Nowadays we live in a world where times have progressed and mentalities have started to change. This means that people are becoming more accepting. However, some still find it difficult to accept and reveal their identity and sexuality. Some might require the help of someone external to listen to their concerns and fears. The rationale behind this is, that this individual would be impartial and hence the person would be able to start coming to terms with their identity (Coming out as an adult, 2021).
One might question whether coming out is worth the negativity that will be received by others. Nevertheless, it was found that only then can one live a happy, fulfilling and open life (Kramskaya, 2021). Psychological health is also said to improve as the individual gains self-confidence, engages in better relationships and also has greater work satisfaction (Kramskaya, 2021). One the other hand, hiding one’s identity is associated with greater risks for self-harm, suicide, poor relationships and substance abuse (Kramskaya, 2021). Despite this, there are different ways for one to come out.
Some individuals are more open and prefer using social media as a means of revealing their true identity, while others slowly start revealing themselves to chosen individuals until they are more confident with themselves. These individuals are usually people that the individual trusts such as close friends or relatives. Nevertheless, it is advised that one prepares to answer some questions so that they would not be caught off guard.
In reality, there is no right or wrong way as long as the individual is comfortable and can live a happy and fulfilling life. Moreover, coming out does not mean that one has to reveal one’s sexuality with every single individual or community. One might simply decide to tell friends and family without coming out at work. It is important for the individual to be aware that this decision lies in one’s hands according to one’s level of comfort (Coming out as an adult, 2021).
Coming out is a challenge and one needs to prepare for adverse reactions. Unfortunately, one of the reasons why coming out is considered to be hard is the fact that negativity towards the LGBTQ community still exists, despite recent changes and advancements to promote equality (Kramskaya, 2021).
Hence, individuals can be subject to bullying and hate crime which makes it harder for one to reveal one’s sexual orientation. Nonetheless, the individual can consider that, similar to how one needed time to accept oneself, this might also be true for relatives and loved ones. Additionally, despite being aware of the troubles of coming out, those who have experienced it describe it as a truly liberating experience (Coming out as an adult, 2021).
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Yasmine Bonnici graduated in Nursing and also completed her Masters in Counselling. She has worked with victims of domestic violence, clients dealing with suicidal ideations, bereavement, separation and anxieties. She is currently working with Willingness Team as a counsellor seeing clients who would like to explore their own identity and deal with any surfacing issues.
Anon, 2021. Coming out as an adult. Stonewall. Available at: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/help-advice/coming-out/coming-out-as-an-adult [Accessed October 1, 2021]. Kramskaya, N. (2021). Why it’s often still so difficult to be out and proud. Retrieved 25 September 2021, from https://theconversation.com/why-its-often-still-so-difficult-to-be-out-and-proud-66655