Before I was comfortable with the word “gay”, I didn’t really understand the process of coming out. I assumed it was a one-time thing, where a gay person made the announcement by shouting their sexuality from a megaphone atop the tallest building in the city. I’ve since learned that coming out is an ongoing process… one that can be both devastating and exhilarating. Even for me, a Christian lesbian just out of my twenties, it’s a process. Yes, I first came out to a friend a few years ago. But even now, it’s something I still find myself doing from time to time. Here are a few tips I’d like to offer from my experiences:
#1- PRAY! God knows what you need before you ask Him. Spend lots of time talking with Him about your feelings. Don’t be ashamed to be completely real and raw with Him. He knows you, and you can’t hide your thoughts from Him. Ask Him for the wisdom, strength, and courage you need. Ask Him to show you when the time is right.
#2- Start small. Don’t just jump into the wild unknown with your message of sexual liberation. Remember… you’ve known you’re gay for quite some time. Others may need time to warm up to the idea. If you feel it’s time for you to come out, begin by confiding in someone who you know will accept you. This will help you build the confidence you need, and give you momentum for the future.
#3- Don’t come out until you’re ready. Coming out is an extremely personal journey. Don’t let anyone tell you when you should or shouldn’t come out. If you are younger than 18, or still living with your parents, then I recommend that you don’t come out unless you are positive it will go well. There are too many cases of LGBT youth being put out on the streets. Although it may be unlikely, protect yourself!
#4- Have resources ready. Sometimes people can’t hear you because they’re too busy thinking about their rebuttal. This (of course) usually consists of a “Clobber Passage” combo-punch. Be prepared, and be calm. Getting upset or violent will not help you win your case. Know what you believe, and know why you believe it. Be comfortable knowing that they may not accept what you have to say… but at least you have resources to back you up. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to write down some websites where they can find information about gay Christians, or talk to friends and family of other LGBT’s.
#5- Consider counseling. Although it’s not entirely necessary, it’s extremely helpful. This really helped me solidify my emotions, and feel confident and valid as a person. It’s not uncommon for others to make you feel invalidated when you come out. Know your worth in God’s eyes, and understand that while other peoples’ acceptance of you would be nice, it’s not a requirement.