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Coming Out

April 6, 2015

Guilt

Being true to yourself

Coming out as gay or lesbian is an amazing time because it means you’re ready to be 100 per cent true to yourself. But it can also be scary for some people.

It’s important to accept and like yourself for who you are. Your sexual identity is a part of you, but it’s not everything about who you are. You are still the same person you always have been, you are now just sharing another piece of your identity that was always there.

Preparing to come out

When you are coming out to your family and friends, sadly, there are some things you should consider in order to protect yourself. Unfortunately, some people may not accept you right away and others may not want to continue a friendship with you. If you are coming out, look for hints about what people’s beliefs systems are ahead of time. Do they know other LGBTT* people? Have they demonstrated openness and acceptance of the LGBTT* community or have they shown intolerance and discrimination? The answers to these questions can give you clues about how people might react, but keep in mind that some people who you thought were accepting may show they are not, and people who you thought were discriminatory might surprise you.

Preparing yourself emotionally for whatever the outcome might be is important. Sometimes you end up having to be a support to people that might become emotional themselves, so when you are coming out, it is important to be in a place where you’re comfortable with who you are and are strong in your sense of self. This is one of the few times in life when a special moment that should be all about you (coming out) can turn into a moment that’s all about them! Be ready to be a support or offer people you are coming out to more information.

Something else to consider when coming out is your safety. Safety comes in many forms — this can be your physical safety but also safety in terms of housing and support. If you come out to your family, will they be accepting? Will you be allowed to stay at home or is your housing at risk? Are you financially dependent on your family? Will this be cut off? If you think these things may be at risk, consider this in your decision to come out to your family and how you may need to make plans that will ensure your safety and well-being.

Supports at RRC

At the College, you will have a lot of support if you choose to come out. Counselling and Accessibility Services has counsellors who are available to support students around personal issues such as coming out, as well as academic issues.

Red River College also has an LGBTT* Initiative Program that identifies, trains and supports allies at the College. The Initiative works to create a safe and inclusive environment at the College so all students have the opportunity to learn and feel supported.

There is also a new LGBTT student group that has formed at Red River College. Information on this group can be found on their Facebook page.

Supports in the community

Outside of the College, there are many great supports and ways to get involved in the LGBTT* community. The Rainbow Resource Centre provides counselling and support, access to resources and a library and ways to get involved in social events and with volunteer opportunities. The Centre can also help connect you with other community groups, supports and services outside of the College.

What kind of supports did you find helpful when you were coming out? Tell us in the comment section below!