How do I come out of the closet?

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Answered by: Jack, An Expert in the Coming Out Category
There is something that you have been hiding for a while. Nobody knows this secret -- not even the people who are closest to you. You now feel like it is time and you are asking yourself, "How do I come out of the closet?"

The decision to come out of the closet is very personal. It is different for everyone and there are no official rules for the coming out process; however, you must remember that you are not alone. Many people have come out of the closet before you and they are more than willing to share their experience in order to help you.

First of all, it is your decision on when to come out of the closet. Only do it when you are ready! Don't feel obligated to come out just because you've reached a certain age or because you feel pressured to do it. Ultimately, the decision to come out of the closet is up to you.

Also, many people have found that the coming out process is easier when you have someone supporting you along the way. Come out first to a trusted friend or someone who you know supports the LGBT community. Maybe there is a gay or lesbian student at your school in whom you could confide. If you can't find a friend or ally in your community, find support online through an LGBT youth organization. is a great resource for LGBT youth looking for support. Through the website you can chat with someone who can answer your questions and help you once you decide to come out of the closet.

Once you have the support of a friend, it is much easier to come out to your family. When you are ready to come out to your family, find a place where you feel safe to have the conversation-- maybe in the car, at a coffee shop, or even at home. Don't automatically assume that your parent is going to react poorly to your news; often times parents actually react much better than you might expect. When you are ready, sit them down and explain to them as sincerely and honestly as possible that you are gay. You might cry. That's fine. You might not cry and that's fine too. The most important thing is to be honest, be real, and be straightforward.

Most people who come out of the closet feel a sense of freedom -- no more hiding or pretending! However, the process can be difficult for some and not everyone is going to agree with your decision to come out. If this is the case for you -- give it time. Often it just takes time for a friend or parent to come around and truly understand that you are gay. Remember that some people may take longer than others. In the meantime, keep those who support you close to you and cherish the freedom that you now have by living the life as the person you truly are.

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