Being ‘in the closet’ can be an isolating and lonely place - many people feel much more free and at peace with themselves after they come out. The experience can be daunting for anyone, whatever age you do it; according to research, although twelve years old is the average age that people realise their sexuality, the average age for coming out is twenty. The team at XTube are campaigning to normalise gay sex and have compiled a guide to coming out should you wish to do so!
Consider your reasons for doing so
For some people, the pressure to come out stems from a friend or family member. Before making the step to come out, knowing that it is something you want to do for your personal peace of mind is a must. If it is primarily to please others think about your decision carefully, it may be that you need a little more time to come to terms with it before telling others. For the experience to be a positive one, you must be ready to do so and want to.
Make sure you’re ready first
There’s no rush to do it before you’re ready so ensure you feel in a place where you can enjoy the experience. Many people feel the sense of burden is lifted when they come out and feel empowered. It can be a good opportunity to educate others on what it means to be gay or bisexual in today’s society. Many people also want to act as a role model for those in a similar situation. There is always the risk of negative reactions or the fear of being treated differently as a result, but knowing that you were ready to do so can help this.
Be prepared for mixed reactions
In the 21st century we would hope that people are supportive, however be prepared that not everyone will be as open minded. This could be due to a number of factors such as their religion or upbringing- it is best in this situation reassure them that this is how you feel and you are happy. No one deserves to feel unsafe in their school or workplace, so if you are coming out to colleagues and you are concerned, make yourself aware of your office’s safeguarding policy.
Expect a range of questions
Friends and family are likely to have questions for you, especially if it comes as a surprise. Keep in mind that just because they are asking it doesn’t mean you are required to tell them - details of your feelings and relationships is your business, so don’t feel pressured to disclose anything you don’t feel comfortable sharing.
Seek support if needed
If you have told someone and it hasn’t gone quite as well as you had hoped, look to someone you can trust for support. Being open and sharing your feelings can help you to think through the situation and encorage you not to bottle it all up. XTube suggests that if you continue to struggle or you feel as though your mental health is suffering, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.