Exploring coming out
Picking safe people to come out to can feel like a minefield which is why a lot of people choose to come out to their counsellor. Gender identity and sexual orientation can be challenging to explore, especially for those who grew up with very heteronormative and cisnormative ideals placed upon them. Therefore, having a safe space to delve into and understand your identity with someone you can trust and have built up a relationship with can be invaluable.
Coming out is different for everyone and one of the most daunting things is the fear of people’s reactions. “Will I be accepted and loved for who I am? Will I be met with disgust and thrown out of my house? Will people see me in a very different light and avoid me? Will I finally find my community? Will I be misunderstood?” All of these things can run through a person’s mind. This fear can sometimes make people suppress or deny who they are and that can lead to depression and suicidal ideation.
It is entirely up to the individual whether to come out or not, it is also not a one-time thing. Many people who identify as LGBTQ+ are constantly coming out as they move through life and meet new people. Language is also ever evolving as different sexualities such as asexual and skoliosexual are now being recognised and accepted more. Gender is now being recognised as fluid and on a spectrum rather than stuck in the binary so people have more opportunity to find what feels right for them, be it polygender, agender, feminine-of-center, masculine-of-center, there are extensive lists with definitions online of different genders and sexualities although these lists can never be completely exhaustive.
Something to ponder: If someone you love came out to you how would you react?