Rick Miller, Executive Director of Gay Sons & Mothers
We at Gay Sons and Mothers have chatted with and supported various people who felt alone through their own coming-out journey, or in learning of a family member who has just come out. Appreciate that many people have dealt with these issues before you, and these tips are from their wisdom and can be a guide to your process. We offer these five tips.
FOR THOSE WHO ARE COMING OUT OR CONSIDERING COMING OUT
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
It may feel like you are the only person enduring what you’re going through. Feeling alone, different, anxious, and even suicidal, are just a few common responses.
It’s likely you aren’t even the only person in your neighborhood, school, work place, or church community who has come out. Take comfort in knowing others have gone through this before you, that many are in the same process of coming out right now, and that there will be many in the future coming out after you. In fact, some day, you may end up being a mentor or role model to someone struggling just like you are right now!
SEEK OUT SUPPORT
There are places and people to support you. Find open-minded individuals and groups to love and support you. Frequently people find an accepting family member, like a sibling, cousin, or aunt/uncle. Or seek out a support group, either nearby or online; there are so many, you can find just the right one for you. For some people, the best option may be finding a parental figure who is accepting.
VISIT YOUR FUTURE SELF
Whether it be via letter or meditation, use your imagination to jump ahead in time to a moment when you have fully embraced coming out and have a multitude of friends and support in your life—think ahead to a year or two from now. Appreciate how much has changed over time and how it feels to be in this place. Hold on to this image and feeling for hope and inspiration!
ALLOW YOUR FAMILY TIME TO DIGEST THIS
By the time many people come out to their families, they’ve had time and support in finding the necessary courage, and so they expect others to instantly adapt and support them. Recognize that your family is going through its own adjustment period. People will adapt, but they need time and space, not pressure. Giving them time to process through their own grief is a wonderful gift.
FIND ROLE MODELS
Since you aren’t the first person to come out, why not find somebody further along, who understands exactly what you’re feeling and can share their experiences, someone to encourage or coach you along. If that person isn’t available, finding a supportive psychotherapist who works with LGBTQIA clients can be the model who will help you.