Where is the Coming Out Guide Book and Where Can I get It?

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Answered by: Elizabeth, An Expert in the Coming Out Category
For a lot of LGBT folks, "coming out" (or becoming open with your friends and family about who you are) is stressful, and sometimes it is the hardest thing they will ever do. I know that it would be so much easier for everyone involved if there was a Coming Out Guide Book that we could reference to get us through this difficult time. There would be no more tension between sons and fathers over what someone "hoped your life would be like", because we could just look it up. There would be no more tears from mothers who expected grandchildren, because there would be a chapter that covers that. It would indeed, be much, much easier. I'm sorry to drop this truth-bomb on you so suddenly, however you must know. There is no such book. There is no one set of directions that will work for every situation. Sometimes "Coming Out" isn't even necessary. In high school I had a friend, who we will call "Carl". Carl was as gay as the day is long. He was flamboyant. He wasn't "in-your-face" by any means. But he was proud of who he was, and he would never let anyone tell him what he was doing was wrong.

One day, I decided to ask Carl about coming out. I asked him if he had come out to his parents yet, and what their reactions were. His response will stick with me forever. He said, "You know what? I'm pretty sure they know by now.. I mean, they aren't blind. But no, I haven't sat them down, taken them by the hands and had that long talk with them. I haven't brought a guy home and explained to them that he was my "special friend", and I don't ever plan to 'come out'." (he made quotations in the air as he said those words.) Of course I couldn't help my sense of curiosity. I asked why. I wondered if he was scared. But yet again, he answered me so unexpectedly. "I don't feel like I should have to come out. My sister never had to chorale my parents into the sitting room so she could confess to them that she was sexually attracted to men.. So why should I? I refuse to have that conversation with my parents, because at the end of the day, they either have already or will soon find out. I shouldn't have to announce it like I have cancer or something." Carl was right- for his situation. Five years later it turns out his parents knew all along and never thought any differently of him. Your situation is unique to you, just as Carl's situation was unique to him. If there was a Coming Out Guide Book, I think it would only be a page or two long. I think it would say things like "It gets better." and "Do whatever feels right." or maybe even "You know, you really don't HAVE to come out at all."

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