How to Prepare to Come Out to Family
It might be 2022, but coming out to family members can still be difficult for millions of young people across the world. If it is safe for you to do so, coming out can be a liberating experience, but many people feel nervous as they prepare to tell their loved ones. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prepare for the conversation and make the process a little easier.
It takes a lot of courage to come out, even if you know your family will be supportive. Nerves can often get the better of you, so practice breathing exercises and ways to stay relaxed. If you can’t bring yourself to come out due to nerves, consider cbd as a way to maintain composure. Confidence will help to put your point across – some family members may bully you back into the closet if they see you’re unsure about yourself, but confidence can help you to stand your ground. Remember, it’s not up to them whether you come out or not. Standing up to family members can be hard, but you need to show yourself some respect, and do what is best for you.
Choose who to tell first
This can often be the hardest decision, so if you’re struggling to decide, consider telling everyone at once to get it over and done with. Some may be surprised, but at least it won’t feel like you’re keeping your sexuality from anyone whilst others secretly know about it. This method also avoids anyone feeling betrayed at being left until last, and will prevent others from outing you accidentally to members who don’t know yet.
Telling everyone at once can sometimes backfire, however, as it can seem like you’ve dropped a bombshell on everyone. It also doesn’t give you any time to talk to each family member individually, so if you know someone is going to be shocked (we’re looking at you Aunty Alice), consider a different approach and tell people one at a time. The last thing you want is to be bombarded with questions, so tell your closest family members first and go from there.
Learn as much as you can about what it means to be LGBTQIA+. This will not only help you better understand your own identity, but it will also give you the language to explain your experience to others. There are many resources available online and at your local library, so it’s pretty easy to find out more before you take the plunge. You could even ask friends who are already out how they did it, or just ask them more about how they knew they weren’t straight. A common question to be asked by family after coming out is “how do you know?”, so you need to be prepared with an answer if your family doesn’t seem to be accepting the situation.
Consider how your family might react
Before coming out to your family, it's also important to consider how they might react. Whilst their opinion really doesn’t matter at the end of the day, a positive reaction would be ideal. Every family is different, and there is no way to predict exactly how yours will react. However, thinking about how they might react can help you be prepared for the conversation. Your grandparents will probably react differently to your siblings and cousins, for example, so you might need to tailor the conversation differently to suit each of them. If you're worried about their reaction, you can always reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support.
Plan for the best, prepare for the worst
Hopefully, your family is supportive and don’t care who you love, but unfortunately, some families are still very homophobic. If you know your family are going to take it badly, you shouldn’t be afraid to tell them, as long as you know what you’re going to do if they don’t accept you for who you are. If you think there might be anger, organise to stay at a friend’s for a while, or come out just before going to university so that you have a place to go if the reaction is negative. You shouldn’t have to do this, but your safety is priority, so if you think you might not be safe at home, make a plan to get out quickly. If necessary, get into contact with Stonewall or the Terrence Higgins Trust and they’ll be able to help you.
Coming out to your family can be a scary experience, but it’s worth it in the end. With some good timing, some supportive friends and by staying calm, you can hopefully make the process a breeze. In all likelihood, you’ll have had nothing to worry about, but if things do go wrong, be proud of yourself for being open, honest and true.