Thinking about COMING OUT to play?
No one said it was going to be easy… (though it’s certainly a lot easier now than it’s ever been) and you will probably always encounter some difficulties (usually due to the ignorance of others) but with the correct information and support, ‘coming out’ and learning to feel happy with who you are needn’t be too traumatic.
It doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s different for everybody. Whether you’re 15 or 50, you’ll be ‘coming out’ to every new person you meet throughout your life – but only if you choose to. It might sound silly, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.
…the important thing to remember is that coming out is a ‘process’…
Channel 4 – A video vox pop (originally filmed for the Channel 4 website) featuring weekly group member Guy – taking about coming out, accessing support and joining OutZone for the first time.
Below you will find our top 10 tips to help with YOUR ‘coming out experience… (These tips were produced by our current service users and peer mentors).
1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! – Its a fact… every single gay or bi person (and at the last count that was about 1 in 7) will consider moving through at least one of the stages of ‘coming out’ at some point in their lives. It may seem like it sometimes, but you are truly not alone in this experience…
2. TAKE YOUR TIME – Despite maybe more pressure from society and our peers than ever the choice of when, where and who to ‘come out’ to should be your decision only. Its your life that’s going to be affected…dont rush into anything until you’re sure
3. DON’T FEEL AS IF YOU NEED TO CONFORM TO STEREOTYPES – ‘Coming out’ is admitting your sexuality is different to that of the majority, it can be as simple as that. Unless there’s always been a potential screaming gym bunny or gruff cuddly bear deep inside you, why change now??
4. BE YOURSELF – Your individual characteristics are going to be the factors that get you through this process. You may also change beyond recognition once you’ve ‘come out’ . Whatever happens, stay true to what YOU want to be and you’ll hold the respect of those around you.
5. MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY – Sounds silly but are you really ready for this?? No, REALLY READY? Ask yourself if you truly love who you are, warts and all! Having doubts can place obstacles in the way of your happiness.
6. BE COMFORTABLE WITH THE PERSON YOU’RE TELLING – How well do you know this person? What makes you think that ‘this is the one’? Rationally going over your reasons for choosing the first people you tell may ensure the difference between a nightmare and a happy ever after…
7. BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR CONVERSATION – Great one this….It can be the strangest feeling hearing yourself talk for the first time to someone about your sexuality. Think about how you’re going to word it, talk it over in your mind but not too much! Have you ever heard yourself say ‘I’m gay’?
8. GET SUPPORT – Sounds silly yes? You’d be amazed at how many people don’t think about getting support at this time. Friends and professional groups who have bags of experience at this game can be so valuable now and you wont have to pay a penny!
9. AVOID PEOPLE WHO WILL ‘OUT’ YOU – This special time is your time only and it should be kept that way under all circumstances…. NOBODY has the right to ‘out’ you to anyone. People who do this have obviously forgotten what its like to be in this position. Avoid them like the plague!
10. DON’T FEEL AS THOUGH YOUR SEXUALITY IS WRONG! – Coming out can be one of the most liberating times of your whole life. Think about what it means to you to be gay or bi. Are you secretly ashamed or embarrassed? If you are then this may come across to the people you tell and your liberating moment may turn into a sour experience. ‘Coming out’ to yourself is the first stage in the process. (See right ‘Stages to coming out’).
Remember: Your sexuality is just one part of what makes you who you are! Exploring what and where you think your place is in this world can have massive effects on your self confidence…
For help & support with the coming out process, you know who to contact – GOOD LUCK!