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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SMART Youth Answers: Coming Out

My feelings of attraction differ from everyone else's around me... How do I let my family and friends know that I am (insert orientation here)?

I had to call in reinforcements with this request. I am a full fledge ally but that doesn't give me any place to provide advice on how to go about tackling the situation of "Coming Out"
SO! With a little help from my friends who have gone through this I have accumulated a few tips that I hope will help you!

*Come out to someone you trust and don't be shocked if they already knew you were gay. Many times people are just waiting for you to tell them.
*Some parents may think it is a phase. Try to explain to them that this is how it will always be and that they can't change you.
*Explain to people that your sexual orientation does NOT define you. You are the same person who simply is attracted to the same sex. Your personality does not change because you are gay.
*Stay confident and true to yourself. Don't try to change yourself because others won't accept you.
*If they are speechless or confused, it is OK. They may need time to take it all in.

Here are some direct quotes from my helper!

"Personally, I would not have done it over dinner and I would not have told both parents at the same time. Maybe there is a parent that he/she is closer to or that they know is more understanding. Having that one parent's support may make it easier to come out to others. Because you never know what their reaction will be, I would say to come out in a private place (your home). Maybe ask the parent if you could talk to them for a sec, don't make it a big deal or it will worry them. Coming out in a public place may be awkward or embarassing especially if someone starts crying, yelling, etc. It may be easier to write your parents a letter and just wait until they are ready to come to you to talk about it. You can do the same with your friends too. Make sure it is someone you trust, write them a letter/text/fb message and see how they respond to it in writing before actually talking to them.

Once you come out to friends, be prepared for the word to spread quick. If you are not ready to be openly gay, don't tell friends that may leak the word. Also, keep in mind that "coming out" is not a one time thing. Every new person you meet is not going to know you are gay and there will eventually be that moment when they find out either from you or other people."

"Sometimes you don't even have to "come out" by saying anything, just show them. Live your life as you see fit."

I hope this helps anyone in the situation. 
It's not easy.
It's not a one time thing.
But with courage and a great support system you can do it!

Good Luck! 
And SMART Youth is always here for you!

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