How to come out to my family?

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Answered by: Deyanira, An Expert in the Coming Out Category
Coming out is never easy, especially with the internalized homophobia and transphobia most LGBT teens deal with. It's easy to simply avoid doing so until one is in their late twenties, even early thirties. The current political climate does not help matters. It's a polarized issue. However, it's going to come up at some point, and occasionally it is inevitable. Someone else may out you, which can complicate things. Choosing how to come out is a very personal matter.The easiest way is to take baby steps. Come out to close friends first, judging by their past expressions of their opinions on the matter. There are times when you may lose a friend. If they make that choice, let them. They may not be the best person to keep a relationship with, no matter how long you have known them. If they are no longer willing to support you, then perhaps they weren't best to keep around.

Coming out to family is difficult. There is no such thing as an easy way to come out to family. There are instances when they cut off contact, or refuse to accept your sexual orientation. A general rule of thumb is the more liberal the area, the better the chances of having more support. How to come out in this instance includes finding a neutral place within your home in which no one has advantage over the other. Sitting your family (usually parents) down can be a daunting task. Once they are comfortably seated, it increases in difficulty. Beating around the bush until your family guesses it is a common theme in many coming out stories. Some people just put it out there, and wait for the family's reaction. However, if you know your family's reception to the idea will be poor, or even endangering to your life, it's better to keep quiet until you are in a safe place. It's possible that your coming out will make your family more open, but there can be consequences as well. Some of these may include "corrective" counseling in order to "make" you straight. The fact of the matter is, being part of the LGBT spectrum is not a choice, and those methods can be incredibly damaging to the mental health of a person. There are occasions where people have been kicked to the curb for their "defective state of mind". It's not a matter of choice, it's a matter of safety.

In the end, sometimes you just have to choose safety rather than being out. It helps to be out to your friends in this case, telling them about your orientation, or, if you are transgender, nonbinary, your preferred pronouns and name. Being safe, and your mental health should always be your primary concern. Everything else is just details that will eventually be sorted out. Occasionally, it's better to cut off communication than deal with any criticisms or abuse that may come your way.

You are your own concern, and nothing will change that. Be who you are, and allow yourself to be happy with who you are. It does get better with time. Maybe not tomorrow, but a lot can change over a year, or a month even. You are just as important as everyone else in the world, even though you may not be part of the majority.

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