So now you’ve been incredibly brave and come out to perhaps your close friends and family. What next?
Coming out to extended family/ family friends. You’re not doing anything wrong by not coming out to every single person you’ve ever met. You don’t have to announce it over Facebook! (Although if you want to that’s totally cool!) So don’t feel pressurised to come out to people you’re not close to or extended family you suspect won’t be supportive. You’re not being a bad gay, it’s just about doing whatever you’re most comfortable with!
Family. If your family haven’t been supportive, don’t despair. Of course it will still be difficult, when your sexuality is ignored and disregarded, and you have to censor your language when your parents are around (and keep your phone strapped to your body at all times!) You will gain your own LGBT family. It will evolve in ways you couldn’t have imagined. I’ve been very lucky to have such amazing, sweet and strong friends who have supported me all the way. There’s bound to be someone you know who is gay (or a straight ally) who will be there to offer support, or even just to chat about the L word with! You can still live a happy, free and fulfilled life without your parent’s acceptance – if anything it makes you stronger and more independent. Maybe your parents will come round – they often do- and maybe they won’t, but you have to make the most of YOUR life.
Girls! Ok so now you’re out and proud, you probably can’t wait to meet more lesbians! Pride is the main event for LGBT teens, as it is fabulously all ages, and you will easily get talking to new people. I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere at my first pride, so many people all there to have a good time and celebrate who we are! It was so comforting to meet young people like me, and to go home with a rainbow on my arm and a cute future girlfriend on my mind. Obviously the gay bars and clubs in Soho are the place to head (if you’re of age of course!). It is hard when you’re younger and you think the only opportunity you’ll have to meet someone is pride, which is once a year. But never fear! If you manage to get in there first by coming out at school, all the closeted lesbians will flock to you I promise 😉
Dating. You are probably bound to embark upon a rollercoaster love life, with many wild tales that you only feel brave enough to share when you’re a little inebriated! Have fun, be safe, and if you cannot let your parents know where you are all the time then always make sure a friend knows. Do what works for you in terms of how separate your home life and dating life is.
Straight people. Some people think because you’re out now, that you’ll be comfortable answering all their questions. Some people think that because you’re comfortable talking about being gay, then you’ll be comfortable enlightening them on the WONDERS AND MYSTERIES OF LESBIAN SEX. Ladies, that is not your job. Tell them to use their imagination or the internet.
School. Coming out at school is scary, because you may have spent years desperately doing everything to prevent people from ‘suspecting’ you might be gay, and now you’re finally coming out, you’re scared of people’s reactions. People will always talk. In all girls’ schools especially news really does spread like wildfire. It’s only because your life’s more interesting than theirs. You have to try to not care what they think if it bothers you, if they have a problem with it, it is THEIR problem. I found that being open and honest was the way to acceptance. People (mostly) will have grown out of their misinformed prejudices they had when they were younger. Here’s a little Gay tale: Once in a German lesson, we had to write about ‘Meine idealer partnerin’ and I used a mixture of female and male pronouns throughout by accident. I hadn’t meant to come out to my German teacher, I had just done the homework hastily and wasn’t thinking (or maybe I just didn’t know how to use German pronouns properly). The next day she marked it with me, and asked me if I meant to use female pronouns. I freaked out, froze, didn’t say anything. After a painfully long (and obvious) silence, with a face on fire, I said ‘no!’ and she said, ‘it’s fine if you did you know’ and I said ‘no, no!’ so she said ok, and crossed them out and changed them to male pronouns. And I felt like such an idiot. I had panicked and didn’t know what to do. Being able to talk about being gay with people at school is a process, it takes time to be entirely confident with being open sometimes. I think Coming Out teaches you a lot of things. It teaches you how to love yourself again after fearing your identity for so long. Being different and not doing the same things everyone else is doing is OK. Life is more interesting and fun off the straight and narrow!
LGBTQ Community. Gay people are so fabulous! Make a difference to your community. The best feeling is when someone tells you you inspired them to come out. I choose to be a visible minority. I think it’s important, so that people don’t feel alone, and so LGBT people don’t continue to be ignored. Maybe you don’t think you have the strength for that now, but you could. Your teenage years should be spent having fun, not hiding in shame. Helping someone out in any small way can make such a difference. Some people just want someone to talk to about Orange is the New Black with or ask for relationship advice! Giving that can help them feel less isolated.
Be however ‘out’ you want to be, and start living your life! Being gay isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely a lot more fun 😉
#GayIsOkay #Lesbian #Gay #HappyOut #ComingOut #Out #LGBT #Queer #LGBTQ