Coming out about your sexuality | Advice for Young People | Jigsaw

Coming out about your sexuality

Coming out about your sexuality

Sunday, 19 July 2020

Whether it’s your first time coming out, or your hundredth, it can be both a daunting and liberating time.

Coming out begins with coming out to ourselves. We need to allow time to explore and discover who we are physically, romantically and sexually attracted to. Here are some tips that can be helpful to remember.

Close up of a painted rainbow

Come out in your own time

Coming out is a process. Whether you come out to family, friends, work colleagues or teammates, no one knows better than you the right time to tell people. Where possible, try to find a time that suits and an environment where you feel comfortable.

Select friends or family that you trust and are open with to come out to first.

Be selective

You know those around you best! Select friends or family you trust and are open with to come out to first. Let them know whether you are comfortable with them sharing this with others or not.

Other people’s responses don’t define you

Coming out is a two way process. There will naturally be a response from those you are coming out to. This may be positive, challenging or indifferent. Keep in mind that other’s response do not define you. Remember, some people may take a while to adjust to what you have said.

You may have had time to process your own coming out story before telling others. Some people may be surprised or unsure what to say. Give people time to digest and adjust. If you feel comfortable, come back to them once they’ve had time to take it in.

School, college, club or work, every environment has its own unique culture. If this culture is not as accepting as you would have hoped, remember your rights and your worth.

person holding a small rainbow heart

Say it out loud

It might be helpful to practice saying the words in front of a mirror initially. Sometimes people can struggle to actually say the words gay or lesbian out loud, so it can be helpful to hear it yourself first.

It’s a journey

Coming out is a journey that at times may feel overwhelming and worrying. Other times it makes you want to shout it from the roof tops. It’s a journey that begins with you and is not always linear. Take your time. Enjoy the process of discovering and connecting with who you are and who it is that you want to be with. Own your narrative and take each step as it feels comfortable.

Coming out can be emotional. It can bring up feelings and thoughts that can be overwhelming

Reach out

Coming out can be emotional. It can bring up feelings and thoughts that can be overwhelming. Reach out for support. This could be with friends, family or with a professional mental health service. There are many supports available to you within the LGBTQIA+ community. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the letters yet, here’s a guide to terminology. Don’t stress about the labels, unless this is something that feels important to you.

Stay safe

In the excitement of it all, be aware of your wellbeing and safety when you’re coming out. Remember, we all have the right to bodily autonomy. Consent is key and harassment of any form is never acceptable. If you feel threatened or intimidated, contact your local gardaí or at the very least reach out for support from those around you.

Be proud

Coming out is not an easy task. It takes time, patience and a lot of self-love. Remember that your sexuality does not define you. Be proud of who you are as a person and the journey you have come to date.

Getting support

BeLonG To Youth Services is the national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland.

The LGBT Helpline offers listening, support and information to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, their family and friends, and to those who are questioning if they might be LGBT. The helpline is 1890 929 539.

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