I’m a 17 yr old male in the closet. On top of graduating, college and social life I have to figure out how to come out.
For starters, I’m sending you a big virtual hug! You’re right…on top of everything like graduating and getting ready for college you’ve got another major challenge to confront. Props to you for reaching out and taking an important first step to your person voyage of self-discovery: coming out.
It can be scary and hard to come out, especially when you have so many other things to worry about. In spite of the difficulties, your sexuality is a natural and healthy part of who you are, something that can bring you happiness and pride.
Because you are a minor I want you to think about a couple things before coming out to certain people:
- Is your safety a concern?
- Would your housing come into question?
If you answered yes to either question, then maybe think about holding off telling those certain people, especially since you’re in your last year of high school.
Now…onto the HOW you’re going to come out. And, I do hate to say this…but there’s no perfect way to do this. I wish there was. Everyone who has come out will have their own unique story, but there are some things to think about that might help you decide when, where, and who you’re going to start with. Keep in mind that you don’t have to yell from the rooftops that you’re gay…think of it as a journey, rather than like ripping off a Band-Aid.
- Get Connected – having other folks with whom you can share experiences could help you overcome your fears about coming out and living out in the open. Once you get to college check out the LGBTQ scene. Getting online is another great place to get support. Check out The Human Rights Campaign for a guide to coming out.
- Find an Ally – Know someone who might back you up? Then they might be a good place to find solace and support, especially if there is someone in your life that might have a hard time with your being gay. Whether you choose to come out to your family now, or later, this person is vital to have on your side now. They can also help you with deciding whether or not to come out before graduation.
- Pick a location – once you’ve reached out to the LGBTQ community and you’re feeling more confident, pick who you want to come out to first then think of a neutral place to have a conversation. Some place public, but not too crowded. Think coffee in the park.
- Feel it Out – Sometimes it can be hard to gauge exactly how someone feels about LGBTQ issues, so you might want to feel them out first. You could say something like, ”So what do you think about gay marriage?”
Keep in mind that there is a warm welcoming and supportive community out there for you. If times get tough, reach out.
For more inspiration, check out the It Gets Better Project, a movement to provide inspiration to young LGBTQ people (like you!).
Big hugs to you. I’ll be thinking about you and sending you good thoughts. I’m proud of you for taking this step to living a more authentic life…your own.