you need a support network. You need someone on your side. I would suggest that you start with a close friend, relative or even a counsellor. It’s great to be able to explode out of the closet but if things go wrong you may find yourself isolated.

Do you have a close friend that you could come out to? Taking baby steps can be a good way to test the waters and if you decide to tell more people you will have a little bit of moral support. If you don’t feel like you have a personal friend or family member you can talk too then try one of the support networks or help lines. They will be able to give you valuable support and advice.

When you do eventually come out take your friend along with you for moral support.

If you are still living at home then there are a couple of things that I would think about.

If you think your family will react in a negative way then it may be better to wait until you are working and able to support yourself. Unless of course you think you may be in danger then I would suggest removing yourself from the situation before you come out. Remember your safety is important don’t allow yourself to be in danger.

Those are the two main things I would think about but don’t let them scare you. When I came out the scariest thing for me was the thought that I may lose my family and friends. In fact the opposite happened. Because I was able to finally be myself my relationships with my parents and my family improved and the friendships I have made since coming out have been lasting and fulfilling. Yes I lost some people along the way but people whose friendship is conditional on your sexuality were never friends to begin with.

The world is full of just as many awesome coming out stories as there are awful ones. Whatever happens always remember that there are people here who will love you and care for you. The community can be a very welcoming place to those who reach out.

Good luck.

You’re going to be amazing!

Here are some support networks and resources that can help you. As always if you feel in danger or need to speak to somebody make sure you speak to professional help. 

One thought on “Reader question. What advice would you give to teens thinking of coming out ?

  • February 13, 2015 at 12:12 pm
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    “Coming out” in one’s teen years really requires careful thought. I came out 46 years ago at age 24 with my first partner. Logically, our world has changed in HUGE ways since 1968, but the world also has NOT changed in many respects. First, I would ask you to ask yourself: 1) Why do I feel the need to come out? 2) Who do I want to come out to? 3) Am I reasonably confident that person will receive my “news” comfortably? 4) If not, how will I handle any backlash that might occur? 5) Can I trust the people I come out to?

    I have met a number of younger gay men who have held the same fears that I felt as a young gay man, although I likely came out a little later than some. I would urge a young lad planning to come out to seek out local support groups for gay youth, even reaching out to PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians & Gays). Logically, where you live dictates somewhat how and when you come out, and to whom. Larger towns and cities are somewhat “safer” than small towns or villages where everyone seems to know the business of everyone else. While I think it is great if you have decided to come out and I would not discourage it, try to assure your awareness of the uncharted waters you are about to jump into. I hope that my words may prove helpful to whomever reads them.

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