Lots of people might wonder how to tell their friends they’re LGBTQ+. It can be a big decision! There are lots of reasons someone might want to come out of the closet. But there’s also lots of reasons why someone might decide not to come out.
Coming out when you’re a teen can be especially hard. Lots of people depend on adults to take care of them. A lot of them worry about how people will react when they come out.
Coming out the first time can be really hard. It can help to do it in a place where you feel safe with people you trust. You can also make a backup plan in case things don’t go well.
If you need extra support, you can call a hotline like Gai Écoute, Trans Lifeline or Tel-Jeunes. Coming out can also be a great experience! It can help you feel like yourself and get closer with your friends.
How do I know if someone’s safe to come out to?
If you’re nervous about how someone will react, you can try seeing what they think about LGBTQ+ things. This can help you see their opinions and how they might react if you come out. You can talk about:
- LGBTQ+ news
- A famous LGBTQ+ person
- A movie, tv show or book with LGBTQ+ characters
Knowing how someone talks about other LGBTQIA+ things might help you figure out how they’d react.
Thinking about risks
Some people might be around lots of people who support LGBTQIA+ people! But other people might not be somewhere where it’s safe to come out. You can think about the risks of coming out to your friends, like if they might tell anyone that you don’t want them to. It can help to tell the person you want to come out to who you’ve told and who you’re okay with them telling.
A big part of deciding to come out is thinking about what other people might do. If you’re relying on adults then you can think about how they would react. Sometimes it can be safer to wait until you’ve moved out.
Coming out of the closet on your terms
You can come out to your friends at any time! That’s true whether you’re confident in your LGBTQ+ identity or you’re questioning.
Friends can be a great support system! Some people might want to talk to their friends right when they start questioning. But other people might want to wait until they’re more comfortable with their identity before they tell anyone. Both are okay!
There’s no one way to come out to your friends. Some people like a face-to-face conversation. Other people might want to text or email. Some people also like using social media because they can come out to a lot of people at once. The way you come out is your decision. You get to pick a way that makes you feel excited and helps you feel safe!
How do I plan what to say when I come out?
You can’t be sure how any conversation will go. But you can decide how to start the conversation. You can also think about what you want to say if your friends have different reactions. You can think about questions like:
- Do I want to have a serious talk or bring it up casually?
- What will you do if someone doesn’t respond well?
- Who are you okay with knowing about it?
- Is there anything you don’t want to talk about?
Coming out is about you! You get to chose when you want to come out, who you’ll tell, and how you do it.
What do I do if they react badly?
Some friends might not react well when you come out. This can happen even if they seem accepting at first. It can help to remember that you had a long time to get used to you identity and they’re just learning about it now. They might just need some time to get used to it.
If your friend reacts badly, you get to decide what you want to do. You can try and make it work or chose to stop spending time with them. There are lots of people who will accept who you are!
If you’re looking for more LGBTQIA+ people to be friends with, you can look for events at Project 10 or the West Island LGBT Youth Centre!