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How to Come Out to Your Family and Friends

Updated on February 26, 2017
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Rosalie is an experienced relationship adviser who dedicates a great deal of time to writing about common complications in relationships.

So, you figured out you're LGBT. Congratulations! Now what?

Coming out to your family and friends can seem intimidating and can cause a lot of stress and anxiety- simply because you're afraid of their reactions. It's understandable to want to hide in the closet forever, but it really isn't a logical decision.

Assessing the Situation

Typically, before you come out you're going to want to figure out whether your family members and friends will accept you before you actually tell them. Try asking their opinions on certain LGBT people, asking about their political and/or religious views, and asking them how they feel about various protection laws and marital laws. If their responses on any of these topics are negative, you might want to wait to come out to them or try to "butter them up" a bit first.

Figuring Out When

It's always a good idea to have a specific time planned for when you're going to drop the bomb. Try not to just blurt it out while something important is happening or when you know they're going through a time of emotional distress. To figure out when the "right time" is, think about a time when you'll be comfortable and confident enough to tell them without any awkwardness.

Specific Ways

There are different methods of coming out depending on what kind of a person you are. If you like joking around and aren't into the whole face-to-face serious talk, then here are some lighthearted ways to come out to your friends and family members:

  • Make them a cake with the gay/bisexual/trans/etc. flag drawn on top.
  • Create t-shirts for them that say things like "Proud parent of an LGBT child" or "I have a gay best friend"
  • Come into the room painted up like you're going to a sports game, except instead of team colors, paint yourself rainbow.
  • Introduce them to your same-sex partner and then distract them immediately.
  • Dress like Freddie Mercury all night and all day, every day of every week.
  • Write them a poem. (ex. Roses are red, so is cherry pie, hey mom and dad, I'm actually a guy.)
  • When you enter a room, walk in zigzag lines and say "I can't walk straight, coincidentally I am also not straight."
  • If someone calls you gay, say something back such as "thank you for recognizing my homosexuality."

If you would prefer more serious and personal methods of coming out, try these:

  • Invite them out to dinner (or better yet make them a homemade dinner) and while they are enjoying the food, explain that you have something important to tell them. Announce that you are LGBT, but try not to do this when they have a mouth full of food/water as they may choke.
  • Write them a heartfelt note explaining that you are LGBT and how you figured it out, followed by why you wanted to tell them.
  • Ask them if they would accept you if you were LGBT, and then explain that you are and you were nervous as to how they would react.
  • Give them a speech (written or improvised) about how you knew when you were young that you were different, etc.

Just Remember...

When you figure out you're LGBT, don't expect the world to transition with you. There will be people who will love and support you no matter what, and there will be people who don't. Remember that it may take time for them to get used to, and that not everyone is going to get used to it. You may come out as a trans girl in 2017 and in 2020 some people may still call you the wrong pronoun. Change is hard for some people and easy for others. Do not upset yourself over small things, because in the end, all that matters is if you are comfortable with yourself and if you are happy.

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      Big M 8 months ago

      Awesome article! Thanks for your insight.