Tips & Tricks for Coming Out

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Tips & Tricks for Coming Out

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With LGBTQ+ History Month in full effect, many students are left thinking about their role in this community. It is arguable that a portion of the taboo has been smashed through regarding queer individuals, making it easier for them to voice who they love without the same onslaught of shock or vilification that may have occurred decades before. Contrary to this claim, however, the contemporary, incendiary American political climate instills further fear in some individuals of repercussions. Prejudicial reputation changes, loss of support from friends and family members, harassment, and becoming the target of a hate crime are all valid concerns expressed by closeted individuals. In the face of these risks, how do queer individuals just “come out”? There is no definitive answer for all, but multiple methods exist to smoothen the process.

In order for closeted individuals to come out to others, they must first come out to themselves. Denial of one’s sexual orientation can stem from fear of backlash or internalized homophobia picked up from the media, friends, family members, or other sources. This lack of acceptance of oneself is one of the biggest barriers to happiness as an openly-stated member of the LGBTQ+ community. Intrapersonal communication is imperative.

Surrounding oneself with LGBTQ+ positive support can aid in the process of coming out by providing a person with inspiration, strength, and solidarity. No queer individual is ever alone. There are plenty of resources on campus that can be found by visiting the UIS Gender and Sexuality Student Services page at www. uis.edu/gendersexualitystudentservices/. Events can be found under the “Programs” tab.

Read the situation. Even though hypothetical support from friends, family members and other listeners is ideal in any setting, there may be a time and place in which it would be better to hold off on the conversation until another time.

Do not feel pressured to come out at a certain time or at all. Some people are very private individuals and prefer to keep their relationships to themselves, regardless of sexual orientation. Some people prefer to wait until they are away from their parents, or whatever the case may be. Some soul-searching can help queer individuals discover if open disclosure is the right choice for them, and if so, when that will be.

Finally, talk to a counselor or other trusted source if need be. Some people need some extra encouragement to take that last step, while others may need space to think things through. Call (217) 206-7122 or stop by the office in HRB 64 to schedule an appointment with the UIS Counseling Center staff.

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