10 Things No One Tells You About Coming Out
We all know the stereotypical coming out story. There’s lots of crying, yelling, strife, and also a newfound sense of self. Here are things no one EXPECTS when they come out though…
1. You’re suddenly expected to be an educational activist.
People expect you to have a profound textbook knowledge of every queer identity. It doesn’t matter if you’re trans femme. People will ask you to educate them about the proper way to talk to and about a cisgender gay man.
Believe it or not, you are not obligated to answer everyone’s question. You are not a bad queer person if you don’t. Coming out of the closet does not mean you are every cisgender heterosexuals’ Google. They can use the internet if they really want get educated.
2. People think you speak for EVERYONE under your umbrella term.
Oh, you identify as non-binary? Let me ask you a million questions about being non-binary at large and take your answers to speak for everyone who also identifies as non-binary. “You’re non-binary and started HRT. Does that mean every non-binary person wants to transition to an extent?” Or the flip side: “well I know this other non-binary person and they didn’t feel the need to do HRT, so you must not!”
Or how about people understand that one person’s experience does not speak for everyone else that identifies in a similar way.
3. Suddenly people you barely knew start asking EXTREMELY personal questions that they have no right asking.
“Are you going to transition?”
“Have you ever tried straight sex?” (What does straight sex even mean. Come on, now.)
“Please tell me the extremely personal story of how you came out of the closet.”
“Do you have a… you know… down there?”
“What do you tell your partners?”
“Can you have one night stands?”
If they wouldn’t ask a random cishet person these questions, why are they asking a random queer person? Never feel like you have to answer these questions like a specimen under scrutiny. You’re just a human with the same rights to privacy as anyone else.
4. People are going to try to set you up with the ONE other queer person they know.
You’re glad your friends have a super cool pansexual, trans friend. Guess what though? You’re not automatically going to date someone just because they’re queer too. It may come as a surprise to your friends, but you like to date based off of common interests and values. Not just mutual queerness.
5. If you hang out with any other queer person, you two MUST be dating.
God forbid you are friends with someone because you two share mutual experiences over things cishets will never get. Nope. You HAVE to date them. Platonic relationships are unnecessary and not real to queer people.
6. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been out. People will keep asking you if you’re sure about your identity.
Okay there are two big problems with this one. 1) People have no right to question the validity of YOUR identity. They are not YOU. They can not tell you that you’re not trans or gay or bi or whatever. Only YOU can. 2) Have they not considered fluidity? Sexuality and gender can be fluid and no one is obligated to ALWAYS identify with the same label their entire life.
7. You’re never going to look queer enough or you’re going to look too queer.
There’s no pleasing everyone, and as soon as you come out people expect you to look one way or another. Those expectations are all social constructs, so don’t let them get you down. There’s not a right or wrong way to look.
8. You’re going to lose someone.
No matter how wonderful your friends and family is, you’re going to alienate at least one person in your social group. Even they might not expect it. It can be hard for people who thought they were allies to be face to face with someone they know coming out. Saying they’re supportive is one thing; showing they’re supportive is a completely different thing.
Sometimes they’ll get over it and you two will rebuild your relationship stronger before. Sometimes though they can’t handle it, and you lose someone you never thought you’d have to lose.
9. Despite that, you’re going to make countless new friends that just GET you.
When one door closes, another opens. When you’re out you can fully and proudly be in the LGBTQIA+ community and meet so many amazing people that will support you endlessly.
Losing someone hurts. A lot. But if they couldn’t accept you, you’ll find better friends out there.
10. Lastly, no matter how scary it is or how dangerous it can be, nothing beats the feeling of no longer having to hide who you are.
Being out is not easy. No one will lie to you about that. You’re going to face a lot of hardships and ridicule when you’re out of the closet. At the end of the day though, you are who you are, and you do not need to feel shame over that ever again. You are valid and wonderful and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.