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, Jeff Perkins, at perkins.589@osu.edu.

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

Additional Resources

Explore these additional resources on coming out: