How do I come out of the closet?
Coming out of the closet isn’t going to be easy — but it’s certainly not impossible. If nothing else, these suggestions will make it a little less scary.
Unfortunately, there’s no guidebook on how to come out of the closet. Everyone’s journey is different, which means that how you come out is entirely up to you.
But that’s not very helpful, and what good would The Lesbian Blog be if it didn’t provide at least a few general suggestions in the coming out department? When we started this blog, we talked and talked and talked about what we wanted it to become. We agreed wholeheartedly that we wanted to provide answers to some of the common questions that lesbians have, and this is undoubtedly one of the big ones. So, without further ado, here’s some advice to anyone out there struggling with how to come out of the closet.
1. Admit that it’s not going to be easy.
It might not be a bloodbath, but coming out certainly isn’t going to be a walk in the park. When I came out to my mom (who is the most supportive woman I’ve ever met), it was a struggle. I knew she’d take it extremely well, but that didn’t make it any less challenging for me. Because, the truth of the matter is, when you announce to people you love that you’ve been harboring a big secret, it comes with a lot of emotion. You’ll feel relieved and terrified and clumsy and hysterical and countless other sentiments all at once, and that’s bound to take a toll on your system. The sooner you accept that, the better equipped you’ll be to handle the situation.
2. Choose the right time (hint: it’s never)
You can strategize all you want, but there’s never going to be an opportune time to come out. Life will get in the way, and it won’t happen as planned – so stop pretending life is ideal and expect the unexpected. When I told my mom I was dating a woman, we were in a pickup truck in the middle of Pennsylvania. I knew that breaking the news would throw a major wrench in our road trip, but I knew it couldn’t wait until we got home, so I just went for it. And you know what? It wasn’t perfect, but it was fine. At the end of the day, circumstances matter far less than courage and confidence.
3. Tell the right people first
There are a few ways you can approach this. A) you can do a test run and tell someone you don’t care all that much about. Find a stranger or an acquaintance and just practice saying those words: I’m gay. Or; B) you can tell someone you love the most in this world. Telling someone close to you has its benefits – you’ll feel comfortable and safe and, hopefully, they’ll respond with nothing but support. But telling someone you love first is also chancy. If they don’t react well, it’ll leave you severely wounded. It’s up to you to weigh the risk.
4. Just do it
I’ve known people who have waited decades before coming out of the closet… and sometimes that’s how it has to be. But I can only imagine that the weight of this ginormous secret would be absolutely crushing, so my advice is this: just do it. Easier said than done, of course. Although holding it in isn’t easy either, is it? Put on your big girl panties, thank the universe that you live in the 21st century, and set yourself free.