tips for coming out as lgbtq

How to Come Out Like a Goddamn Boss

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4.1% of the country identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender in 2016. While 4.1% doesn’t sound like a huge number, take a minute to consider it in context of the 325 million-person population of the US. That comes out (see what we did there?) to more than 13 million badass LGBTQ individuals and that’s just counting the people who are open about their sexuality.

It’s safe to say we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re #unapologeticAF. We’re also here to offer our experience, strength, and hope to younger LGBTQ guys, gals, and non-binary individuals. That’s right, we’ll tell you how to come out like the boss you already are!

Find tips, tricks, and ideas for coming out below. Some of these are Hustler Hollywood exclusives and some are ideas we’ve crowdsourced. Remember, there’s an entire world out there that’s supportive, amazing, and ready for you to add your queer self to it!

Don’t Feel Like You HAVE to Come Out

It might seem strange to start a list of tips for coming out by saying that you don’t HAVE to come out, but it’s important to remember. You’re the only person in charge of your sexuality. This means you don’t owe anyone an explanation, not even your friends and family.

So, if you don’t want to come out for whatever reason, you don’t have to! We’ll say it again for the folks in the back – coming out is your choice and yours alone.

Don’t feel pressured to be out. Don’t feel pressured to be part of the amazing, diverse, and incredibly powerful queer community (though we hope you’ll join us!). Don’t feel pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable with.

Okay, we’re getting down from the soapbox now!

read other people's coming out stories

Read Other People’s Coming Out Stories

You know what’s super cool? There are millions upon millions of people who have come out as gay, lesbian, bi, trans/non-binary, asexual, and all shades between. While their stories aren’t ALL online and in print, a lot of them are.

Make use of their experiences. Start reading and don’t stop until you’ve read tips from the Pride Resource Center, awesome coming-out ideas from Buzzfeed, the English take at The Guardian, info for Asian Pacific Americans from the Human Rights Campaign, and more.

Don’t stop reading until you feel part of the queer community. Speaking of which…

Use Online Communities for Support

We live in a world of constant digital communication. From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the awesomeness of Tumblr (our personal pick for most supportive and inclusive social media!) to subreddits focused on promoting LGBTQ community building to good, old-fashioned queer forums – your options for online community are literally endless.

Make use of them. You might feel alone and frightened, but guess what? So did everyone in these communities at some point. They survived, thrived, and are that much stronger for it. You will be too, we promise.

Come Out to a Couple of Your Close Friends First

You don’t have to make the switch from closeted to out and proud in one day. Dip your toes in the water by telling a couple of your close, trusted friends first. Not only will this help you get an immediate sense of love and support, but you’ll also get a feel for how most of the people in your life are going to react.

Make no mistake – not everyone is going to respond positively when you come out. It would be irresponsible for us to say that. This is especially true for people in conservative or religious communities. Still, it’s 2018 and most of the people you meet are going to be cool with your sexuality.

use online communities for support

Get Creative

We mentioned Buzzfeed’s list of creative ways to come out above, but let’s take a closer look here. Sure, telling your friends and family you’re gay, lesbian, bi, or trans is one way to come out, but what about baking them a cake, using GIFs, or making it a milestone on Facebook?

A Google search of “creative ways to come out” returns over four million results. There’s one in there that’s perfect for you.

Sometimes You’ll Get a Negative Reaction

Our tips for coming out so far have been a lot of warm and fuzzies because you’re a human being announcing your sexuality to the world. That deserves all the warm, fuzzy, proud, awesome, high-fiving reactions there are! Be your badass self in all its queer glory!

However, it’s important to talk about the negative reaction. We really, really, really hope you don’t experience these, but some people are probably going to respond negatively when you come out.

So, if someone does react in a negative or neutral way when you tell them who you are, don’t stress! This isn’t ideal, of course, but it happens. It’s important to remember that they might need time to process this info just like you needed time to come out in the first place.

The good news is there are as many resourcesstoriesstudies, and advice articles on dealing with negative reactions as there are about positive reactions. Check them out! Get a feel for how people might react. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Remember You’re Legally Protected

From marriage equality to hate crime laws to employment discrimination protection, there are A LOT of LGBTQ laws on the books in the United States. It’s super important to remember these when you’re preparing to come out.

Not only are you a perfectly imperfect human being just like everyone else, but the law is on your side!

lgbtq laws and marriage equality

Our current presidential administration has expressed a number of troubling opinions towards LGBTQ rights, but thankfully, individual agencies and representatives within Federal and State governments have largely disagreed with these stances. While it remains to be seen how the president and his cabinet will try to shape queer rights, you can be sure that organizations like the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and of course Hustler will fight the good fight every step of the way.

And there you have it – tips on how to come out of the closet like a goddamn boss! Do you have a cool coming out story? Share it with us on social media. We might feature it in the future! Oh and don’t forget to pick up a Gay AF Pride shirt in men’s or women’s sizes!