Things Lesbians Should Consider Before Coming Out
The prospect of revealing to your friends and family that you have essentially been living a double-life for some time and you are uncertain as to how they are going to look at you after finding out that you are a lesbian can be exciting and scary. Some people might have more uneventful tales of when they came out of the closet, everyone’s environment and situation may differ. The key is to be honest with yourself as you are with others.
Use these tips to help prepare for the day you decide to come out of the closet.
Start Things Slow
Despite how long you’ve contemplated this moment, you must maintain perspective and realize how overwhelming it may be to the people you are dropping this new information on. Their initial reaction might not be exactly what you wanted it to be, but let them have their space to decompress and process everything. Obviously, you are looking for acceptance, but try to view things from a wider perspective. Try not to take questions that you may deem rude or “stupid” as insults, this shows that they care and if they weren’t at all receptive they would be dismissive or indifferent.
Start with one person that you trust. When you are prepared to reveal your secret, don’t think you need to tell everybody straight away—it’s not a race. Pick one individual who you trust more than any other person; a companion, kin, councilor, or educator. When you’ve opened up to them, things will appear a thousand times less demanding and clearer for you. It’s not just a cliché: talking truly helps. You’ll additionally have somebody you can converse with and ask for help when turning to others.
Don’t feel obligated to identify as lesbian if you aren’t 100% certain that you only prefer women. Just because you are currently using lesbian sites or hooking up with lesbians, doesn’t mean you need to have everything set in stone and figured out.
Choose the Right Time and Place
The important part of talking to your family is knowing if the time is right, being aware of any relationship tensions from recent events or problems that have occurred recently. You might not be giving yourself the best environment to drop an emotional bomb on your loved ones. They might be on the defensive or less receptive if they have just experienced a traumatic event or high levels of stress.
Do you rely on them for financial support?
Another scenario where your sudden news can influence the type of reaction you may get from somebody is being completely free from financial support and/or housing. If you don’t have the greatest relationship with said person you want to come out to, you might want to wait until you are out from under their wing. The reason is that even if you believe they will be accepting of your news, it is much harder for them to do anything that might be damaging to your relationship with them that they will wind up regretting later if they have no power over you.
This extreme situation is most common with conservative parents who are used to dictating what their child has access to, certain privileges, and who they talk to, whether they are successful at it or not. It’s very common for parents who are too stubborn to relinquish their control to drive a wedge between their own children as they continually punish them for rebelling and speaking out.
This isn’t about forcing others to love you for who you are, it’s about giving them the opportunity to accept you and if they still can’t then you can feel confident that you have done all that you could.
Even with a more overall accepting society that we live in today, it is important to know how to handle criticism, stereotypes, and negativity as you open up towards others. There is still a lot of prejudices on how lesbians should look, act, or sound; don’t feel like you should fit any perceived profile in order to identify as a lesbian. This is especially true for dating websites, you will run into some very particular individuals, but that should not discourage you or make you question who you are as a person.
The key to happiness is being yourself, even if that doesn’t match certain profiles as to whether you are masculine or feminine, whether you still have feelings for the opposite sex or not. That’s what makes life great, learning who you are and growing up with friends and family to support you every step and every moment along the way.
Shrug off What Holds you Back
Remember: timing and tact is important, just don’t allow these things to prevent you from opening that door and getting this load off your shoulders. It’s not healthy to have something as important as this bottled up for years just because you fear the potential negative reaction. Listen to our advice about gradually revealing to those you trust and have them by your side the whole time. Once the dust settles, you’ll be liberated and ready to move on with your life, with or without those who didn’t know how you identified until now.