Coming out is a part of our lives as LGBTQ+ individuals. Being heterosexual, cisgender, allosexual and alloromantic are all normative and accepted identities to have, as they are the most common. They are so common that these terms aren’t even very often used as labels because it is simply expected of you to be the same as the majority. This is where coming out gets involved.
Those of us who do not fall into these categories become a part of the LGBTQ+ community if that is how we wish to identify and that usually involves coming out. Whether you just come out to yourself or your family or a close friend, it’s still a big step that is massively important to many of us as being openly LGBTQ+ is still unsafe for many of us.
Once you come out, it’s a relief even if it’s just one person and eventually after a while, you come out to more and more people around you and your life gradually adjusts to the new authentic you. But what if your identity changes?
When I came out for the very first time it was as bisexual and that’s it. Now I identify as nonbinary — more specifically agender and queer — but I did a lot of changing between these identities and I could have more evolutions.
Changing your labels is totally valid, even if it is a little scary. For me, there was always this fear that the people around me would turn on me for continually changing what I felt my identity was. I feared that my friends and family would start to believe I was faking my identities for attention.
Unfortunately, these concerns can become a reality, based off how accepting the people around you are. But if you have already come out once before, it is likely that your friends and family are going to be on the more accepting side the second or third or fourth time around, as well. You can come out as many times as you want to depending on how your identity changes.
Humans are always changing and having new experiences that shape and define us. Also, gender identity and sexuality can be confusing, so it can be helpful to try on labels to see what works and what fits for you! Exploration is key and never be afraid to be yourself even if the you of 2020 is different from the you of 2019.
While there are exclusionists within the LGBTQ+ community, there are also those of us who are accepting no matter what identity you have or how many times you change it. Your community is here for you — just take it from someone who has been straight woman, a bisexual woman, a gay transman, and now a queer agender person that you can and will find support within our community.
If you are in need of support, please look into your high school or college’s GSA, as these are great places to meet other LGBTQ+ people who can potentially help put you in contact with local resources if you have questions about your identity or concerns about coming out — whether it be the first or the third time you’ve done it.
You can also try the Human Rights Campaigns coming out resource guide which is linked here: http://www.hrc.org/resources/resource-guide-to-coming-out
About the Author:
James Tinkler is a 21 year old college student living in Central Florida. James is a gay trans masc person, but doesn’t use pronouns at the moment. James is a psychology major and a humanities minor. James wants to be a therapist one day and help trans kids access medical care, and loves Harry Potter, Bad Suns, and LGBTQ activism. James was Vice President of the LGBTQ group on James’ campus for a year, and will continue to keep activism close to James’ heart in everything James does.