October 11th is National Coming Out Day, a time to celebrate anyone who announces their LGBTQ identity. Coming out takes courage, pride, and self-esteem. For some, it is a joyful experience, filled with support and acceptance from family and friends. For others, it can be scary or even risky.
If you’re thinking about coming out as LGBTQ, here are some things that may help make it a safe and positive experience:
- Make your own choice. When, where, and how to come out is an intensely personal decision that belongs to you and you alone. Don’t feel forced or pressured by friends or family who, in their eagerness to show their acceptance of your identity, encourage you to declare yourself. Take your time and determine what’s best for you.
- Seek support. If you do decide to come out, start with someone you trust completely. This might be a best friend, a sibling, a parent, or a teacher. If there’s nobody in your immediate network who you feel truly safe talking to, consider a hotline (like the LGBT National Youth Talkline) or a counselor (find out how Response Center can help!).
- Be prepared. Some people you come out to may not react the way you’re expecting or hoping they will. Remember this advice from The Trevor Project’s incredibly helpful Coming Out As YOU guide: “[O]ther people’s reactions are more about them than you. You’ve had time to think about your feelings, but they are learning something new for the first time. When you come out they begin their own acceptance process.” Furthermore, negative reactions don’t mean that you’re a bad person or that your identity is wrong. You are perfectly normal, and you have made a brave decision to live as your true self.
Response Center LGBTQ Resources
- Gendernauts: Meet other teens who are exploring gender identity at Response Center’s eight-week support group.
- Alliance: Join Response Center’s annual summer program for LGBTQ teens and allies. Meet new friends at pride parties, movie viewings, service projects, and more.
- Glossary: Look up common LGBTQ terms.
- Helpful Links: Explore our list of other sites and organizations that offer helpful LGBTQ-related information.