Closet Departure

Coming out: it’s something that plagues LGBTQ+ minds everywhere. The process of coming out is a difficult one and the time it takes can vary from years to days. When coming out, there are many things to take into consideration: when to do it, how to do it, who to tell and what are the consequences.

All processes start somewhere and coming out is not any different. It starts with the recognition and acceptance of the fact that you are or might be LGBTQ+. However, doing so might be hard, as (despite an increase in societal acceptance) being LGBTQ+ does not fit the criteria of ‘normal’ that society teaches us. Due to this, it is normal to feel afraid, confused, excluded and alone. The speed at which self-acceptance occurs depends on the person, with some realizing early on and others not realizing until later on in life. This step is the most important because if you can’t be open with yourself, how can you be open with other people?

This then leads onto the next step: telling those close to you. This task might seem daunting as you never know how someone will react; whether they’ll accept you or not. This is always a risk when coming out, but do not let this scare you; there will be people that will accept you for who you are. When coming out to people, you must take the situation and the person’s personality into account. For example, do not come out to people you do not feel safe around either due to their words or actions. Try to think realistically on how people will react if you tell them. Find an appropriate time to come, preferably a time where you are comfortable and stable. Additionally, do not let anyone force you out; coming out is something personal and that you should be in control of – deciding how, when and who you come out to.

Life even without other factors is complicated enough and being LGBTQ+ is something that can further complicate it. Fear is commonplace throughout the process and is only reinforced by the things we hear in the media: the attacks, the killings and the suicides. We as a community and individuals are in the optimal position to challenge homophobic behaviour and laws; and – with the privilege and advantages we have – are obliged to do for those who can’t and are in worst positions than us.