Coming Out

Coming out (revealing sexual orientation to others) is something many people feel is necessary, sooner or later. It can be isolating and depressing to hide an important part of yourself, and although it can be very scary and painful to risk rejection by being open, many people find that taking this step leads to better mental health in the long run.

Because we live in a society that privileges heterosexuality in many ways, it can be scary and confronting to “come out” even to oneself.  If you are thinking about whether or not you might be gay, lesbian or bisexual, it is important to remember that you are not alone, there is support and information out there to assist you in figuring things out. There are lots of people leading happy, well adjusted lives who have been through the coming out journey!

If you are thinking about coming out, there is a lot to consider such as:

  • who to trust with this information first;
  • how to bring it up;
  • how to look after yourself in the process (especially if you anticipate negative reactions); and
  • where to find resources to assist you etc.

Coming out is a big step as it does lead to changes in your relationships with others and how they see you. It is not uncommon for family members and friends to have a variety of reactions over time and these may include being supportive, questioning, angry, disappointed, dismissive, curious or relieved. It can be hard to predict a loved ones reaction –some people have “known” on some level for a long time, while others are taken completely by surprise and may need time to process the news before being able to respond.

When considering coming out, it can be very useful to read other people’s accounts and link up with people in similar situations – perhaps online, in a support group or by phoning a crisis line.

Supportive, non-directive counselling is also useful in assisting people to sort out their preferences and make decisions about the process of coming out. If you would like some supportive assistance in a setting where you know that diversity is accepted, feel free to make an appointment today.