Coming out can mean different things for different people.
For some, coming out means letting the people in your life know more about your 2SLGBTQ+ identity. It can also mean coming out to yourself and building a relationship with your identity.
Even though it’s called “coming out,” telling people about who you are can feel more like you’re inviting them into your life and truth. This means you have the power to decide who you want to allow into this part of your identity, and who you don’t! Sharing your 2SLGBTQ+ identity can also change your relationships with the folks in your life. Sometimes they’re strengthened, but your relationships can also change in ways that are unspoken or challenging.
Remember that you don’t need to come out to live proudly with your 2SLGBTQ+ identity.
You are deserving of love, safety and community regardless of whether you can invite others into this part of your identity or not. Many 2SLGBTQ+ folks choose not to share this part of their identity at all, only some parts of it, or only with specific people or in certain contexts. Your reasons are always your own and valid.
If you’re thinking of coming out to others, here are some tips you may want to consider.
❤️ Think about who you want to tell. How would you feel for them to know more about your gender identity or sexuality? How do you think they’d respond? If you’re not sure, it could be helpful to see how they react to 2SLGBTQ+ topics in conversation. This can be about a friend (made-up or real!), a character in a TV show or movie, a world event; basically, anything 2SLGBTQ+-related that isn’t about you. This won’t be perfectly accurate, but it can offer you a general idea of how they feel about the community.
🧡 Think about when you want to invite them in. You’re the expert of your life, and this includes knowing when things would be best for both you and the people you plan to share this information with. Sometimes we invite people at many different times throughout our life, only in some situations, or only about specific parts of our identity.
💛 Think about where and how you imagine this would take place. Would it be a conversation? Would it take place in-person? Would it be public, or private? There are lots of ways to share your gender identity or sexuality with others, like through a text message, email, note, via social media, and so on.
💚 Coming out doesn’t have to happen in-person right away, or at all. Online groups, chat rooms, servers, and forums are all places you can talk about your identity while maintaining some level of privacy from your personal life. It can also be a great way to meet other people virtually who may relate to your experiences within your culture or where you grew up. Remember that 2SLGBTQ+ people are everywhere, from reserves to rural towns to downtown cores, and many of us are hoping to connect!
💙 Your safety is most important. What if the person, or people, you come out to respond in a way that is unsafe for you? It could be helpful to have a back-up plan that involves staying with a friend or family member, or maybe having some belongings already packed. Even if things don’t go south, it may be comforting to have a few folks to check-in with afterwards. Who does this look like for you?
💜 If you really want to come out but you’re finding it difficult to, think about what motivates you. What encourages you to come out? How do you see things changing after you do?
People often make assumptions about who we are, so we might find ourselves coming out many times throughout our life.
Surrounding yourself, as much as you can, with folks who care about you and will respect your gender identity or sexuality is incredibly important because it affirms your existence and supports your overall wellbeing. Even though some people may not accept you as you are, there is community with other 2SLGBTQ+ folk, as well as with friends and chosen family. In every religion and culture, there are many 2SLGBTQ+ people who maintain their beliefs and traditions while also being true to themselves.
P.S... It’s up to us to take care of each other – so if someone comes out to you, be careful with the information, don’t tell other people without their permission, and be encouraging in your response. 🏳️🌈