Who Should I Come out to First?
A teen writes:
“I’m 15 and a while ago noticed an attraction to other guys at my school. It’s been a while and these feelings are still there. I haven’t told anyone about this. So I decided it was time for me to come out, only I don’t know how to. And who do I come out to first? Friend, sibling, parent? I have no idea what I should do.”
The question of who to come out to first is a big one for gay and lesbian teens, but really there is no one order in which a person should come out. Ultimately, the person you should come out to first is the one you think will be most supportive. As another teen advises,
“Mostly, it depends on who you think will take it the best. The one thing you do NOT want is for the first person you come out to to not take it well. A lot of people test the waters by telling friends before they move on to family. So, it really is your choice. Find someone who you know will be accepting and understanding. You want your first experience of coming out to be a positive one, or else, it’s a set up for something that’s not good for your mental state.”
But what if you just don’t have any idea who will be the most accepting? One thing to do is to try and gauge how the person feels. You may know how the people in your life view GLBT issues, but you may not. If you don’t, you might want to try to get a better sense.
How to Do It
1) Have a “feeler” conversation. Here are some sentence starters that can help you do so:
- “I was watching ________ movie, and the main character came out to his mom.”
- “So what do you think about these gay marriage bans?”
- “Some kids at school started a Gay / Straight Alliance. I was thinking about joining.”
2) Decide whether or not you still want to come out after the “feeler” conversation. If you choose to come out you have a few options:
- Just say it. “Mom, dad, I’m gay.”
- Ease in. “Jim, I’ve been having feelings for other girls recently.”
- Ask a question. “Aunt Flo, what would you say if I told you I was bisexual?”
There’s no one way to come out that will work for everyone. But there are some ways to come out that seem to work better than others!