National Coming Out Day: A Guide for Allies and Queers Alike
Coming Out is Hard
I shared my own coming out story last year for National Coming Out Day. And as someone who is out as part of my blogging life, that’s a relatively easy story for me to share. But for others, it can be really really hard or even unsafe to come out. So this year, I’ve crafted a guide with the help of my queer fam to help you if you’re coming out, or if someone chooses to come out to you. At the end of the day, it’s everyone’s individual choice to come out and it’s their choice how they choose to do it. But hopefully this guide can help ease what can be one of the most difficult experiences of someone’s life.
Tips if You’re Coming Out Today (Or any day at all)
- If you’re in a position to and it’s something you’re comfortable with, you can choose chosen family over bio family 100% of the time. You don’t owe people anything because they share DNA with you.
- If you’re not ready, you do not have to come out to everyone. You’re not less queer just because some people don’t know.
- Coming out isn’t all or nothing. You are still valid.
- If you can’t come out, that’s okay. As above, you aren’t any less queer because you’re not out. Safety is most important.
- Remember that no matter what happens, you are loved.
What to do if someone comes out to you
- Tell them thank you for trusting you. offer them a hug. tell them you love them where applicable.
- Give them space to process emotions. Even if you thought this was the case, the process of coming out is difficult and they may have a lot of fears wrapped up in them. Give them space to be validated and process through that.
- Be supportive. Even if you don’t quite understand. (“I don’t know what pansexual means, but I’m willing to learn”) Be open to expanding your own education.
- Make a big deal but be reasonable. Brushing off something this huge can seem dismissive but it took that person a very long time and lots of courage to say the thing. Saying “Okay. Pass the orange juice” dismisses the size of the moment, though you may want it to seem like it’s not a big deal. This is a time for conversation. Have one.
What NOT to do when someone comes out to you
- Never out them without their express permission. Consent is mandatory, y’all!
- You may be proud of them but it’s their choice so unless you know for sure that they’re super out, don’t like make a facebook post about how proud of them you are.
- Don’t bet on people’s sexuality or relationships.
- Don’t tell someone coming out that you knew or speculate on relationships/crushes.
- Do not ask prying questions. It’s not your business who they have slept with, how they identify, how they “knew” or anything like that. If they’re not sharing it, you’re not asking it.
- Do not try to set someone up with that other queer friend you know. We can find our own dates thanks very much. If we want help, we will ask you.
- Do NOT bring religion into it, don’t tell them they’re going anywhere after they die based on their sexual orientation or gender.
Do you have any other tips to share? Leave them in the comments! If you want to share your coming out story, consider yourself invited to do so. Today is all about sharing!