Coming out to anyone anywhere, at any time can be a stressful, anxious event. Not only are you sharing intimate information about yourself – your sexuality or gender identity – but you are opening yourself to an entire spectrum of reactions that may or may not be easy to deal with. Much of this stress may be heightened while you are here at university due to the microcosmic societies that exist. When you are living, eating, sleeping, working and studying side by side with fellow students the coming out process may seem a million times more intense. If you are having difficulties with coming out to anyone, be it yourself, friends or family, the welfare officer is on hand to listen to you and offer advice or signpost you to help when needed.
Coming Out ‘Tips’
Coming out is a very personal thing and is a decision only you should make. Ultimately, how or when you do so is entirely your decision: however, some people prefer to have a bit of guidance. If you are considering coming out, here are a few suggestions you might want to think about.
- Do not allow anyone to pressure you into coming out if you do not feel comfortable, ready or able
- Never come out in an argument or to hurt someone.
- Some people may initially say some things they don’t realise are hurtful. Be ready for them to need time and space to understand things.
- Try to gauge what your friends/family’s general attitude is beforehand, but bear in mind that people usually feel very different when it is someone they care about. Don’t assume that because your parents mutter something about ‘bloody poofs’ that they won’t accept you, their child, or that just because your friend is very liberal and accepting in theory that they won’t be awkward using a communal shower with you after football.
- Be ready to be asked questions that you may find overly personal or offensive, but remember you don’t have to answer them if you don’t want to.
- Consider having a book, leaflet or other resource
- Have a back-up plan if you’re concerned things might go badly, such as a friend’s house you can stay the night at.
- Be prepared for the possibility that the whole thing might be a bit of an anti-climax, and it won’t end up being the drama you might suspect it will be.
Here is a link to a coming out guide written by our Campaigns Officer, Elijah – http://durhamlgbta.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/comingoutguide.pdf