Coming out is a lifelong process in which a person first acknowledges, accepts and appreciates his or her sexual orientation or gender identity and begins to share that with others. Part of the process involves coping with societal responses and attitudes. There is no one right or wrong or even one way to come out. Some people are aware of their sexual identity at an early age; others arrive at this awareness only after many years. You have the freedom and choice to come out when, how and to whomever you choose. (A person may be “out” in some situations or to certain family members or associates and not others.) The process is marked by three phases. The first begins with self-acknowledgement. The second involves coming out to others, including family members, friends and/or co-workers. The third is the ongoing process of living freely as a LGBTQ person who has spoken to the closest individuals in his or her life and is now able to tell new people more fluidly — where, how and when it feels appropriate. An individual might want to come out to friends and/or relatives to stop wasting emotional energy on the "hiding game"; be able to be "whole" around them; or to make a statement that being gay is okay.Things to consider when coming out to others:
Be prepared for a complex — even negative — initial reaction from some people. Whatever the reaction, do not forget that it took time for you to come to terms with your sexuality; it is equally important to give others the time and space they need to process the disclosure.
Listen, listen, listen — and be a role model of acceptance and support. Make yourself available as the person comes out to others. read more