Coming Out of the Closet: 15 Steps to Open a New Life Door
Coming out of the closet takes the courage that not many people have. Hold your head high, be honest, and be you. Your new life is about to start.
I don’t know if I have any business broaching this subject, primarily because I haven’t ever been in your shoes. I know there is an abundance of features out there written by people who went through the hardships of coming out of the closet. But I am someone who is on the outside, with six children, and am a third-party objective player.
Sometimes I wonder what I would do if any of my children came out of the closet. As a mother, the only thing I want for my children is for them to find happiness. I know being gay isn’t easy in society, but it also isn’t nearly as difficult to be you as it was just two short decades ago. There is no reason to hide who you are anymore. People who love you will always love you.
Follow your heart
If I know one thing in life, it is that when we do what is in our heart, follow our own moral compass, or do what we feel we have to, there is always going to be someone who isn’t going to like it. You, being honest about who you are and what you want, isn’t going to be easy for everyone. But, that is true of not just being gay, straight, or bisexual.
Everything from working as a musician instead of being a doctor, being an artist instead of putting on your three-piece suit to hit the office, disappoints anyone with other plans for you.
If you want to live a genuine life full of life, love, and laughter, allow yourself to be who you are. After all, like I always say, if you are okay with you, then fuck anyone who isn’t. [Read: How to be comfortable in your own skin – 20 ways to love being you]
15 ways to ease yourself out of the closet
Perhaps the best way to come out of the closet is to keep one thing in mind. You might have known who you are and what you felt inside for years, maybe for as long as you can remember, but other people in your life might not have a clue.
When coming out of the closet, let people around you come to terms with the new you slowly and in their own time.
#1 Choose the right time. There is a right and a wrong time to come out of the closet. There might be a day when you have an epiphany that life is too short. You are just going to let the cat out of the bag, but coming out of the closet is something to plan for and consider the right time to do.
Waiting one more day, or even a week, to make sure you prepare for the fallout that could ensue, or to let some dust settle if things are out of control, is the best way to make it go over better and be less emotion-laden. [Read: The perks and un-perks of coming out of the closet]
#2 Choose the right situation. Some situations beg for you to come out of the closet and others that beg for you not to. Don’t hijack someone else’s event by making it all about you. Sure, you want to make a statement, but doing it at the expense of someone else isn’t really fair.
If you want to bring your new boy/girlfriend to your cousin’s wedding, then finding the right time before the event is better. You don’t want to show up for your reveal and upset the big day for your cousin.
#3 Single out people instead of making a big announcement. Letting everyone know at once cuts down on the rumor mill and gets it all out there without the hassle. But, if there are people who you have an obligation to tell ahead of time to give them time to process, then do that.
There is a respect factor involved. If there is someone important in your life, take the time to tell them in person, one-on-one, so they deal with it on their own time and in their own way. [Read: How to set boundaries: 10 crucial steps to feel more in control]
#4 If someone is upset, it is on them. Remember if you come out of the closet, you are out and you won’t wish you kept it hidden any longer. If someone has a problem with your lifestyle, that is on them.
There are likely going to be some people who aren’t happy; you know that, but they aren’t your problem. If you are okay with your own decisions, then be alright. Let them work through it, or not, it isn’t your fault or problem.
#5 Be honest. There might be questions that come from your coming out of the closet. Don’t take offense, you have known about it for a while, those who didn’t know, just found out.
If you are honest about how you feel, how you have always felt, when it started, and how long you have known, it eases any guilt others might harbor. Just be as honest as possible to make things go well. [Read: How to not give a fuck: Your guide to less fucks and more laughs]
#6 Speak from the heart. Telling people that you are gay is one of the hardest things in the world. But, if you speak from the heart, and speak directly to theirs, they quickly realize your happiness is what is important and see you have hidden who you are and that it isn’t fair. That brings acceptance more quickly.
#7 Don’t be afraid. Easier said than done. I know. There is nothing worse than feeling like you can lose significant people in your life if they don’t approve. If they can’t accept who you are, then they aren’t providing you with unconditional love. You are worthy of nothing less.
If someone decides they aren’t okay with it and aren’t going to accept it, then you are better off without them in your life. No matter how hard that might be. [Read: Am I bisexual or lesbian? How to understand the differences yourself]
#8 There is an order you should follow. Think about how the rumor mill is going to follow and go with the heavy hitters first. Often, we prolong the hard things longer, which when coming out of the closet, might come back to bite you.
Tell those who will be the toughest the soonest. Think of it this way, once they know, the rest is just cake.
#9 Answer questions if necessary instead of clamming up. There are going to be a lot of questions. Show people that it isn’t just a phase or something you are experimenting with by answering all the questions they have.
There are going to be people who refuse to accept that you are in your right mind or that you even know how you feel yourself. If you answer their questions without pause and with conviction, then they have an easier time accepting the truth. [Read: Biromantic vs. bisexual – How to understand who you really are]
#10 Allow them time to process. Once you tell them, give them time to process. They might avoid you for a time, as they come to terms with what you shared. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are angry or not accepting, sometimes people just need time alone to process.
To parents, it sometimes feels like a loss. Give them the space and time they need without getting in their face. Let them come to you.
#11 Don’t apologize. Don’t ever apologize for being you or feeling the way you do. Being gay isn’t a life choice, it is who you are. You have NO reason to be sorry for being who you are.
You were perfectly made the way that you are, and you owe NO ONE an apology. Although tempting to say, “I’m sorry,” you shouldn’t, and you shouldn’t be. [Read: Am I a lesbian? 20 clues to know the truth without asking around]
#12 If they are upset and choose not to respond then you have to walk away. If someone can’t accept you, then you can’t continue to hide it for their benefit or go with their request to just keep it under wraps when in their presence.
Sure, out of respect, if your parents aren’t accepting of it, then you can try to be a bit discreet *although I think that should go for heterosexual couples out of respect too*. Just lay off the PDA. But, if someone asks you to put yourself back in the closet once in a while, then walk away for your own self-esteem.
#13 Don’t let them find out through social media. If you have not told the people in your life about coming out of the closet then don’t post things to social media that will shock or hurt them. They should be the first to know, and they likely don’t want to be the last! [Read: Social media and relationships: The good, the bad, the ugly]
#14 Explain that it has nothing to do with anyone but you. As a parent, I would go through the list of things that I could have done wrong or modeling that was inappropriate to find out why you have the feelings you do.
If you tell those who feel responsible that they haven’t done anything, you were born gay, it lets them off the hook and disallows them from feeling any remorse or guilt that they did something to make your life harder than they hoped for you.
#15 Don’t take their reaction to heart. You are likely going to get some reactions that aren’t exactly positive. Try to separate yourself from it. They are shocked, reacting without thinking, and aren’t trying to hurt your feelings. They are just trying to come to terms with you coming out of the closet.
Give people time to process and make sure to tell people most important to you first, so they don’t find out secondhand. In the end, those who love you, love you and want you to be happy.
So, hold your head high, be honest, and remember it isn’t your responsibility to make others happy, you have to be you, coming out of the closet or whatever else.