What does coming out mean?
Coming out is when someone tells another person about their sexual orientation or gender identity. It is usually an ongoing process for a lesbian, gay, or bisexual person, rather than a one-off event.
Why should I come out?
It can be difficult hiding something from the ones you love, and the internal struggle might affect other parts of your life, taking up your energy and focus. Ultimately, coming out is your decision but according to LGBT Youth Scotland, there are a number of positive reasons for coming out:
- You can be yourself
- You can openly live the way you want to live
- You will be acting a positive role model for others who may be scared of coming out
- You can help educate others and break down stereotypes
Things to consider
Unfortunately, you could face the following after you come out:
- People might treat you differently
- Some people might try to talk you out of it
- Others might not listen to or understand you
Remember – there is always support and help out there for you, and there are laws to protect you from bullying and discrimination.
Find out more about homophobia and biphobia.
When should I come out?
It’s entirely up to you when you come out. If you don’t feel ready, then don’t pressure yourself to do it.
Again, who you tell is completely up to you. The best people to tell at first might be people you trust and friends who you think are open minded. If your friends are real friends, they will accept you for who you are but be aware that you might receive a negative reaction at first. If they react negatively, it doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t love you, they might just need some time to process it. Remember, you’ve had ages to think about it, but they haven’t.
Coming out to your parents/guardians
Coming out to your parents/guardians can often be difficult. It’s often hard to know how your parents/guardians will react to the news.
They could be very supportive and say that they’ve known for ages, or you might receive an unfavourable reaction.
Coming out at school
Before doing so, why not speak to your guidance teacher or the head teacher to discuss how the school will support you? You could also ask for a copy of the school’s anti-bullying policy to see if it mentions homophobia or biphobia.
Coming out at college or university
A lot of lesbian, gay and bisexual people see going to college or university as an opportunity to live more openly and be more public about their sexual orientation.
Before enrolling for a course at a college or university, it might be useful to check if they have an LGBT society. It’s also worth reading the college/university’s mission statement to see if it mentions equality.
For more information on coming out visit the coming out guide for young people on the LGBT Youth Scotland website.
Support for you
Check out the LGBT Youth Scotland website. Their advice section contains an excellent guide for young people considering coming out.
You can also get advice by using their LiveChat service.