1. No matter who we are or whom we love, we all deserve the right to live out our lives genuinely, completely and honestly.
For most of LGBTQ+ individuals, we may feel like we have to hide our true selves in order to avoid discrimination or rejection. Whenever we try to be something we’re not, it takes a toll on our mental and emotional wellbeing. No one should have to live a lie. We all deserve the right to be our true selves, and to love who we want to love. Living in fear is no way to live.
When we are able to live our lives openly and without fear, we are able to thrive. We are able to form deep, meaningful connections with others and lead more fulfilling lives.
For most of LGBTQ+ individuals, this can be especially difficult.
We are often fighting for the right to live our lives openly and honestly. Race, ethnicity or religion should never be a barrier when it comes down to publicly living an authentic life with our identity. Telling people about our sexual orientation or gender identity is often called ‘coming out’. For LGBTQ+ individuals, coming out is just one of the ways we can take back control over what’s rightfully ours.
2. Coming in or self acceptance
From birth, most of us are raised to think of ourselves as fitting into a certain mold.
Our culture and often our families, teach us that we are “supposed to” be attracted to certain people. We also have to look, act, and carry ourselves in specific ways. We realize who we are throughout all stages of our lives, when we’re children or teens, seniors, married, single, with children or without. But, there is no wrong time in your life to be who you are.
3. Coming out or telling others
Coming out is a difficult but rewarding experience. Some LGBTQ+ individuals may feel little need to come out, while others feel the desire to tell people as soon as they realize it themselves.
Some people will respond positively and others might have less favorable responses, so it’s important to think about how you want your coming-out news to be delivered based on the personality of those around you as well.
There’s no single rule to be applied as to whether a person should (or can safely) disclose their identity to others. Even though coming out can be a challenge, it can also be incredibly liberating. Many of the LGBTQ+ individuals see it as the first step to living authentically as ourselves.
Take time to prepare yourself before making any decision. It’s also important to check in with yourself and the emotions you are having along every step of the way.
Throughout the self-disclosure process, it’s common to feel scared, unsafe, confused, guilty, empowered, exhilarated, proud, uncertain, brave, affirmed, relieved. All of these feelings, and others, are normal, no matter the intensity or duration. Remember that you’re not alone – there are plenty of other people who have been in your situation and come out the other side.
4. Coming out is a personal choice
Coming out is a process that each LGBTQ+ individual might go through in your own time and on your own terms. Some are more slow-paced, others prefer to share the news with one person or group at once; still others may move slowly over many months before finally coming out publicly as part of being LGBTQ+. It’s a big decision, and it’s ok to take your time to think about it.
At the end of the day, coming out is your decision and no one else’s. You don’t have to justify it to anyone – just do what feels right for you. Even if you decide to not come out, that’s completely okay and still valid!