LGBTQ+ Pride Month is a great time for people to come out to their family and friends, but it certainly isn’t the only time they can. Many choose to do so on National Coming Out Day, and many more choose a day that carries personal significance for them. Others may choose a totally random day that holds no particular meaning other than that was the day that just “felt” right.
Because choosing when to come out is both a private and purposeful decision, what works for one person may not work for another. So how do you know when’s the right time to come out for you?
If you’re an LGBTQ+ person thinking about coming out, this flow chart can help.
Whether you’ve known for a while, have friends out, are prepared for possible backlash, feel pressured to come out, don’t know exactly where you fall on the LGBTQ+ spectrum etc, ultimately doesn’t matter. So long as you feel it is the right time for you to let people in on that area of your life, then the decision to come out is the right decision.
Because nobody will ever be fully prepared for possible backlash, many, sadly, do not have a strong support system cheering them through the process, and most never have that one perfect moment where everything falls into place to make coming out completely seamless. The time to come out and the way in which someone does it is a personal choice. Many come out to only select family members and friends, and never to others they know will not be supportive. Others come out to everyone, loud and proud, with lots of support.
But even with the most supportive friends and family, coming out can still be a difficult experience. That’s why it’s so important to trust yourself to know when you’re ready. If you’re not sure, the Human Rights Campaign, the Trevor Project, and other LGBTQ-positive organizations offer resources to guide you through the coming out process.
Though coming out may not be easy, it can be unexpectedly rewarding. LGBTQ youth who are out to their immediate family or out at school have higher levels of happiness, optimism, acceptance, and support, according to the Human Rights Campaign’s National Coming Out Day Report. They also reported greater levels of in–person participation with LGBT organizations at school and in their community.
Still, that may not mean it’s the right time for you, and that’s OK. Everyone’s situation is different. The point, is that you are the only one who will truly know when the right time for you to come out is.
Cover image via Toronto-Images.Com I Shutterstock
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