Natasha Says: How To Support Your Friend Coming Out
Your teen years are all about discovering who you are. For many young people this is also the lifestage where they discover their sexuality and identify themselves. What I’m referencing here is “Coming Out”. Coming out can be a really exhilarating but also anxiety provoking process. It’s not the kind of thing you can do in one fell swoop, like ripping off a proverbial bandaid. It’s a process that needs to be repeated over and over again. It’s like public speaking for months/years straight. (Or not so straight in this case)~Natash
Writer, comedienne, career lesbian and blogger. You can find most of Tash’s thoughts at www.Effort-Lez.com
So what can you to support a friend coming out?
- Talk to them about other OUT queer persons you know. This may make then feel more comfortable about you accepting them as well. Maybe even introduce them to other queer friends you know.
- Help find resources. If you feel your friend could benefit from more support maybe point them to organizations and LGBTQ clubs and organizations
- Do respect their confidentiality. It’s important to individuals coming out that their sexuality/gender identity is disclosed only to those they feel safe with when they feel comfortable doing so. You may be proud and want to celebrate your friend, but do refrain from sharing their news with others without their consent.
- As an LGBTQ ally its hard to imagine that people can be intolerant. Jerks do exist however and they may make appearances in your friends coming out process. LGBTQ persons face much discrimination. They worry about violence, job security, are bullied etc and their worries are legitimate. Be prepared to listen support and point to resources when necessary.
- Help them rehearse their coming out speech, write coming out letters and notes. For many people working up the confidence to say the words “ I’m Gay/Queer/Lesbian/Pansexual…” to important people in their lives is very difficult. Having a friend be a sounding board or re-read letters and offer reassurance can be that boost on confidence they need.
- Include and extend extra invites. Your friend may loose connections with friends and family along the way. Your friendship may be even more important to them now, especially during special occasions like the holidays.
- Make your friends a coming out card. Coming out is a celebration of identity! How do we celebrate most life events? With cards. Why not make a card that says something like “Congratulations you’re my Superqueero”
- Celebrate milestones. With every “Coming out” conversation you’re friend is closer to living openly as who they feel they are. Celebrate the successes!
- Most of all just act normal. Well as normal as you both were to begin with. Your friend hasn’t changed they are the same person. They still want to binge watch Netflix, make YouTube videos and kick your butt at swimming. So just go about being the duo you always have been. Business as usual.