Coming Out

Coming "Out of the closet"

A primer for the rest of your life...from

Coming out of the closet is something that must be done over and over again throughout our lives. Here's a primer to help you come out for the first time-or the fiftieth-to friends, family, and work. 
The first step is to accept yourself.

This is by far the hardest part of coming out because we are often our own harshest critics. You can't skip this step. Find a support group in your neck of the woods or visit a chat forum, like the one on where you'll meet other people tacking the same issues.

If you've done the work to accept yourself as a gay, lesbian or bisexual person, coming out will feel like a celebration of you, wonderful you.

Your attitude and comfort level is the key to a good reaction. Basically, the people who love you want you to be happy. If we don't appear to them to be happy and confident, they will worry and they will blame the thing that's changed recently.

Once you're feeling good, put together a supportive network of friends and people you can trust and rely on during this process. The Trevor Project offers a comprehensive list of local support groups and community centers, if you don't yet have any fabulous LGBT friends.

When you come out to someone, whether it's in person or via a letter, it's important to give them space to have their own reaction. Think about your journey of self-acceptance and how long it took for you, then let your parents, family and friends go through the same process. It does help to share some of your process with them, so they know that you've given this thoughtful consideration and it's not a reaction to watching too much "Modern Family" or "Glee."

Everyone isn't going to hug you and march in a parade with you. It doesn't mean you're a bad person, sibling, father, mother, son or daughter, it means they aren't comfortable…yet. And that's OK, that's them. Divest yourself of responsibility for the feelings of others. Continue to love them the way you always have. Acceptance is a two-way street.

When you tell people, it often works well to frame it as something additional and wonderful you've discovered about yourself, rather than as a secret you've been keeping. It helps people understand that your sexuality adds to and completes the picture of who you are.

Whatever you do, be yourself. People love you for you. The more you share your whole self with them, the more they will love you for it.

Guess what? Unless you tattoo a rainbow flag to your forehead — which I'm not at all recommending — you'll come out over and over again throughout your life. Sometimes, you'll want to sleep on a plane, rather than answer a stranger's questions. That's OK. You won't be kicked out of the club for not telling Nosy Nancy from Nebraska that you're queer.

While the more people who come out, the better things get for all of us, it's still an intensely personal decision that you'll make over and over again. Follow your gut in each situation. You are under no obligation to disclose your sexual orientation to everyone you meet.

Welcome to the LGBT community. Create a profile on dot429 and start connecting with bright, successful LGBT professionals in your area. We wish you all the best on your big gay journey. We'd love to hear your stories, too. Write to us at or leave a comment below.

“I was bound to get caught.”

Many teens I’ve encountered fear coming out to their peers more so than their family. I, however, was the complete opposite. I started coming out to my friends in eighth grade, but I had made myself believe that my family would never find out. I believed this to be a simple goal. My parents were divorced and I lived with my mother. I should have known better, for my mother was a very nosy person and had to have her nose in everyone’s business.

It all went downhill during the middle of my freshman year of high school.  I came home from school and my mom was in my room, sitting on my bed, ready to talk. She asked me, “Austin, is there something you’d like to tell me?” I answered simply, with “No.” She immediately threw a stack of papers at me and said, “I found these on your e-mail.” They were conversations I had been having with a boy I went to school with. “Oh no!”   I thought. “What do I do?” So I came up with the most immature answer I could have come up with, “That’s not from my account.” She obviously didn’t believe me but I stuck to my story, and tried my hardest to convince her she was crazy, or crazier, I should say. She gave me a hypocritical lecture on how it was against our religion, when 1.) She had never taken me to church and 2.) Well ... let’s just say she likes attention from the male. This lecture went on forever. I can remember it like it was yesterday, mostly because it consisted of her bashing my friends because they “were influencing me.” She told me to turn off the feelings. So to simply make things easier, I played the “straight” boy at home, but still acted myself when around my friends.

No more big events happened until the summer before my sophomore year. I had met and started dating this boy from a neighboring county. Once again I thought I could keep it from her, and once again I was wrong. We had dated two weeks. On the start of the second week we had a band show at a county fair. Before we boarded the bus to go home, my assistant director caught us kissing, and I was afraid I would get in trouble. On the bus ride home I had expressed my fear of getting in trouble to him via text. When I got home, Mom had a surprise for me; she wanted to search my phone. Sure enough, she found the text and wigged out. She filed a restraining order against him and enrolled me into a different school because she believed that my friends were influencing me, even when none of them were openly gay, even to me. I was devastated. I was so upset with her I wouldn’t even look at her. I went through the school year hating every second of it. I wasn’t allowed to contact my former friends, and this made me even more depressed. I never tried anything drastic like suicide, but I would be lying if I said it had never crossed my mind. My unhappiness continued through Christmas break. After this point my mother started to trust me again. I was able to talk to my friends again and even visit them. As a result I started to become myself again; I was still forced to go to a school I hated though. However, I got by and lived my life. I eventually got a job, at a local Dairy Queen, and this gave me an opportunity to get away from my mother. My recent reunion with my friends and my new job helped get me through the rest of my sophomore year. The last day of school came around and after my last exam, I “blew that Popsicle stand” and drove off to see my friends, whose school let out two days earlier.
Now it was summer 2010 and my life was back to normal. I was able to hang out with my new friends, had a great job, and my mother had promised to transfer me back to my old school. On June the 11th I turned 17, and I was excited, my curfew changed, as well as did driving restrictions in my state. I took advantage of this, and no matter how wrong I knew my next move was, I did it anyway. I had contacted my former boyfriend and started to talk to him again. For a few weeks I got by with it, but I was bound to get caught sooner or later (you’d think I’d learn, huh?). On June 26th my life changed drastically. I came home from work and my mother was waiting, once again interested in searching my phone. I was caught; I had just finished talking to a boy and didn’t erase the text. So what did I do? I refused to let her have the phone. However, my mother is a very determined woman, I tried with all my might to keep the phone from her but in the end I was overpowered.

What she found she didn’t like, and the next day I was forced to quit my job, which I loved. Later that day I was in a car to meet my dad who lived a state away. My dad didn’t like the fact of me being gay, because he was a minister, but he also didn’t like the way my mother went about getting my phone. The ride back to dad’s house wasn’t too awkward, but I was really upset; my life was changing and no one but my mother and my boss were aware of my departure from my old home. When I arrived at my dad’s, he allowed me to call my friends back home and let them know what was going on. I settled in with my dad, but was still scared of what was to come of the new school year, being in a rural community in the Bible Belt. Going to dad's church, which was of the Pentecostal denomination, I saw how unaccepting the people where down there. To them being homosexual is an abomination and should be treated that way. However, I soon started school and realized not everyone was of that opinion, in fact, most everyone accepted me.
Today, I am almost done with my junior year. I love my new school, my new life, and my family. I will be 18 soon, and my original mindset to move back home when I turned 18 is being challenged by my new life, which I love just as much as my former life. Some may say I have had it rough but I don’t dwell on it. Some may say I shouldn’t have been sneaking around, and disobeying my mother; to some extent I’ll agree with that, but I was too scared to stand up to her and lose my safe haven. It turns out I lost it anyway. My dream is to attend Bowling Green State University, in Bowling Green, Ohio, and major in music. I love playing my French horn, and I am pretty good at it too and I can’t dream of doing anything else with my life. However, by choosing to be homosexual and tasting “the forbidden fruit” my financial “ticket” was taken away. I believe everything will work out and I will accomplish my dreams. In my future, I hope to inspire gay youth and be an example that life ... well, “it gets better.”

Austin Land
17 years old
Fort Gay, W.Va., and Paulding, Ohio

Alone Among Many

John Alburquerque, 19, was recently bullied by a teenager who was hanging out on John’s corner in his Bronx neighborhood.

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