I had a very hard time trying to figure out how I should come out to my father (who I no longer talk to). From drafting letters, to finally just telling him in person. Whatever way you decide to come out, you want to be prepared.
Coming Out to Yourself
First things first, if you are planning to come out to someone else, you need to be out to yourself first. Being comfortable with who you are is a major step in the coming out process. You want to be sure of who you are, whatever that may be (bi, pan, ace, gay, lesbian, trans*, etc.) but know that you there is no pressure on you to even label yourself if you don’t want to. If you want to be open about who you are, you have to know yourself first, no matter how confused you make yourself or other people.
Ex: Say to yourself, “I’m _______.” Does it sound right to you? If you prefer not to label, say, “I like _____/I like to _______/I feel like______ and this is who I am.”
Come Out to a Pet
It may sound silly, but coming out to a pet is a good way to deal with the stress that comes along with coming out. A pet can’t judge you, and let’s face it; they’ll still love you unconditionally. Just make sure that no one is around while your doing this, then you may out yourself on accident, whether whoever hears you says anything or not.
Come Out to a Close Friend/Your Friend Group
As stressful as it is, coming out to a friend is still easier for most than coming out to your parents. I would come out to a very close friend first and gauge their reaction. If you feel comfortable after that, come out to your full friend group, but if you aren’t ready to come out to everyone yet, make sure they know. Make sure you tell them that you would not appreciate being outed and that you would like to come out in your own time.
If you don’t feel comfortable coming out in person, write a letter to whoever you want to come out to, be it your friends, parents, or other family members. You could also write an open letter on a social media site (though I would advise telling your parents beforehand so that they won’t feel like you don’t trust them). If you aren’t sure what to write here are some examples. If the last link doesn’t work for you try this one.
For these templates, just change the things you want/need to, to make it sound like you. Writing a letter and leaving it for them to read while your not at the house, may give them time to think rationally and come up with a civil response if they disagree.
If you think someone you are coming out to may react violently (which is a sad reality for far too many LGBTQ+ people out there). Then it’s probably best to just give them a ring, in a safe place. Make sure you’re in a safe place, maybe a close friend, or somewhere where your protected if you suspect a bad reaction. Calling them also gives them time and space to think about how to react when they do see you again in person.
Coming Out to Parents/Everyone In Person
If you feel prepared enough, you may be able to come out in person. There’s no shame if you don’t though. Especially for this, you want to be sure that you are in your comfort zone. Maybe, just step out enough to actually come out. There are tons of ways that you can do this. I can’t even begin to explain to you how to come out in person because everyone is different.
If you are a creative person, come out creatively. Here are some creative ideas for coming out.
I’m not going to lie, I came out to my mom multiple times when I was still figuring myself out and I was nervous every single time. It took me about two years to fully figure out who I was and finally come out to my father and everyone else. First, I came out as a trans man, then when my dad asked me who I liked and I was confident when I explained that I’m pansexual. I didn’t know what his reaction would be, I fully expected him to kick me out (which he drove me out eventually). In the end, he didn’t kick me out, he didn’t like that I was trans and pansexual, but he did what I consider is much worse than being kicked out.
I think that he thought I would never find this tidbit of information out, but I did. He does not love me unconditionally. Why do I say this? The main reason is that he asked my mom about putting me in conversion therapy. CONVERSION THERAPY. It is illegal for minors in Illinois and I was an adult at the time of my coming out, so legally, he wouldn’t be able to force me to go. To think that he would put me through that though, just so that I would be his ideal of perfect, disgusts me. Just because it is illegal here, doesn’t mean that there aren’t operations working undercover. Actually, ABC did a 20/20 on conversion therapy camps that you can find the full news segment here.
My father’s whole side of the family (aside from maybe a cousin or two) is extremely transphobic. I came out to them and they were very disrespectful to me. They are extremely conservative, which didn’t help. I haven’t talked to him or anyone else on that side of the family (aside for my cousin) for months.
Remember that someone else’s view on you doesn’t determine your worth. If you suspect that your parents will hurt you or send you to a conversion camp, I would wait until you are an adult to come out. Also remember that someone who does love you unconditionally, would never try to change who you are, whether it be trying to talk you out of it, or trying to send you to conversion therapy. They aren’t worth it. You were born this way, and nothing can change that.
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