Do you feel isolated and alone? Are you confused about your sexuality? Or worry about how those around you will respond? Coming out can be an emotional and scary process. Do you feel like you have no idea what to expect and that you wish that someone could just tell you what it is all about? Do you just want someone to talk to and to help you navigate through this process?
Building a gay / lesbian / bisexual support network can be a very important part of the coming out process. It is not uncommon for individuals who have identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual to have very few if any people in their life that are gay or lesbian and can identify with the experience. In addition, it is scary to come out and face the unknown without some support and if you aren’t able to talk to the people in your life because of fear, shame, or embarrassment, you are left to deal with the scariness and unknown by yourself.
Where can you find likeminded people and where is all the information?
- In your mind, identify the friends in your life that are supportive of you and with whom you feel close. Is this a friend(s) that you feel you can trust and who is accepting of you? Consider talking with that person(s) about being gay, lesbian or bisexual. It may be helpful to go for drinks or dinner, so that you have plenty of time to talk. Tell this person(s) in a way that communicates that you feel positive about who you are and that you want to share this part of yourself with him or her. Even if they are straight, your real friends will want to support you. Your friends may have a lot of questions and you can educate them about you and about being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or simply exploring your own sexuality in general. Share with them some of your experiences or maybe even some of the information or books that you found that helped you. Remember, that some of your friends may need some time to digest this new information. It took you time to be comfortable with exploring your own sexuality and it is likely that your friends may need some time too.
- Another way to begin building a support network is by accessing the Internet. Some of the major sites like Yahoo and have some message boards/chat rooms, along with Facebook groups, and websites specifically dedicated to this issue where you can talk to others who are beginning the coming out process or who are further along in coming out and can be helpful to you. In Yahoo, try clicking on groups and doing a search for gay, lesbian, bisexual or coming out groups.
- Reading books or articles online about other people’s experiences of being gay, lesbian, bisexual or exploring. Reading books about other people’s experiences can continue to help and remind you that you are not the only one going through this experience and to see how others have coped with the process. A few books that you may find helpful include: On Being Gay: Thoughts on Family, Faith, and Love by Brian McNaught, Now That I’m Out What Do I Do by Brian McNaught, Lesbian Passion: Loving Ourselves and Each Other by JoAnn Loulan, and This Is What A Lesbian Looks Like by Kris Kleindienst
Some people find this process hard to navigate alone. You don’t have to go through this alone. Help is available. Individual therapy is confidential. Support is available.
Having a support network and resources will be invaluable as you navigate through the coming out process. You need people who will positively affirm your new life and allow you to fully express your true self. To speak with a sex therapist / relationship counselor call 267-324-9564 today.