Without a doubt, the most common question I get is, “How do I come out?”
For closeted people, it’s more than a question – it’s a brain-eating amoeba that chews away at your hope and sanity.
In my opinion, there is no right or wrong way to come out.
Sure, there are less stressful ways to come out – like telling your best friend in private as opposed to your homophobic mom finding gay porn on the computer – but in the end, your secret is out and you’re forced to deal with it.
And so you grow and you learn – two words synonymous with fear. Think about it: How can you grow up emotionally without ever feeling nervous or scared?
The way I see it, the more scared you are, the bigger the opportunity to learn. And coming out is TERRIFYING for most of us!
But before I tell you how to come out, I should tell you that not everyone deserves to know you’re gay.
If homosexuality is illegal in your country or puts you in physical danger, start exploring avenues of escape before revealing yourself. And if you’re reading this, it already means you’re doing your research!
Now, when you’re ready to come out, I’ve got a few ways you can do it…
The Band-Aid Technique
The best way to come out is like ripping off a Band-Aid. It’s going to hurt, but the sooner you get that initial shock and pain over with, the sooner you can deal with it and move on.
Many times we struggle to come out because there’s no way to fit it in the conversation. There’s no “open door” so to speak.
I always thought I had to somehow divert the topic to something like gay marriage. The truth is, if you’re even considering coming out to this person, you probably already know their opinion of gay people.
Instead of waiting for an open door, create your own door. Take a deep breath, spit it out like word vomit and just go with it.
The “Worst Case Scenario” Technique
Being closeted gives us a lot of time to think of worst-case coming out scenarios.
I want you to come up with the absolute worst: getting kicked out of the house, everyone hating you and rejecting you, the life you know ceasing to exist.
Now start creating your New Life Plan based around this scenario. Where could you work or live in case you were cut off? What would be your next step? Having a plan of sorts will increase your confidence and make you feel less afraid.
Then, when you come out and realize it’s not as bad as you thought, you can relax a little. If it is as bad as you thought, you have a plan.
The One-on-One Technique
People act differently in a group than when they’re alone.
I remember one time, shortly before 8th grade graduation, the school bully and I found ourselves alone by the lockers. This guy had made junior high a living hell for me.
But instead of tormenting me, he simply said, “I’m scared of high school. I don’t know what to expect.”
It was a moment of total honesty I will never forget.
I think everyone is more open and honest when they’re alone – even your mom and dad act differently when they’re not around each other. Get to know your parents as individuals, and they might surprise you.
Coming out to more than one person at a time puts you at risk of feeling intimidated or alienated. You don’t want to feel like you’re being backed into a corner.
The great thing about coming out is that any other challenge you face seems small in comparison.