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Gay and Lesbian Coming Out
The realization that you are gay or lesbian can prove a tough thing to acknowledge. The stigma attached to being gay is still rife in our society, despite some level of ‘equal rights’ being addressed.
Families with strong religious beliefs can be especially anti-gay and can turn against their own flesh and blood just for being different from the crowd. If your family has been especially liberal you will most certainly have an easier time of it.
Still, every day, a teenager, young adult or even a mature adult might struggle with the notion of telling their family that they are gay or lesbian. It doesn’t seem fair that so many people feel a shame attached to the person they are, but it happens. Our parents and friends tell us that something is ‘wrong’ and we feel shame about it and being gay is nothing to feel shamed for.
The last thing we want to do is alienate our families and friends but it is so important for us to be true to ourselves. Yes, that phrase gets bandied about all too often sometimes, but we cannot perpetually live our lives for other people.
When it comes time to decide that you must live your life your way and you need to tell your ‘nearest and dearest’ there are some tips that can hopefully make the process easier and perhaps more successful.
#1 – Be sure that you are definitely gay or lesbian before you decide to tell your loved ones. This may seem futile but it may just be that you are bisexual and haven’t made up your mind yet. This will probably be determined by your age and experience.
#2 – Pick a time to talk to your family when there are no distractions and you can all speak freely. Plan a little about what you want to say and try to explain your feelings.
#3 – Be aware that your family may already have a sense that you might not be straight. Sometimes our friends and family will notice things that we hide and say nothing to us for fear of being inaccurate in their assessment or, moreover, wanting to avoid the inevitable.
#4 – When you tell them how you feel, put yourself in their shoes, and explain succinctly that you feel the need to tell them about who you really are. If they are liberal people they probably will not judge you, but, if your family has strong views on the conservative side, be prepared to speak up for yourself.
#5 – Try not to put them on a guilt trip, but do explain that if they truly love you, how you choose to live your life should not be a worry to them. Be sure to let them know your feelings will not change for them and that you want them in your life.
#6 – Stay calm and don’t get irate if the situation looks like it might get hairy. People may well be shocked or surprised that you are telling them this piece of news, so be prepared for all manner of responses. Being mature about it will help resolve any possible disputes.
Support is available at various sources online. Local support groups might be available in your city.
One online source of support is a web page at http://www.gaycityusa.com/Support.htm where you can find resources and help. There is also a Q&A for those with difficulties in coming out.
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