LGBT Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Perth, Western Australia
Phone 0401 316 977
for enquiries or appointments
Coming Out As Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
& Transgender (LGBT)
Coming out is to make an intensely personal decision to recognise, accept, express and share one’s sexual or gender orientation with oneself and others. For some, coming out is a fairly straightforward process, while for others it is a protracted and painful experience.
The Benefits of Coming Out
Living an open and honest life.
Increased self-esteem from being known and loved for who we really are.
Developing more genuine and closer relationships with others.
Reducing the stress of trying to hide one’s identity.
Connecting with others who are LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender).
Becoming part of the LGBT community.
Making it easier for younger LGBT people who may follow in one’s footsteps
Most people experience the above benefits of coming out. However, the reaction of others can be difficult to predict, and unfortunately, some people may experience some of the following challenges.
The Risks of Coming Out
Some people may not be understanding or accepting.
Family, friends or co-workers may be shocked, confused or even hostile.
Some relationships may permanently change.
One may experience harassment or discrimination.
Some adolescents may be asked to leave home or lose financial support from their parents.
Things to Consider Before Coming Out to Others
Are you reasonably confident and comfortable about your sexual or gender orientation? If not, consider seeking support from a counsellor.
It is your decision whom to confide in, when to do it and how. Do not pressurise yourself into coming out before you feel ready to do so. You may also decide that coming out may not be necessary or advisable.
Timing can be important. Be aware of the mood, priorities, stresses and problems of those to whom you would like to come out.
Be well informed about LGBT issues so that you can answer any questions or concerns on the subject.
Avoid coming out during an argument.
Some people may react negatively at first and need some time to adjust to what you’ve told them. Try not to respond angrily or defensively. Acceptance may be a gradual process.
The Coming Out Journey
Coming out and living openly, is not a single event, or something that takes place over a specified time. It is an ongoing journey that becomes part of the rest of your life.
There are three broad stages that people usually move through on their coming out journey:
Opening Up to Yourself:
This period is a process by which one accepts one’s own sexual or gender identity.
This period involves disclosure for the first time to a carefully selected few family and friends.
This ongoing phase involves disclosure, when it feels appropriate, to a broader circle of friends, family, work colleagues and new people that come into your life.
It’s important to remember that the journey from “Opening Up to Yourself” to “Living Openly” is ongoing and unfolds at your own pace.
If you are concerned about any aspect of coming out or would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, please contact me to make an appointment. My approach is warm and respectful, and I offer a safe, confidential and non-judgemental space to support people through their difficult times.