It's National Coming Out Day. Should I come out?

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Many LGBTQ-identifying individuals come to the point where they ask themselves:

should I come out?

Even in 2018 coming out is one of the bravest things a person can do.

While working for the Los Angeles LGBT Center, I helped many clients navigate what “coming out” means for them in their individual lives’ and situations.

Coming out not only means coming out to your loved ones, but it also means that a person is willing to “dare greatly” despite potential societal discrimination and stigma about sexual orientation.

While working with individuals, families, and couples at the LGBT Center I quickly learned that no matter how many “coming out” trainings I attended or how much I reflected on my own coming out process, there is not a one-size-fits-all way to “come out”.

No one can tell you what coming out should look like and it’s a choice that takes confidence as it may change the way people regard you in certain ways. You can come out at any age and there is no “right way” to go about it.

It is always okay to come out, but it is important to take care of your emotional well-being during the process.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I emotionally ready to come out?

  • Would I be in immediate danger if I came out?

  • Is someone pressuring me to come out or is this what I want?

  • Do I have someone to talk to for support?

You are the only person on this earth who can decide what coming out looks like for you. But relying on other’s for support is also a huge part of the coming out process.

It’s okay to be afraid, but here are some things that can help you.

  • Try to avoid those who make you feel uneasy or unsafe about who you are.

  • Connect with other LGBTQ individuals

  • Support groups!

  • Reach out to loved ones that you can trust about your concerns and if you happen to be feeling unsafe.

  • Seek out therapy from an LGBTQ-affirming professional

Perhaps today on National Coming Out Day, coming out to yourself is enough or maybe you would like to call every family and friend and fly a rainbow flag in your room. Remember, safety should be on your mind when making these life choices, but it is understandable if you cannot withstand hiding your true self, or being 'closeted'.

Remember to take care of your emotional health, stay safe, and have a gay time.