How do I know if I am gay, lesbian, bisexual,
or transgender identified?
It can be confusing, scary, and liberating to understand and accept your sexual orientation and gender identity. Understanding your sexual orientation and gender identity is a very personal experience that should be done on your own timeline.
Don't worry if you don't currently know exactly how you identify – many adults struggle with this as well. Just maintain awareness about your thoughts and emotions and everything else will follow more easily.
Should I come out?
The first step in coming out is to acknowledge and accept your sexuality and gender identity. Once you are ready, you can start telling your close friends and family members about your full identity.
Coming out and telling others about your LGBT identity can be both scary and freeing. If you are trying to decide whether or not to come out, think about your own comfort with your sexuality and consider whether or not you are ready to let other people know about this identity.
Consider close friends or family members who you want to tell. Finally, remember that coming out can be challenging and there is a chance that you will be met with discomfort and homophobia.
However, remember that coming out and being open about your sexuality and gender identity with those you are close to can be incredibly freeing. Furthermore, research shows that it can have positive impacts on your mental health and well being.
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Who should I come out to?
It can be difficult to decide who you want to come out to first. Think about people who you trust and who you feel will be supportive of your LGBT identity. Try coming out to them first.
However, the people you actually end up coming out to first may surprise you, as sometimes the situation just lends itself to that conversation. Trust your instincts and come out to a person or persons when the time feels right.
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How do I come out?
There are many possible ways to come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The key is finding the way that will make the process comfortable for you.
Some people choose to write a letter to the people they are coming out to in order to clearly communicate their feelings. Others choose to drop small hints about their sexual orientation or gender identity with trusted friends and family members, rather than clearly state their LGBT identity. Still others choose to come out all at once through social media, such as through Facebook.
However, most people first come out face-to-face. Find a time when you and your friend or family member is relaxed and has time for a potentially long, emotional conversation. Remember to breathe, be open, and be patient with the person you are coming out to.
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Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Guide to Coming Out, Planned Parenthood.