Counseling and Wellness

Coming Out

Things to Consider

  • There is a difference between Coming Out to yourself and coming out to others.
  • This is a life long process and is not described by a single event; it is a process not an event.
  • The process involves many steps forward and many steps backward, but always more steps forward than back.
  • Each person you tell can be a potential increase in the loss of control over this information.
  • People, because of prejudice, may abandon you.
  • There is not a normal time in which you should Come Out.
  • This is a personal issue first and a political issue second, if at all.
  • You will be strengthening yourself!

Tips

  • Schedule the time to Come Out.  Avoid sharing this information spontaneously in conversation; plan your time and location.
  • Come Out first to those individuals who you feel will be the most supportive.
  • Consider the best time for yourself and the other person.
  • Emphasize that you are the same person you were yesterday and that you have not become a different person now that you have shared about yourself.
  • Give the other person time to adjust.  It took you how many years?  Allow the other person reasonable time to process (could be days, weeks, months, years).
  • Have someone lined up for debriefing with you.
  • Don’t give up hope with an initially negative reaction to your sharing.
  • Be careful not to let your self-esteem become reliant on positive outcomes of Coming Out.
  • Do not Come Out to punish others or when you are feeling very emotional.
  • Recommend readings to the person to whom you Come Out.
  • Read!  There are many good titles on Coming Out.  Don’t re-invent the wheel, much of this work has already been done.

This information is posted with the permission of its author: Barry A. Schreier, Ph.D.