Do you remember Glee? Six-season musical series with a certain Kurt, played by Chris Colfer. And his famous coming out to his father ... A few words exchanged, sobs in his voice, immediate acceptance and a supportive hug. Easy, isn't it? Without wanting to discourage you, this is fiction, yours probably won't be like this.
To reveal yourself is to take the risk of being rejected. It is exposing oneself to realities that one has preferred to ignore until then, is potentially experiencing exclusion. Sometimes it's shattering your life. Is it worth it ? This is a question that crosses the minds of every LGBTQI person at one (or even more) point in their life.
So we are not going to lie to each other and make you believe that everything will be beautiful and peaceful as soon as you have decided to openly accept your gender identity or your sexual orientation. We're not going to darken the picture either, because coming out doesn't necessarily mean rejection (and fortunately)!
There, we will already give you the keys to help everyone overcome the obstacle, put aside the embarrassment and assume to be who you are.
This is the issue of acceptance. The self-esteem that plays out here. The prize to be won? Serenity, a life in tune with oneself and often a new beginning in tune with one's sexual orientation.
Yes, yes, that's all that is behind the announcement of his homosexuality. [internal link to pillar page on "announcing homosexuality" terms in text] Besides, it's understandable not to know where to start when you want to break away from the heterosexual norm or gender distinctions.
Table of contents clickable bulleted list to H2
- Coming out to friends
- Coming out to your family
- Be inspired by testimonials about coming out
- What to do with outing?
Coming out to friends
The first coming out is often in the circle of friends. Don't we say "friends are the family we choose"?
To feel more secure, to have people who are like us or at least understand and accept us as we are. Perhaps they already suspect your homosexuality or bisexuality, but do not bring up the subject to give you the freedom to live, to discover yourself at your own pace. Maybe they never asked the question or maybe they have similar questions about themselves?
All of this you can't really know until you risk talking about it.
Start by choosing people you trust [internal link to level 2 page on “choosing people you trust” in text], whom you know are open-minded, but on whom, if possible, you are not dependent. For a first announcement (because yes, there will be more), don't put yourself in danger. If you can reduce the risk of losing your job or being homeless, it's still safer.
You don't know where to start,
- Enjoy a very small conversation: one or two people to start;
- Announce that there is a topic you want to talk about but are apprehensive about their feedback;
- Express your emotions, say so if you are anxious, if you are lost or if you are afraid of what this discussion may change;
- Announce your homosexuality or bisexuality in a simple way, without guesswork or innuendo;
- Anticipate reactions by explaining that you know it might come as a surprise to them, but that you might like to be reassured.
Then take it little by little if you need to take the time to calm down, to be secure with every step forward. This revelation to your loved ones is sometimes a complicated passage, for them too.
Want to start with us? CTA: Towards coming-out training
Be careful, however, friends can also be the ones who betray your trust. Whether it is inadvertently during a discussion with your parents or calculated malice, the result of this outing will be painful for you. So be vigilant in your announcements and insist on the confidentiality rules that you want to see applied. We come back to this later.
Coming out to your family
This is often the crucial moment when announcing your homosexuality: coming out to your family. [internal link to the level 2 page on the terms “coming out to your family” in the text] It is all the more risky when you are financially dependent on them or you still live under their roof.
Homophobic prejudices, the weight of religion, taboo of homosexuality, traditional anchoring on the role of each sex, transphobia, prejudices on homosexual practices, etc. The family environment is not always the most conducive to revelation and acceptance. There, it reminds more of the coming-out of the character of Santana, to stay in the Glee series…
Even if your family seems quite open-minded about sexual diversity, it's normal to have fears and apprehension about their tolerance. Perhaps, despite their benevolent attitude, they will have concerns that will translate into questions about HIV, same-sex parenting or even masculinity. Know that they are also fed stereotypes, sometimes homophobic or transphobic, without even being aware of it.
You know, parents project their own expectations onto their children, sometimes to the point of completely locking them into a role they define as the norm. To assume one's homosexuality then amounts to extricating oneself from the normality that they have fantasized about. And inevitably, it will cause some turmoil for them (and indirectly for you). It is also up to them to make their own way.
- Give them time to deconstruct their received ideas;
- Answer their questions if you wish;
- Refuse violence and discrimination (and that is not negotiable).
There is no right or wrong way to advertise your homosexuality. There are words that sound like you, the attitude you are comfortable with, the limits you set to protect yourself, your knowledge of your family, etc.
You know best, that doesn't mean you have to come out of the closet blindly.
Be inspired by testimonials about coming out
Even if the feeling of loneliness is sometimes stronger than anything, know that you are not the first (nor the last) to come out. And that’s great good news, because it means you can feed yourself and learn from the experiences of other lgbti people.
- LGBT rights associations;
- Gay couples around you;
- Actors of the gay community (like us!);
- Meetings made in gay places.
If you are not yet ready for this kind of contact and the exchange still scares you, turn to written resources or videos that highlight people who have come out [internal link to the page level 2 on the terms "people who have come out" in the text]. You will see that these unique experiences speak a universal language: different from you, these journeys will echo your emotions, your doubts and sometimes your experiences.
Before your coming out, this will allow you to take an example, to find the way to reveal yourself which suits you best: a letter? Of humor ? With outside help? Assertiveness can take many forms in the gay community, yours exists too.
Build your CTA coming-out with us: Towards coming-out training
What to do with outing?
Let's get things straight already: outing is a crime in France.
It is a violent practice which falls under article 9 of the Civil Code which states very clearly that "everyone has the right to respect for his private life". Your attraction to the opposite sex or the fact that you are trans is part of your private life.
So, it is true that we prefer to highlight the positive at HappyGayTV, but it still had to be said!
Whether you feel betrayed, ashamed, or even desperate, it is not you who have done wrong if you are the victim of outing. [internal link to the level 2 page on the terms "outing victim" in the text] This has, suddenly and against your will, plunged you into a world where you are part of a (often oppressed) minority without being ready.
Besides, maybe you haven't had a homosexual relationship or sex life with a person of the same sex before, maybe you weren't even fully aware of your sexual attraction yet. Being a lesbian or being a gay man might not have been easy for you yet.
The shock must be taken both to move forward on the path of acceptance yourself, but also to deal with the gaze of others and sometimes their homophobia. The violence of this forced exit is not to be taken lightly.
- Seek advice and refuge from friends who accept you;
- Talk about it and express your feelings to those close to you or to associations;
- Get support to find your emotional balance as quickly as possible.
The time for working on yourself and cleaning your surroundings will come quite quickly afterwards, and will even happen naturally.
Whether you are ready or not, no pressure. The decision to disclose your homosexuality is yours and it is up to you to choose when and how to do so. In order for this first announcement to be made in the best possible conditions, that is to say the ones that look like you and correspond to you, you can start by imagining your ideal coming-out. It will then be easier to take the plunge.
Prepare for your CTA coming-out: Towards coming-out training