About Coming Out
'Coming out' is a term that is understood differently by different people. But it's commonly used to describe the act of telling someone else that you're attracted to, or have feelings for someone, or people who are the same sex as you. However coming out is really not just the act of telling someone that you're gay, lesbian or bisexual, but a process of accepting and dealing with your own sexuality (that often involves reviewing everything you have been taught about sex, relationships and future aspirations) and then making the decision to let other people know about it.
Benefits of coming out
% - You don’t have to hide, lie or make up stories about what you have been doing, thinking or feeling
% - Acceptance by the people that mean the most to you
% - You can talk more openly and honestly with your friends and family
% - You have more freedom to express your true feelings and ideas without having to censor yourself
% - Your friends and family can get to know you a lot better
Some reasons why people choose not to come out
% - Rejection by some friends or family
% - In some cases there's a risk of violence or being kicked out of your home
% - Some friends or family may not accept your sexuality and continue to pretend that you're not same-sex attracted
% - Some people may think that your sexuality is just a phase that will pass
% - If you're married, it may lead to separation or divorce
% - There may be religious issues or conflicts
% - In some areas there may be a lack of privacy, so if you come out to one person everyone will know about your sexuality
Coming Out - Questions To Consider
How confident are you?
What do you know about homosexuality?
What kind of support do you have?
What's the emotional climate at home?
What is your motive for coming out?
Are you financially dependant on the person you're going to tell?
How do you feel about waiting?
What do you think their values are around sexuality and particularly homosexuality?
Is this your decision?
Once you have decided to tell others about your sexuality and have considered the possible consequences, it's important to think about how you're going to tell someone.
There are many different ways to do this and the best method for your situation will depend on your preferences and how you think the other person may react. How you approach telling someone will also be different depending on the context. For example telling your doctor is likely to be a very different experience from telling your parents.
Over time, telling people that you're same-sex attracted will become easier and you will discover the methods that suit you best.
Source: AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) – Australia.
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