March 26, 2021
Low Entropy Volunteer Writer Justin Singh presents a primer on coming out, with resources to help us understand this important milestone in the lives of many LGBTQ2+ individuals.
‘Coming out’ marks a shift in the lives of many people in the LGBTQ2+ community. It’s the moment in time when a member in the community shares their true gender identity or sexuality with a world where cis heterosexuality is commonly viewed as the norm. Coming out is by no means an easy task. With it can come potential hardships that can range from minor to extremely severe.
Why do people come out? Here are a few reasons:
- They feel the life they are living is a lie, and they want to stop keeping secrets from the ones they love
- They want to express themselves freely
- They are ready to go public with their dating life and/or include their partners in their everyday lives
- They want people to stop discriminating against them, and be more vocal about the injustices towards the LGBTQ2+ community
- They want to inspire future generations of the community, and one day make being a part of the LGBTQ2+ community more widely accepted
There could also be many reasons why people decide to delay or avoid coming out altogether:
- Fear of rejection from their loved ones
- They are young and dependent on their family, and they are unsure of whether they will have the same sense of stability after coming out
- They live in a country were the lives of the LGBTQ2+ community are threatened due to the laws of the country
- They are not sure of their true identity just yet
- They are simply not ready to come out
If you are thinking of coming out and unsure how to go about it, there are many resources you can find online that can help you on your journey to self-discovery. Here are just a few of many:
The Human Rights Campaign: https://www.hrc.org/resources/coming-out
This page has pamphlets available for download to assist on coming out within your personal and professional life.
A resource dedicated to teenagers and students who are just exploring their sexuality and feel like they’re ready to take the steps to come out.
An organization that began as a hotline for crisis intervention and suicide prevention for those in the LGBTQ2+ community. They provide resources that can help any young LGBTQ2+ individual through the most confusing and difficult aspects of their life.
It doesn’t end there though. When you’re thinking of coming out, you could also reach out to people you already know in the LGBTQ2+ community for advice, or reach out to someone online. The internet allows for anonymity, which keeps you safe from being accidentally outed. There is also the possibility of starting your coming out journey with a trusted family member, friend or loved one, whether they are a part of the community or not.
Being an LGBTQ2+ ally is also an important role. You can be a support figure in the lives of those who are going through many twists and turns behind the scenes of coming out that you may not be aware of. When supporting someone who is attempting to come out, never out them yourself, to absolutely anyone. It’s important that the person coming out does so on their own terms. If you are an ally, ensure that you are there for support, guidance when specifically asked for, and most importantly, use your platform to amplify their voice!
In addition to those in our lives, it’s possible to find inspiration in books, television, and movies. LGBTQ2+ characters have been marginalized in mainstream media for many decades. Nowadays, stories of LGBTQ2+ experiences are finally getting the limelight they deserve. Here’s a short list of stories from different mediums that you can check out that explore coming out:
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson: A story about two transgender teens who meet and navigate their coming out together, in difficult social circumstances.
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: The story of Simon Spier, whose emails with another closeted gay classmate are used to blackmail him, forcing him to come out. This novel was made into a film adaptation called Love, Simon (2019).
Boy Erased (2018): A film about a boy who is outed as gay to his parents and forced to survive gay conversion therapy.
The Prom (2016): A musical about a group of washed-up Broadway stars who travel to Indiana to help a lesbian student who is banned from bringing her closeted girlfriend to the prom. The Prom was turned into a Netflix film, released in late 2020.
Despite the many resources available, coming out is ultimately a personal decision. Take time to research and think about when it’s time and what the right decision is for you.
If you’re comfortable sharing your story about coming out with a supportive, positive community, we’d love to hear it! Check out one of our Low Entropy meetings, or speak your truth in a comment below.
At Low Entropy, we believe changing the world starts with changing ourselves.
Founded in 2015, Low Entropy Facilitates conversations that encourage diversity and promote inclusivity.
We understand that life can be confusing at times. It can seem challenging and sometimes you may feel like no one really “gets you.” We offer an opportunity to connect with others who have the capacity to understand you.