Question: I’m a junior in college, and I was hoping to make a New Year’s Resolution to “come out” to everyone in my life, and just be myself. It looks good on paper, but I’m still afraid, and even though I think my parents may already suspect it, I need their help with tuition. What’s the first step?
The REAL ME
Dear Authentic YOU,
So many people have been asking this question, and of course it is ALWAYS a decision with a lot of variables. First of all, NO ONE should ever “OUT” another person. That is ideally our own decision as to how, when and to whom. And it is in so many ways, a constant process all our lives with new friends, acquaintances, partners, colleagues, and extended family members. But it isn’t usually difficult once you “test the waters” in the beginning. It’s just who you are, and no apologies are ever needed for THAT.
Most people feel such a relief and freedom once they safely disclose this very important part of their lives to a few people they trust. When you sense the joy of just being yourself and realizing that the world hasn’t the skipped a beat since you came out, and that you are still the same valuable member of society and of your family that people saw before, then it just gets easier every day. Sure, the news that you’ve known for so long is now brand new to your family, so they may need time to adapt. Their initial reaction may not be their final emotion, so give them time to ask you questions and to sense your self assured confidence and absolute certainty. It’s all good. You are fine, and deserving of the same love and respect you always deserved before.
There’s also a lot of help out there. Join the GSA or other LGBT social groups at your school. Find an open and affirming faith community if that is an important part of your life. Seek the company of other like minded students and allies, and consider attending PFLAG meetings in your local area, and encourage your parents to go and get support and information too. http://community.pflag.org.
Also, check out the wonderful new book called “The Letter Q”: Queer Writer’s Notes to Their Younger Selves. This book is enormously helpful to anyone worrying about coming out or surviving those tough early years in the closet.
And…happily live your life by the Health Collective’s motto: