Today is National Coming Out Day. A day created to encourage people of a LGBTQ+ persuasion (such as myself) to come out and tell the world who they are.
It has become the norm for people to want to live their lives as their authentic self, and I of course agree with that. That’s what I do, and I haven’t really had many problems. However, I have known a great many people who have been thrown out of their houses after being rejected by their parents, and even put in hospital by saying the words ‘I’m gay/lesbian/trans/bisexual/non-binary’.
Sadly, we don’t like to talk about this because it doesn’t always fit with the prevailing mood that we should all be out and authentic all the time.
This does not mean that I think you shouldn’t come out if you’re ready. However, you should ask yourself a couple of questions first.
1) Is it safe?
The political temperature in the Western world has become distinctly cool towards LGBTQ+ people and I fear that if Mr Trump gets another term in the USA, it is only going to get worse. Politicians on both side of the Atlantic are using us as scapegoats and looking to strip away our rights. So, if your family is one that believes the lies told by these politicians and are actively against our kind, then I would like to suggest that you wait until you can secure alternative accommodation before coming out to them.
If you have any violent family members, or ones who believe in an honour-based system. Then it is crucial that you do not tell them, or anybody connected to them. Get to safety if you are wanting to live your life and do not engage with them.
2) Can they physically take it?
It is possible that a person may be lovely but are in some way vulnerable. They could be very old or very sick and have entrenched religious views that might over stress them. If this is the case, then you should probably keep this part of yourself from them.
We tend to think that people not being accepting of us when we come out, as ‘their problem’ and for the most part this is true. However, you don’t need to kill your gran to be your authentic self.
So, if it’s safe and the person you’re telling won’t be physically harmed, then come right out baby. You will find that most people will be immediately supportive. Be aware though, that those closest to you may need some time to process the news. They may even say something stupid when you first tell them. Something that they don’t mean. Keep calm and give them space. Tell them that you are going to leave them to think about what you’ve said and that you would like to talk when they are ready.
This seems to be the second blog I’ve written urging patience with a bunch of absolute punts, but age has taught me that you get more with honey than napalming people’s skin off.