Coming out tips
Come out first to someone you know will be supportive
For some people, coming out can be pretty scary! If you know someone who you know is really supportive and pro-LGBT+, then coming out to them is probably a good place to start. If your first coming out experience is a good one, it can give you confidence in your identity.
Tell people your pronouns
Let people who which pronouns you’d like to be referred to by. People who aren’t LGBT+ themselves or who don’t have much knowledge around gender identity might not know the importance of pronouns, or know there are neutral options. Expect people to make mistakes, but try not to let it get to you and politely correct them.
Think about what to say to people who may not understand what it means to be LGBT+
Some people don’t understand much about sexuality and gender identity, so coming out as non-binary or pansexual might result in a bit of confusion for some friends or family members. If you have a bit of information about your sexuality or gender identity, like a leaflet or an online resource, share it with them to help educate them. It will help them understand who you are and why it’s important for you to come out and be yourself.
(Download our gender identity guide for parents and carers here)
Be conscious what you put on social media
Once you put something online, it’s out there for everyone to see. Even if you’re not friends with someone online, people can screenshot your posts and send to their friends, or your privacy settings may allow people who aren’t friends with you to see your posts. If want everyone to know your sexuality or gender identity then go ahead and post it proudly! If there are certain people you might not want to know yet, it’s worth keeping it offline.
Think if there is anything friends/family can do to support you
Don’t forget about yourself! Coming out can be tiring and emotional, so if your friends/family can support you make sure you ask for help. If you’d like your mum to tell your Auntie Linda to stop saying “Oooh he’ll have his pick of all the girls when he’s older” because you are very much gay, then tell her! If you’re worried that people might say something at school or college, speak to your friends and let them know how you’re feeling and they can help to support you.
Look for local LGBT+ groups
See if there are any local LGBT+ groups, like Galaxy Youth, our Men's Group or the other groups listed on our Useful Links page, that you can attend. You can meet other LGBT+ people there who have already come out and might be able to share some good tips with you. Workers at LGBT+ groups are great people to talk to for advice on coming out too.
Only come out if you feel safe to do so
It’s important to only come out if you feel safe to do so. Luckily, most people in the UK are really accepting of LGBT+ people, but unfortunately this can’t be said for everyone. Coming out is so important to living your life as your true self, but your safety is also very important. If there is anyone who you feel poses a risk to your safety you can speak to your school nurse, STAR worker, teacher, or a member of staff at Galaxy who may be able to help you.
…and don’t forget, coming out is a continuous thing
The first time you come out can be really special and you’ll probably always remember it, but coming out never really stops! Maybe in years to come people won’t need to come out, but for now, there will be many occasions where you will come out. If you’re a lesbian you might be asked by your GP what birth control method they’re on if you’re sexually active, or work colleagues might ask you if you have a girlfriend when you’re a gay guy. It can be frustrating but you’ll get used to it and every time you come out you’re challenging assumptions, which those people might not make again. Keep your head held high and be your amazing self!