November 12, 2017 by thewashingteenian
By Jiala Devine, Staff Reporter
As an openly queer person, the question I constantly hear is something along the lines of: Should I come out? When should I come out? How should I come out? How did you come out?
Here is the thing…. there is no answer. I had to learn this the hard way but coming out, whether it be to friends or family or even yourself, depends entirely on what makes you comfortable. Here’s why, you need to come out for you. It sounds obvious, but I’ve seen close friends come out when they weren’t ready because people they are close to pressured them or because someone set up an arbitrary coming out time restraint. Fun fact: there’s no time limit! Don’t be afraid to think selfishly when coming out.
If your entire friend group came out and you didn’t, that’s okay. That doesn’t make you weak or not brave enough to “just do it,” you just aren’t ready. If you overcame some great obstacles and came out but your friend group didn’t, that doesn’t give you the right to guilt them about it or out them. You aren’t braver or stronger, you just felt more comfortable with the sacrifices you had to make, or didn’t have to make, at a different time than them.
We keep forgetting this generally, but you don’t have to come out to everyone (or anyone, for that matter). If the idea of coming out to everyone in your life feels impossible or generally uncomfortable for you…. then don’t. You do what’s best for you. Outing shouldn’t be some required right of passage. It’s simply a choice you have the ability to make if it best suites your individual needs.
How should I come out? This question can, at times, be harder to answer than the original “should I come out” question. The answer, however you want. Not everyone needs to throw a party or do a grand gesture. You could slip it casually into conversation or send out a mass email or sit down with your loved ones and openly say it. No way is the right way and no way is the wrong.
We live in a time where everything feels like it needs to be a big well planned production. Is there anything wrong with a big production? Not at all, but it’s not necessary. It doesn’t even have to be on purpose. I came out to my relatively conservative mother by accident. So just do you, because at the end of the day, however you express your identity should be for yourself, not anyone else.
Of course, all of this is way easier said than done. Way easier. We all struggle in every aspect of our lives to figure out what makes us comfortable. It’s probably going to take some time and you may constantly change your answer, but that’s okay. And if coming out was super easy from the get go: good for you, dude! If it wasn’t: good for you, dude! Our differences and changing thoughts are what make us human. Simply put, come out however, whenever, and to whoever is best for you.
If you have any questions, comments, or a cool story, feel free to tweet @Washingteensays or use our submit page!
(P.S. I run the twitter so I’ll happily respond to your queer questions!)