5 things you should know when coming out
So you’ve known it for quite some time and now you feel that it’s time you let your parents, family and close friends know that you’re actually lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transgender right? You’re probably really scared and can’t quite find the words to say how you feel to people who you think might judge you and see you as something different now, and that’s normal Choma. The fact is, coming out is not an easy thing to do, it takes so much courage because of the stigma surrounding homosexuality and bisexuality. It can make you feel isolated too, so here’s a little guide to help you through it and remind you that you’re not on your own.
1. You don’t need anyone’s approval
Coming out as LGBTQIA (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex or asexual) doesn’t mean you’re looking for approval from whoever you’re coming out to. It should always just be about you deciding not to hide who you are for your own benefit Choma. Living your truth needs to be about you.
2. How people react is not your fault
This news can come as a really big shock to your family and close friends. They might not know how to react at first and that can come across as anger or disappointment. Even though it’s not about them, it’s best to give them time to let the news settle. Just remember that if they react negatively, it’s not your fault. Unfortunately, we live in a heteronormative society- this means that being heterosexual (or ‘straight’) is seen as the most natural route, which makes it that much difficult to come out, be accepted and loved for who you are. Just keep your head up and your heart strong, Choma. Staying true to yourself should be your focus.
3. It gets better eventually
As I said before, Choma, these things take time. It will be hard at first, and sometimes people will choose to stay ignorant and disapprove of who you are, but at the end of the day, living your truth will make you stronger and you’ll feel more free to be who you are, unapologetically.
4. You are not alone
Choma, it may feel this way at times but you’re not the first person to come out as bisexual, lesbian or gay and I can promise you that you’re not the last. So many people have gone through what you’re going through and will support you through it. You can visit www.out.org.za if you’re looking for support, or call them on (012) 430 3272.
5. You are worthy of love, no matter what
The most important thing is that no matter how others feel about your sexual orientation, you are SO worthy of love. It is way easier said than done, but you should never let anyone make you feel like you don’t deserve love from family or a good, healthy relationship just because you identify differently to them. You are magic Choma!
Choma, even if you decide against coming out, don’t feel bad - I hope you can one day build the courage to live your truth. Sometimes coming out is a process, or a journey. It may not be something that you decide to do today and then come out to everyone you know in an instant. It can be a process of understanding and accepting yourself so be as patient with yourself as you need to be Choma. No matter when you decide to come out, know that you’re brave for making the very hard decision and I’d be proud of you for choosing to take that step, regardless of when you take it. Let me know how it goes.
Remember, you can also send me a message to talk to me about anything. If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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