Coming Out

The coming out process is exciting, challenging, scary and beautiful. Knowing that every journey with the coming out process is unique, Ohio State wants to support all LGBTQ+ students in their self-discovery process.

Want to talk? Do not hesitate to get in touch with the Student Life Multicultural Center's Intercultural Specialist for LGBTQ Student Initiatives, Ari Grubaugh, at grubaugh.20@osu.edu.

Coming Out Resources

While every coming out journey is unique, you can still rely on the knowledge of those who have come out before you. Below are resources to assist you in the coming out process.

Coming Out Tips

Here are some helpful tips for coming out:

  • There is no right or wrong time to come out.
  • Be patient and kind with yourself. It’s not necessary to tell everyone at once. Take your time. Do not push yourself.
  • Start small. It can be easier to start by telling friends before telling family. If you think a family member will be easier to tell, start there.
  • Develop a support network of friends who are accepting and supportive.
  • Be positive. When you come out to someone, you set the tone.
  • Find resources or a mentor you can talk to.
  • Be patient with others. Realize that some people may need some time to adjust, but do not compromise who you are for the comfort of others.
  • If you’re unsure of your sexual orientation or gender identity, finding someone who will be there for you as you explore your identity can be very helpful.
  • Ask LGBTQ+ friends and family members to share their coming out stories.
  • Refer parents and friends to PFLAG and other resources that might help.
  • Be prepared for different reactions.
  • Always consider your personal safety when coming out. It is okay to choose not to come out because of safety concerns.
  • There is no right or wrong time to come out.
  • Coming out is a lifelong process that varies as you progress. At the end of the day, your identity and your life have value and you deserve loverespect and support from yourself and others.

*Adapted from the UCLA LGBT Resource Center

For Allies: When Someone Comes Out to You

Here are some helpful tips for allies when someone comes out to them:

  • Be patient. Allow them to tell you at their own pace. Let them determine what they need.
  • Do not push. A person who is coming out may have a hard time talking about it. Do not force them to disclose anything.
  • Acknowledge the risk they took by coming out to you. Compliment their courage.
  • Do not minimize the importance of what they did by saying things like, “It doesn’t matter to me.” Instead say, “Thank you for trusting me;” say, “It doesn’t change how I feel about you;” or admit that it might change things – in a positive way.
  • Do not ask intrusive questions like, “Is this a phase?” or “Does that mean you’re attracted to me?” Instead ask, “How can I continue to support you?”
  • If they – and you – are comfortable with it, offer a hug or other show of support.
  • Keep their confidence by being respectful of their privacy.
  • Ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

*Adapted from the UCLA LGBT Resource Center