How Coming Out Is Done
Not everyone comes out the same way or at the same time, nor is everybody’s coming out story the same. Coming out is a process that LGBT people go through in order to accept their sexuality (or gender) and share it with the world. Since everyone is different, you can imagine how many ways this can go.
Whatever happens, going public about your sexuality is an important step because people that are coming out of the closet have a chance to become who they truly are. For some of them, this is a lifelong journey.
Times also change. In the 1950s, for example, coming out meant acknowledging your sexuality in a quiet way. Today, it means being honest with the whole world.
You Don’t Need to Prove That You Are Gay
Coming out as LGBT has nothing to do with proving that you are gay, just like straight people don’t have to prove their sexuality to anyone. You are attracted to the same sex and that is it. There is no need to philosophize.
Yes, people go through the journey of self-discovery in order to accept themselves as who they are, so the only one who needs “convincing” is them. And that is because people can get confused at the beginning. They often ask themselves, “Am I really gay, or is this something else?”
Still, there are different versions of attractions. You can be romantically attracted to men, but sexually attracted to both sexes, for example. And that is also fine. You don’t have to “look gay” or dress or behave stereotypically. It’s enough that you know who you are and are comfortable with that. That is all you have to do to be a part of a gay community.
Gays Have Gay Radar
Have you heard of gaydar? This is a very useful instinct to have if you are gay because it helps you sort out the straight ones from the gays and avoid a possible awkward situation.
After years of being gay, you learn a thing or two and develop some sort of instinct that helps you in a long run to find a partner. Based on many types of research, there are some universal signs you can look for in people:
- Gay men use more the lower part of the arm, from the elbows to the hands, while it’s vice versa for straight men
- Gay men usually sit more straight, while straight men more slouch
- The overall dressing up is associated more with gay guys
Of course, these signs can be considered stereotypes because there are many different types of people, but one thing is sure — the gaydar is real.
Being Gay Isn’t a Big Deal Anymore
Of course, coming out of the closet is always a big deal to that person and their friends and family. However, we are lucky enough to live in this day and age where people are more accepting of one’s identity and sexual orientation. When people hear about your preferences, it’s just not as big a deal as it was back in the day.
We are not saying that everything will accept and understand your lifestyle and sexuality, but the number of people who will is much higher. And you, straight people: it doesn’t matter how open-minded you are and think that someone’s sexuality is not a big deal. You should still be respectful. Just because it’s not a big deal for you to hear that, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t for the one who came out to you.
Labels Aren’t a Thing
If anyone knows what it’s like to be an outcast and not accepted, the gays do. They have gone through a lot in the past (and still do). That is probably why the LGBTQ+ community was created to make everyone feel welcome, without the need to explain themselves.
In this community, labels are but don’t have to be a thing. Gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. if you are not feeling like putting a label on yourself, that is completely fine. You are still a member of a wonderful community.
If you are not ready for people to know that you are, say, transgender, then you can wait until you are. No one will judge you or expect from you anything more than you are willing to give in the moment.
Sexual orientation is a very important part of one’s identity, so when someone doesn’t want to be labelled in any way, people should respect that.
You Are Not Alone
Coming out is not easy. It starts with realizing who you are, accepting it, and then announcing it to the “world” of your choosing. Whether that is a close group of people or basically everyone, that decision is up to you.
But the fear, confusion, the anxiety about how people will react, and the fear that they will cast you aside is real. It is important to remember that you are not alone, though. There are numerous outreach programs that are there to guide you. Also, it is comforting to know that many people went through the same thing as you do (or are going now).
You should never do the things you are not ready for, and that includes coming out of the closet as well. It should be something that you want to do because you are mentally in that place, not something you need to do because of some pressure.