For anyone part of the LGBTQ+ community, one of the hardest decision is to choose when it's time to ’officially’ come out. Unfortunately, we live in a time that this is still a ’thing’ we feel like we must do. However, coming out is not something you have to do for others but for yourself. Being part of the gay community myself, something I struggled with was to accept the fact that I am gay. This, unquestionably, had to do with how and where I was raised. Coming from a little island like Aruba, where basically everyone knows each other, you don't want to feel you brought shame on to your family. You’re already struggling with your sexuality and, on top of that, you’re struggling with how your family will react to the news. "Are they going to accept me? I don't want them to stop loving me. My dad will probably beat me." So many dark thoughts that go through your fourth-teen-year-old mind.
Struggling or not, I want to share with you some crucial points you must take into consideration before and after you come out.
1. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario If you didn't come out yet, you’re probably struggling with how your parents (and friends) will react to the news. Unfortunately, not every parent out there will give their child the sense of relief and guide them through the journey of finding their identity as a gay man or lesbian woman. So, you've got to be ready for the worst case scenario. Think about being physically safe and financially stable; you're still young and living under their roof. If they kick you out, where can you go? How will you get the money to survive? It’s very important to consider coming out to a friend or someone you know can be your safety net. Which brings me to ’punto número dos’. 2. Gather your support-system Gather those people you know will have your back no matter what. Think about your friends, relatives, teachers, you name it! People you know you can lean on for support if things get dark. You definitely don’t want to be alone if things don’t go smoothly. Share with them that you’re planning to come out to your parents, and if they will be available to support you with temporary housing or just emotional support. 3. What does your inner-wisdom tell you? Listen to what your 'gut' is telling you; you don’t want to regret your decision. You got to be ready for everything that comes with openly saying “I am gay!” 4. Picking the right words, time and place After gathering your thoughts and you feel ready to come out to your parent, think about what's the best way for you to express your feelings. For some people, it's easier to say, "I am gay" than others. Regardless, be proud and be clear. As you come out to your family, tell them how much you love them and how important their support means for you. For many parents, one of their concern is if their child is going to be okay and safe – reassure them that you are happy.
Now, regarding the moment… there’s NO perfect time and place for you to come out. You will probably chicken out many times and let the opportunity pass, but don’t worry… take a breath, clear your mind and find the next opportunity. Surely, don’t do it in the middle of an argument or family crisis and definitely not during your sister’s birthday. I mean, you don’t want to steal her thunder, right? 5. Hold on, sis — you’re going to be okay! Regardless of the situation, with time, everything gets better! Don’t expect your family to adjust right away. It may be that this is completely new for them as well – fear and not being educated about the topic can make the situation hard. Keep in mind that it took you time to adjust to the idea... give them the opportunity as well to deal and cope. In the meantime, stay positive and take good care of your mental health.
Everyone has a different experience, and that makes your coming out story unique. I just hope these points can help make the process a little bit easier. If you go through with it, give yourself a big hug for having the balls to risk everything to live your life openly as the 'label' you have chosen to define yourself with. (and if you are not about the label life -- even better, boo!). Happy #Comingoutday!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blogpost are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Phryme Magazine.