I am currently in the closet. About a week ago, I was at Jamba Juice after practice with some teammates. We started talking about who was gay or not. On of my teammates( and friends) said he thought I was gay. He then said he wasn’t suppose to say that. I said No because it was the only thing I could think of. I am scared. I wonder if my straight facade is still up.Or is it cracked? I need to keep this up until college because I am a Boy Scout and working toward my eagle. I also wonder if I should just come clean to him. I somewhat trust him, but I am so scared of the consequences. He is accepting toward LGBT, but can he keep this closed? What should I do?
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Thanks for your email. We’re glad you’ve taken the time to write to us. Coming out can be frightening, and it definitely warrants thought and consideration. The good news is that you’re asking all the right questions – and writing to us means that you’ve taken a great step toward finding answers.
The decision about coming out – when, where and how – is entirely yours. The most important thing is that you feel safe and comfortable.
In trying to figure out whether or not to come out, it can help to ask yourself some questions including: What does it feel like keeping this part of your life a secret? Does it cause you a lot of stress worrying about them finding out? Are you worried that if you told your family or your friends, you’d be unsafe physically or emotionally? If you told your parents, are you concerned that they might kick you out of the house? If you decided to tell them and they did kick you out, it would be important to have a safety plan, meaning a safe place where you could live? If you told your scout troop, do you think they would want to remove you? Are they open to having gay members? Would you prefer to remain a part of an organization that does not welcome gay members or would you be happier elsewhere? (There is no correct answer, by the way. These are just things to think about as you make your decision about coming out.)
A good place to start is with a trustworthy friend or family member whom you believe is accepting and open to people of all sexualities. You might want to try introducing the idea to the friend or family member by talking about a well known person who has come out, to see how they respond. Some people are fine just saying their sexuality while others find it better to ease into the discussion by first talking about a LGBT actor or character in a movie, book or television show and see how the people in their life react. You might find it helpful to write out and rehearse things you might say.
There are lots of helpful resources for when and if you decide it’s time. You might find the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/documents/resourceguide_co.pdf helpful. In addition, on http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/youthresource/comingoutquestions you’ll find an article called “Coming Out to Your Parents: Questions to Think About” which may be of help to you.
Your family and/or friends may have many questions about your sexuality/gender identity and may need time and help to become more understanding and supportive of you. Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization, made up mostly of parents, which supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved one’s sexual orientation/gender identity. On their website at www.pflag.org click on “Get Support” then click on “For Family & Friends” where you’ll find the pamphlets “Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual People” and “Frequently Asked Questions about GLBT People,” which, if you’re comfortable, you can share with your family members/friends to help them become more understanding and accepting of you. PFLAG also runs support groups where parents and others can discuss questions and concerns they have about a loved one’s sexual orientation and where LGBT people can discuss issues they’re having with people in their life. On their website, you can search for a chapter near you. If no chapter is near you or if your family members/friends won’t attend, you could still contact the nearest chapter and get support and learn ways to help them become more understanding of you.
We’re always here for you!