Coming out is one of the hardest things you’ll probably ever do – and one of the most satisfying, too. But how should you go about it? And, if you’re not gay, what can you do to help?
For the LGBT+ Community:
Be Comfortable: It’s ridiculous that, in 2016, LGBT+ persons are expected to come out at all, but that is still a reality. Either way, always be sure that you are ready and comfortable with coming out. It’s your prerogative to decide when and how to do it.
Give Others Time: There is nothing wrong with being LGBT+ or being straight, but do keep in mind that not everyone will react the same way. Most people will not have any problem with it, some may decide to cut ties, while others may need some time to get over the initial ‘shock’. Remember that you shouldn’t measure your worth by someone else’s stick, but you should give them time and space to come to terms with their own feelings and inhibitions.
Feel Free to Seek Help: It’s totally okay to not feel comfortable with coming out, or to have a million questions you need answered. If this is the case, there are various organisations you can approach, including the Malta Gay Rights Movement, for help.
For Straight Allies:
Show Them You’re an Ally: Although you should never assume that someone is gay or otherwise, the truth is that we often do. If there is someone you think may be struggling to come out, be sure to drop – very nonchalantly – your stance on something that is LGBT+-related, such as the fact that you believe that a family with two mums or two dads is no different to a family with one mum and one dad. This way, that person will know that they have a friend they can confide in without assuming you are referring to them or judging them.
Be Discreet: Remember that if someone comes out to you, it doesn’t mean that they have come out to everyone else. It is not your information to share or discuss with others, particularly as it can get the other person in trouble or cause them unnecessary and unwanted hurt or drama.
Be supportive, but don’t be stereotypical: As you probably already know, just because someone forms part of the LGBT+ community doesn’t mean that they adhere to any of the stereotypes cast on them. So, for example, if your best guy friend comes out to you as gay, don’t immediately assume that they are into fashion.
Would you like to continue reading? Read our previous post, Be Proud of Who You Are.
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