What? Why? When?
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What is ‘Coming Out’?
Why Do People ‘Come Out’?
We live in a society where it is assumed everyone is straight and cisgender unless told otherwise. Because of this, day-to-day assumptions are made about our identity and the identity of the people we are attracted to. Being surrounded by people who believe you are straight and/or cis when you know you are LGBT+ can feel like you are hiding a part of yourself; it can feel like you are lying all the time to the people you care about most, and it can sit like a heavy weight on your shoulders. All of this may negatively impact upon a person’s wellbeing. Because of this, many LGBT+ people choose to share their identity with their family and friends by ‘coming out’.
When you first meet an LGBT+ person, they may share their sexual orientation or gender identity with you unprompted. This may be so that, going forward, you do not misgender them or make any incorrect assumptions about their identity that they would later have to correct.
When do LGBT+ People Come Out?
Some people may come out as they question and explore their identity. Some people are very young and some come out years after realising they are LGBT+. There is not a set time for people to share that they are LGBT+. Coming out is a personal choice and people may come out as and when they feel ready to do so. But LGBT+ people are more likely to come out if they feel supported, safe and they know the people around them respect LGBT+ identities.