The AfterEllen.com Huddle: Our Advice on Coming Out

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Bridget McManus: Coming out is so personal. All I can say is do it when you are ready. Don’t let anyone else dictate when and or who you tell. But once you decide to do it do it fast like ripping off a bandaid. You’ll make yourself crazy over thinking it and trying to find the perfect moment to do it. And remember, being LGBTQ is fucking awesome so congratulations!

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Dara Nai: Do it when you’re ready, and not because you feel like you have to, or you’re supposed to. You also don’t have to label yourself “queer” or head straight to your nearest Pride parade, or binge-watch I Am Cait or decorate your cubical with rainbow flags, or anything else you don’t want to do. Our community loves a bandwagon: Your only agenda should be your own authentic happiness. But you do have to rescue a cat. That’s in the manual.
 
Anna Pulley: Coming out is like Narnia, especially if you’re bi. You think you’ve found your way out of the closet, but there’s only more closets (and lions and witches, too). Get used to reintroducing yourself to the universe. Keep moving and keep believing that you’re fucking worthy and important and magical, because you are. Also, buy 17 beanies. You’ll need all of them.
 
Elaine Atwell: Trust yourself. When you come out, people often want to play tug-of-war with your identity. The less tolerant people in your life might try to tell you that this is just a phase, that you are surely mistaken about yourself. And then some members of the community might push you towards a certain label, or towards sleeping with a ton of chicks, or force you think watch Lost Girl. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO ANY OF THESE THINGS. The most important thing is to keep listening to the brave, honest voice in your head that told you that you like boobs and it’s time you told the world about it.
 
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Caitlin Bergh: When you come out,  don’t forget to announce which L Word character you are and why.

Chelsea Steiner: Don’t apologize for being yourself—ever. Take your time. Breathe deeply. You got this. Also, if you’re femme and/or bisexual, be prepared to come out over and over and over again like a queer version of Groundhog Day
 
Emily McGaughy: There is no right or wrong way to come out. Do what you know is best for you. And it’s never too early or too late— so long as your safety is not at risk. Don’t apologize for how you identify. Apologies imply that you’ve done something wrong and will give the person you’re coming out to all the power. Who you are is not wrong. And know that, in general, life after coming out will be much more satisfying and free. Being LGBT comes with complications and struggles, but it connects you with queer people everywhere in a very special way. Being an out lesbian has allowed me to see the world more clearly and from a broader perspective. It is a real gift to be queer.

Dana Piccoli: Start off by baking muffins. The smell of baked goods makes everyone feel at ease. OK, well, you actually don’t need the muffins but I really like them. I have two pieces of advice. 1. Give your loved ones some credit. People love you and want to know the real you. When I came out, I underestimated how well some of my friends would take it. Most likely, they already have a clue. 2. Trust your instincts. If you feel in danger, or concerned that someone might take your coming out badly, trust your gut. Get in a safe space and build a community to support you. You are going to be great, and a life lived openly feels really good.

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