10 tips on coming out

We asked readers and our writers their top tips on how to come out. Remember, that everybody’s experience is different and not all these tips will work in your particular circumstances, but we liked the following top tips.

1) Only come out if it is what you want to do.

If you feel pressured into coming out, remember that it has to be your decision. It is a big decision to make in your life and the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with what you are doing.

2) Treat it like a bandaid and just tear it off.

Quick and almost painless. Just tell them, quickly, confidently and get it over with.

3) Don’t approach the situation like you’re about to announce you’re terminally ill.

Body language and the tone of your voice will play a massive role in how people react to what you’re saying.

4) Do it the way you most feel comfortable!

I told my Dad by letter, but my friends mainly face to face…it just got easier the more I did it.

5) Speaking to a helpline, like Switchboard – first.

If you’re not sure what to say. Talking with a counsellor or helpline can help you find the words you need to describe what you’re feeling.

6) Talk about someone else’s coming out.

If you’re not sure how to bring it up, casually talk about a celebrity’s recent coming out like Tom Daley or Charlie King and gauge the reaction before going any further.

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7) If you don’t get the reaction you expect, don’t be put off.

You will get some negative reactions, but that is their problem not yours. The amount of positive reactions will far outweigh the negative ones.

8) It’s not an all or nothing deal.

You don’t HAVE to tell everyone all at once. Start off with one person and let it grow organically from there.

9) Don’t apologise.

10) There is no right or wrong way to come out.

It should be a tailor-made experience, as individual as you are.

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11) Don’t come out

If you think that doing so is going to put your life in danger or make your living situation a living nightmare. Living with homophobic or transphobic parents or guardians could put the roof over your head into jeopardy by coming out. It’s so unfortunate, but for many it’s an outcome that sees them living on the streets. Work towards living independently, where it can be “your house, your rules”. In the meantime, find your tribe – your people, the people you feel most comfortable with -at school, at work, online. Share stories, be yourself with them and try to carve out an authentic life, until you’re able to be free.


This article was first published in 2014 and has been updated. We’ll continue to update it with more tips and advice as we get it.

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