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A Friend Comes Out to You

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Why not explore our word of the day:

Biromantic

When a friend or family member comes out to you, you might feel:

  • Honoured
  • Like you want to help them
  • Uncomfortable
  • Not sure what to say
  • Concerned for the person

And that’s okay, this is new to you. But your friend or family member has probably been thinking about how to come out to you for a long time.

We have put together some tips to support you and your friend or family member

  • Don’t overreact or make a big deal out of it.
  • Thank them for trusting you and let them know you won’t tell anyone without their permission (Just because your friend has told you does not mean they want everyone to know about their identity. Let your friend choose how and when they tell others.)
  • Don’t try to compare them to others and don’t make assumptions.
  • Remind them you’re there if they do need to talk or for support.
  • Don’t ask rude or really personal questions.
  • Ask them if they need anything.
  • If your friend comes out to you about their gender identity, ask which pronouns (she, he, they, etc.) they would like you to use for them.
You are just going through a phase” or “You are just confused.
  • Being LGBT+ is something your friend has probably realised about themselves a while ago. They are not confused and this is not a phase. Being LGBT+ is not a choice; the only choice is who they share this part of their identity with and how. Your friend must trust you a lot if they have shared this with you.
You don’t look or act lesbian/gay/bi/trans, etc
  • The media often portrays LGBT+ people in a certain way and sometimes LGBT+ people feel pressured to look or act a certain way because of that. But there is not one way for LGBT+ people to look or act. The LGBT+ community is very diverse, and people shouldn’t feel pressured to look or act in any way that is not true to who they are.
I LOVE gay people.
  • Although it is great you feel positively about the LGBT+ community, this phrase makes it sound as though you love a person solely because they are gay and not for who they are as a person.
I always knew you were LGBT+.
  • This could be quite a scary thing for your friend to hear. They might worry about telling others going forward. They may also be concerned with others talking about them, or they might feel pressured to change the way they act or look in case that might “out” them to others.

An ally is a straight or cisgender person who supports LGBT+ rights and the LGBT+ community.

You can be a better ally by:

  • Not judging others and creating spaces where people can be themselves.
  • Challenging LGBTphobia (homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, etc.) when you see and hear it.
  • Talking about, learning about and celebrating LGBT+ people and their history.
  • Improving your knowledge using resources like our “Come Out & Say It! Guide”.

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