Information for students
What is coming out?
‘Coming out’ means telling someone something about yourself that is not immediately obvious. With regards to sexual orientation and gender identity this means sharing with others that you are lesbian, gay, bi or trans. The process of coming out can be very different for everyone and it can take some time to get to a point where you feel comfortable and confident enough to have those conversations with people.
Why come out?
Mostly, people just want to be honest about who they are, especially with the people they love. Hiding who you are can be a big struggle. It can take your focus and energy away from other important things in your life such as your job, studying or exams.
Just because someone may decide to come out to family or friends, it does not mean they have to come out to everyone. It is quite common for people to be out in certain areas of their lives, but not in others.
It may take you a while to get to a point where you feel ready to come out, which is absolutely fine. The main thing to remember is not to put any pressure on yourself and to only come out when you feel ready.
How to come out
There are many different ways to come out and there is no right or wrong way to do it. If you are thinking about coming out then it is important that you find a way that feels right for you.
Who do you want to tell?
It may take you a while to get to a point where you feel ready to come out, which is absolutely fine. The main thing to remember is not to put any pressure on yourself and to only come out when you feel ready. How to come out There are many different ways to come out and there is no right or wrong way to do it. If you are thinking about coming out then it is important that you find a way that feels right for you.
Is there anyone you DON’T want to know?
Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, news travels faster than ever these days. If there is someone in your life who you would rather not be out to, think carefully about how you will be able to manage this. It is worth considering that once you tell one person, other people in your life could find out, even if you don’t want them to.
When is the right time to say something?
It is worth acknowledging that coming out could be a bit of a surprise to some people in your life. You have probably had a long time to get used to it, but the person or people you are telling will be hearing it for the first time. Consider telling them at a time when you will be able to talk things through properly. For instance, coming out to a friend on your way in to an exam probably is not the best time! Broaching the subject on the phone to a parent or guardian when you have only got 2% battery also is not ideal.
How will you tell people?
Everyone will have their own preference when it comes to choosing how to come out. The most obvious way is to sit down in person and talk. The benefits of coming out this way are that you will be able to answer any questions they may have and also get some comfort or reassurance if you need it. It may feel daunting, but once you have told one person it really does start to feel easier.
Some people may choose to send an email, text or letter (remember them?!) as this will give the person time to process what you are telling them before they respond. Some people have used social media to come out. Although this method of coming out means you will probably only need to do it once, it also takes away the opportunity to have those personal conversations with those who are close to you. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to come out.