Q:

How do you "come out"?

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Quick Answer

Coming out is a contiguous process that requires some planning and a lot of patience. Reactions vary depending on who the coming out is directed at, how the coming out is done, and what else is going on in the lives of the people being come out to at that point in time.

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Full Answer

Before coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, housing, work and emotional support should be carefully assessed, in the event that coming out will result in a loss of one of those elements, according to Colorado State University's LGBT resource center. Coming out to coworkers, bosses, family members, friends, or members of a shared religious organization can result in being fired, kicked out of the home or ostracized from the community. If this is more likely to happen than not, it is best to wait until the risk of it happening is eliminated or minimized.

Once assured that housing, work, and emotional support will not be significantly endangered by coming out, individuals should consider the timing. After a death, bad breakup or business loss is not a good time. Even if the timing is good, there should be a plan for what will happen in the event of a strongly negative reaction because the repercussions of such a reaction can be far reaching.

A mildly negative reaction or an indifferent one may require coming out to the same people multiple times, or proving oneself in some way. This sort of thing can be frustrating but with patience can resolve itself into acceptance. Unfortunately, it does not always resolve to acceptance, so it is up to the person coming out to decide how patient to be with such a reaction.

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