I love all of my friends, but only a select few know I’m a lesbian and in a relationship. I honestly don’t want to lose them because they’re the best people I could know. I just don’t want to end our friendships because of my sexuality… Also, I want to tell them between now and Christmas break.
First of all, I’d like the say how wonderful it is that you have surrounded yourself with such great friends. Having friends who you can trust and rely on is such an important part of the coming out process. Additionally, it’s wonderful that you are in a relationship and have yet another person to support you during this time. You’re already on such a great path towards happiness and fulfillment.
With that said, it’s perfectly normal to be cautious when deciding the proper time to come out and who you should talk to about your sexuality. Coming out can be very positive because it lets people close to you, like your good friends, know an important part of who you are and bring you closer to each other. Choosing when and how to come out can seem daunting, but here are some things to consider. First, it’s often helpful to talk to those friends first who you expect will be more accepting. Having more allies on your side who can support you is important. Second, it’s usually best to speak with someone about your sexuality one-on-one and when you have plenty of time to discuss things and answer questions. Coming out in a group setting, such as at a Christmas Party, can be complicated. Additionally, we recommend avoiding coming out when you’re intoxicated, coming out during an argument or as a weapon to hurt someone, or bringing along your significant other when you come out to someone. All of these can further complicate an already emotional process. It’s important to remember that your friends may be quiet at first when you tell them, but give them a chance to process the information and respond. If you’re nervous, you can rehearse what you want to say but avoid writing out a speech. Instead, speak from your heart. Share your feelings. If you just can’t make yourself tell someone face-to-face, you can also write a note for them to read before you speak with them in person. This way, you can be sure they have a chance to think and process things before you chat directly. Most importantly, only talk to your friends when you’re ready. Never come out because you feel pressured.
There are a great number of resources you can use to plan your coming out process and decide the best way to talk to your friends and family. The Human Right Campaign or HRC’s Resource Guide to Coming Out is very helpful (http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/resource-guide-to-coming-out), as is the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network or GLSEN’s coming out documents (http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/news/record/1290.html). Finally, we always encourage people to use Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays or PGLAG as a resource when talking to friends and family about their sexuality (http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2).
And remember, should you ever need to contact us immediately, we are always available on the Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR.
The Trevor Project