Coming out: a process

Coming out: a process

The major issue determining the whole process of coming out is one’s acceptance of sexual identity. Opening up involves ownership which paves the way for self affirmation. The act of opening up to others is a risky business and hence, feeling safe and being prepared for the consequences can enable one to feel comfortable and at ease. Coming out is a critically sensitive process and one should be aware that it is a personal choice. The way(to reveal), choosing the right person and time are important decisions to be made by the concerned person.

Coming out a process

Pre- Disclosure

Practising self acceptance with regards to one’s identity is a prerequisite before one proceeds to come out. One’s discomfort about the disclosure might imply a need for assistance in terms of psychotherapy or social support. Several therapists offer support for serious issues that the community deals with and help create a safe space for them to open up. Other sources of help may be an Employee Assistance Program or a medical plan.

Disclosure



If one has made the decision to disclose their true identity to the people around them, here are a few things that might be considered:

  • Making a decision about the people to whom one wishes to disclose their personal information. There is no compulsion to come out to everyone in the world. It is up to one’s own discretion to choose the right people to come out to. The bond one shares with those people should be built on mutual support and trust since disclosing parts of ourselves to others makes us vulnerable.


Important questions to consider might include: Is this somebody whose opinion matters to me? Will this person be able to appreciate this diverse idea? Sharing such sensitive concerns with people ought to undergo reflection about their acceptance levels and sensitivity otherwise the disclosure might be reconsidered.


  • Timing and support: One must consider the timing of when we share such information. One must do it, keeping in mind the life challenges and the health effects relating to how people may react to the disclosure. This would mean making sure if one is fully prepared in mind and body to make the disclosure and have a system supporting oneself.


Having a support system or allies is extremely important as it grants a lot of strength and belongingness. A healthy support system stands by us no matter what, taking care of our mental health prior to any kind of judgment or social pressure.

Post disclosure

Now that the disclosure has been made, it might be a good idea to do a feeling check for oneself since this is a huge step that has been taken. Herein, it is normal to feel a range of emotions. One’s emotions can relate to their own feelings as well as how others’ reactions have impacted them. It is quite possible that we receive a range of responses. And here, it’s okay to take our time to anchor ourselves to something familiar to us since familiarity soothes us. People’s reactions post disclosure at times impact our mindset so much that we end up doubting our own process of thinking.

For a while, if one feels like distancing oneself, please go ahead. It is important that we tap into our support circle who can offer us support and a space to share our emotions and experience. Caring for our mental health helps in reflecting more deeply about our identity and creating acceptance for the same.

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