Advice for broaching the conversation.
The act of telling your friends and family that you identify as LGBTQ+ can bring a plethora of emotions. For some, it can be an exciting moment of anticipation, and provide the feeling that a weight has been lifted. For others, it can lead to anxiety or a fear of rejection. For many, “coming out” can be a mix of all the above. How we choose to do it differs too; there’s the rip-the-bandaid-off approach, acting as soon as possible and telling everybody at once, or slow and steady–waiting a long time to find the right moment. Even when you’ve told everyone in your life, you may find yourself having to come out again, in new environments and to new people.
Disclosing your sexuality or gender is nuanced, individual and sometimes complicated whatever the age, but for those who grew up as part of a generation or in a place where there was less acceptance and visibility for LGBTQ+ people, the challenges can be heightened. Perhaps you don’t know anyone queer, perhaps it feels harder to tell people who have always known you to be a certain way – at least from the outside, or maybe you are concerned about a lack of understanding among your community. Change can be overwhelming, but there’s also a lot of wisdom out there for those coming out later in life.
- Only you know when you’re ready
Coming out is your decision, and should not be anyone else’s. According to the LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, “there’s no right or wrong time to come out to your family”, for instance, and it’s important to come to the decision on your own terms rather than rushing it in the heat of the moment or in an argument. In fact, if you really need time to formulate your words, Stonewall suggest that you try writing it in a letter or an email, or else write down what you want to say first, before you say it aloud.