The decision about how you wish to deal with your sexuality, whether to tell others about it, how you decide to live your life, is a choice which is as individual as you are.
You may feel happier being completely open about who you really are, you may prefer to keep this part of you private in some areas of your life. The reasons around this can be complex and varied, but ultimately only you know what you are comfortable with and what you feel you can handle.
Be kind to yourself, choose what makes YOU happy and do it in your way and in your own time. It's your life. Live it the way you want to - it really is all about what makes you happy. For many people coming out can be a positive experience and for others it's not quite like the big magical "movie moment" and you could be met with negative reactions and hurtful comments.
If you feel that you are ready to confide in someone, talk to someone you are comfortable with, someone you trust to support you. There's no right or wrong way to go about it, you can write it down, you can talk face to face, you may end up just blurting it out. No doubt you will feel a rush with the release of emotions which have been pent up inside but once you get started it will all come out in your own way and your own time.
You may have built up an expectation of the reaction you are looking for, don't be surprised or deflated if things don't go as you imagined. Remember, it probably took you a very long time to start getting your own head around it, allow others time to let the news sink in and digest it. Don't expect them to adjust right away, you're likely to receive mixed reactions and some people you tell are bound to feel initial shock and worry for you.
It will be important to build an open relationship with the people you tell. You'll feel a sense of relief once you have freedom to talk openly about your sexuality with someone and as you begin to come out further to a wider range of people, this group of supportive friends will be an invaluable asset to you.
It can be an exciting time and new avenues in your life can be opened up. It can also be an emotional rollercoaster, you may feel exhilarated at sharing such an important part of your identity and experience joy and pride at having come out. At the same time it can be scary; naturally you will be scared of rejection and at times you may feel isolated. These are all common feelings. There are lots of people out there who do care and want to help. You can find support from many groups, the ones below offer a fabulous service.
0345 3 30 30 30 (10am-10pm every day)
08000 50 20 20 (Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5:30pm)
You don't have to be gay to 'get it'
It's not solely the responsibility of LGBT people to fight homophobia.
Straight Allies (a heterosexual person who supports gender equality) can be some
of the most effective and powerful voices of the LGBT movement and can
provide invaluable support to their friends and family members.
If someone has confided in you that they are gay, it can be a lot to take in but the biggest single thing you can do is to reassure them that you are there for them - and then just listen. The most valuable resources you can give are your support and your time. Be honest if you don't understand something and just ask. If you're respectful and patient it will help avoid any tension or awkwardness.
YOU HAVE OUR SUPPORT
We are always privileged when someone contacts us and takes us into their confidence that they are just about to, or have recently, come out as gay and are making their first purchase of a symbolic item – often something simple like a rainbow wristband. It's a small step but deeply personal and holds so much meaning, your messages are always touching to receive.
Similarly, we are moved by the friends and relatives who simply wish to show their support and love for a friend or family member who has come out or is going through gender transition by purchasing jewellery or small tokens as a gesture of reassurance and showing they care. It inspires us to source gifts which are special and to come up with card designs which will convey your understanding.
We are always happy to offer our advice if you have any uncertainty over making what is bound to be a sensitive purchase so please do get in touch if we can help.
Much love to everyone.