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Coming Out

Coming Out

Perhaps you’ve known all your life, or you’re just now having doubts and questions about whether you might be LGBTQ. Both of these are perfectly valid states of being, and they both lead to the continual process of coming out.
Coming out, especially choosing when and how to do so, is a very personal decision. It begins by looking within yourself. It’s normal to feel confused at the beginning, unsure of what your thoughts and inner questions might mean.

With the second stage, you might feel isolated, you may believe that you are “the only one.” Worrying about social alienation is common, as you might worry about what you will lose if you decide to embrace an LGBTQ identity.

During the third stage, you might seek out others like you, building a basic community of support while also experimenting with some of the different stereotypes that may exist within the community, trying to find your comfort zone. While you tolerate the idea of being LGBTQ, you may still deal with some feelings of internalized homophobia.

The fourth stage symbolizes the beginning of identity stabilization. You have accepted your LGBTQ identity and make a greater effort to fit in with your LGBTQ community. The feelings of internalized homophobia may still linger, but you are confident enough in your identity to start considering telling others.

For the fifth stage, the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme, and you might see the world around you divided into LGBTQ (“good”) and heterosexual (“bad”). There is an intense pride in who you are, and a need to get involved with LGBTQ-related causes.

The final stage of coming out occurs when your LGBTQ identity becomes more fully integrated into your identity as a whole. Being LGBTQ is still important to you, but you understand that it is not the only thing to define you.

The process, however, does not end with the personal coming out. It is an ongoing process, in which we come out to family, friends, even perfect strangers (though not necessarily in that order). Every social interaction, from hanging out with new friends to being in the workforce, will involve some degree of coming out, and each experience comes with its own set of fears and doubts.

Luckily, the volunteers, staff and even the other youth at Youth First Texas understand what it takes to come out, whether to yourself, someone close, or a boss or coworker, and they are willing to help with any questions you might have. There is also the “Coming Out Series,” hosted by YFT, where common issues are addressed and encouragement is given. For more information, see the “Programs” listing or contact info@youthfirsttexas.org.

Additional Resources:
http://www.outproud.org/brochure_coming_out.html
http://www.comingoutstories.com