Coming out can be a long and pretty scary process for most people. As it’s Pride Month, so we wanted to share a little bit of wisdom on things to keep in mind for after you’ve come out!
1. Walk, don’t run
So it might feel like you want to run and dance and sing and throw yourself into the culture of the world that you are now a proud and open part of. It’s important to remember though that your life has changed between hiding your sexuality and being open about it.
Take a bit of time, think about all the other parts of you that might have taken a sideline whilst you were building up to coming out. Learn about your sexuality, talk to those around you about if they need more information, meet others in the community and outside of it, and enjoy this time as something for you.
2. Not everyone will ‘get it’ and that’s ok
You might encounter people who find it challenging to support or understand your sexuality; remember that this is their issue to work through and not yours. If this is the case with people close to you, try not to react in anger to their difficulties in accepting you. Give them some time and hopefully they will come around.
3. Never go back
As our lives continue to change, we meet new people, move jobs, cities – maybe even countries! It is important that you meet these new scenarios and people as your authentic self. Don’t undo all the work that you put in – embracing and accepting yourself as you are can take time. You’ve made it this far, so try not to revert back to old habits.
However, it is also important to trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe, or think it is better to pause before you speak, do it. It sucks that the world can still be like it, but your health, safety and wellbeing should always come first.
4. There is no right way to live
Your sexuality is just a small fraction of who you are as a person. It does not define you. Our society still has many outdated stereotypes around gender and sexuality, but how you choose to live your life is entirely up to you. There is no right or wrong way to live – carve your own path.
A community is extremely important. Reach out and find people that accept you for you. Finding support and connecting with people who understand you and what you are going through, will help you deal with any changes and transitions that might lie ahead.
6. Don’t feel pressured to conform
Now you have come out, you might have expected to easily assimilate into your local LGBT+ community. There is a possibility that you might not feel 100% like you belong, or maybe you feel like you don’t fit in – don’t worry if this is the case. You are a unique individual and everyone expresses themselves differently, so don’t feel pressured to dress or act a certain way if it doesn’t come naturally. This is true for all aspects of life too, and all people, regardless of sexuality.
Remember that you are perfect just the way you are and not alone in sometimes feeling alone.
7. Life might not instantly get better
Not having to deal with the daily stress of having to hide your sexuality is a massive relief. But don’t be alarmed if things don’t fall into place as quickly as you would like or exactly how you imagined they would. For some people, it can get worse before it gets better. The freedom you are searching for will come, but it takes time.
This can be very nerve-racking, especially on a first date. Putting yourself out there is scary whatever your sexuality. You might feel paranoid that everyone is watching you, but they really aren’t. The good news is dating does get much easier as you become more comfortable with not having to hide who you are to others and yourself.
9. Keep reaching out to those who love you unconditionally
Keep reaching out to those that love you and support you. If you experience any negativity make sure you tell someone – even if you don’t want to report it, it is important you share with someone what you are going through.
If you don’t feel like you have anyone to talk to, you can always talk to us. For more information on coming out, sexuality and relationships, reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here, and we will listen.