How to Safely Come Out


(Image via Health Affairs)

Isabella Neufer, Writer

Realizing you fall into the LGBT spectrum can be a bit tricky due to the heteronormative society we tend to live in but coming out can be a bit harder, but as time continues to move on, society is becoming more accepting. However, it can still be stressful to come out, but with a few steps, it can become a little easier!

The first step is making sure that it would be safe to come out as LGBT. Sadly, it isn’t safe to come out sometimes, as teens are often kicked out of their family’s homes and hurt over who they are due to a misunderstanding family, so it’s always best to prioritize your safety. Having to remain quiet about who you are is never fun, but it’s better than risking your safety.

The second step, after seeing how safe your surroundings are, is to come up with a plan. Timing and placement are sometimes big factors, and sometimes, people like to come up with funny ways to come out, like with harmless jokes. Whatever fits your desires works, as it’s your time to shine. Never let anyone tell you what’s right and wrong about your coming out.

Next, start off small. It’s usually easier to come out to one really trusted person first rather than a group, and that’s helpful in many ways. You could gain advice from that individual, you can kind of get the hang of how it feels to announce your news, or you can maybe even hear their coming out story if they have one. Then, announce the news to other people you trust, as it’s easier to come out to more people at a time if you have more people by your side.

Remember that not everyone is going to react the same way, and when one person could react negatively, the next could react positively, or vice versa. Hopefully, one day, our society will outgrow negative reactions, but for now, it’s always best to be careful. Also, there may be questions from people who may not understand–don’t necessarily take that as a bad sign! Maybe the person asking truly wants to know more so they can support you easier, so providing them with the best information you can help almost all the time.

If something goes wrong in the process, there is always help for you. According to The Oregonian’s article, “New Avenues for Youth Opens City’s First Housing Program for LGBTQ Homeless Youth,” a few years ago in Portland, New Avenues got a house and took in applications from homeless people who identify as LGBT so they could help move them in there, and there were few qualifications such as needing to be sober and needing to be in school or having a job, and the residents who were moved in, split the rent for cheap. Also, a local student from PCC, named Erica Williams, created a map, “Portland’s Queer-Safe Homeless Organizations,” for resources for information, medical care, food, or shelter. Talking to a school counselor is always a great idea for local resources in case none of those resources are helpful or viable options.