In the current issue of Connecticut Voice, we covered several people who have come out later in life. It’s taken them time to realize, accept, and express their authentic selves. Many have had complete and full lives previously, and finally living in their truth can cause upheaval. However, for many people they ultimately had no choice, and if they are going to finally be happy and live for themselves, they must admit that they are gay, trans, bisexual, whatever it is.
It can be scary for sure, but we have yet to encounter anyone who regrets finally having the courage to live authentically. Yes, as with anything in life, when something changes, others will be affected, and there are several things to consider as you come out to family and loved ones. Here are just a few:
- Reflect on your feelings and identity: Before telling your family and loved ones, it’s important to take the time to understand your own feelings and accept your identity and to feel comfortable in your choices.
- Plan what you want to say: Coming out is stressful, and it can be helpful to write down what you want to say to your family, practicing it out loud, and thinking about how you want to frame your identity and experience.
- Choose the right time and place: It’s important to choose a time and place where the people you come out to will feel comfortable and cared for. This could be at home or in a neutral location, and ideally, when you can have a longer conversation rather than a quick announcement.
- Be honest and clear: Be honest about your feelings and identity—and your process. You don’t need to go into all the details about your past, but you should be clear about where you are now and how it feels to you.
- Answer their questions: You will get a lot of questions or concerns, and it’s important to answer them as openly and honestly as possible. If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say so, and to let them know that you will let them know. You didn’t come this far to hide anything.
- Be prepared for different reactions: Your children may react in different ways, including shock, anger, confusion, or acceptance. It’s important to be patient and to give them time to process their own feelings and emotions.
- Don’t expect anything: It may have taken you a long time to come to your realizations. You owe your family and loved ones the patience to allow them to process this information in their own way and their own time. Particularly if you come out as trans, don’t expect everyone to get it right immediately. This part of the process is about them.
- Offer help: Particularly if there are young people involved, make sure they know where to get support as they come to terms with the new you.
This is never easy, but it can be fulfilling and bring families and friends closer in the long run. There’s something about full honesty that, usually, enhances all relationships. You will probably find as many have that it’s ultimately easier. And if you are living authentically, you provide a model for others to do the same.
We’d love to hear your coming out stories. If you’d like to share them with us, send them to the editor: email@example.com. With your permission and edits, we’d love to share them with others as we continue to build out the CT Voice community and share all our stories of Pride in living authentically.
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