What is coming out?
‘Coming out’ is when someone tells someone else their LGBT+ identity. In relation to sexual orientation and gender identity, this means sharing with others that you are lesbian, gay, bi and/or trans (LGBT).
When and how to come out?
Coming out is personal and different for everyone, there is no right or wrong way to come out and you must do it when the time is right for you.
Some people are comfortable talking openly about their sexual orientation and gender identity. Others may decide not to be ‘out’ with certain groups or in every context and some people decide not to ‘come out’ to anyone, ever.
Coming out is rarely a once-in-a-lifetime event, as many LGBT+ people may want or need to come out to each new person they meet, or may realise different aspects of their LGBT+ identity over time which they might then choose to tell people about.
Coming out can be difficult and takes courage, as you never know how other people are going to react, but the most important person to come out to first is yourself. When you decide to tell friends and family about your identity, it is important you do not put pressure on yourself to come out.
Coming Out guide
If you are questioning what sexuality or gender you might be, or know that you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans, then download the Proud Trust's Coming Out Guide! It’s a great resource for everyone to read to explore and understand your gender and sexuality and think about how to be a good friend to a LGBT person.
Some tips from the Proud Trust:
Don't worry: although it can be a difficult experience you are not alone and there are plenty of people to support you
Before coming out to others, a big step is to come out to yourself
Everyone is different: the 'right time' is different for everyone and you need to decide when is right for you
Take your time
Have a plan
See how others have come out
Support and advice
Pages in this section
Healthy lives for young people
Brook operates a number of sexual health and wellbeing services across the UK and they are committed to supporting young people.
This is their page on 'coming out'.
The Proud Trust is a life saving and life enhancing organisation that helps LGBT+ young people empower themselves, to make a positive change for themselves, and their communities.
To find out more about their work, as well as all the lovely people and partner organisations that help make all this happen, visit their website.
Coming out can be a stressful experience and here are some of our mental health pages: