by Sydney Howard, MEd,LAPC
Coming out can be a scary process, I know it was for me. First of all, I was outed by a “friend” but that is a whole other conversation.
I have compiled a list of things that I wish I knew before coming out. Things that would ease any anxiety I had and things that would prepare me for what was to come. The list continues to grow as I continue to go through life but here’s what I got so far.
I’m going to start with some of the not so great things that I wish I knew so we can end on a positive note.
I Wish I Knew…
- Parts of my family would put conditions on accepting me.
- I would lose friends.
- I would not always feel safe being in public.
- My eyes would be opened to so much hate that I had been blind to before.
- People would start sexualizing me just based on who I date.
- My style and the way I look is considered a privilege when it comes to my safety in public because people don’t ever assume I am gay.
- People would try to change my mind and convince me that I’m wrong, about who I AM.
- People who have known me for years or my whole life even would look at me differently just because of who I love.
- People are going to choose to make other people comfortable in their homophobia rather than stick up for me because it’s easier.
- When I choose to cut off toxic family members, I’ll feel better, but it is possible that no one else is going to change their life and their comfortability, and that will hurt.
Now some positives based on my experience, I wish I knew…
- I was going to have some amazing support even if it wasn’t 100% of the people in my life at the time.
- People were going to pleasantly surprise me.
- My life would change in a good way.
- Some people don’t even have to come out to their families because their particular situation or environment is already safe and inclusive.
I would have 0 regrets.
- The words people called me in high school that embarrassed me so much like “gay” and “lesbian” would not be embarrassing anymore but eventually empowering and full of pride.
- I would know myself better and love myself even more.
- I would make some amazing connections with new people who understood me and accepted me.
- A lot of people blindly follow what they have been taught their whole life and have never known how to think for themselves.
- There are parents out there that DON’T teach their kids hate and those kids see no difference between gay couples vs straight couples.
- Not to waste any time on people who don’t accept me for who I am, it will improve your mental health greatly.
The truth is coming out is an unpredictable experience but only based on other people’s reactions. When you decide to “come out” you have already come to terms with yourself, with who you are and that should be all that matters. The scary part of coming out is the concern about other people and what they will think, what they will do, how they will treat us.
In a perfect world, everyone will realize that the only person’s sexuality they should have an opinion about is their own. We aren’t there yet in society but until then, know that you aren’t alone and be proud to be who you are, and know that I support you.
If this is a part of your life you’d like some guidance healing from or be better prepared for, schedule an appointment with me by calling 470-736-9595 or emailing us at [email protected].
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