Coming out is different for everyone. That makes it hard to talk about things that will be true in each case.
These things are true for almost everyone.
Timing is important. Do not do it at a time of high stress, like a birthday, anniversary, or crisis. It is better to do it when everyone is happy and calm.
You may need to come out more than once. People often do not believe you at first or think it will go away.
You may not get the response you want at first. Try very hard to stay calm, even if people say things that hurt you.
Do not expect them to accept you right away. Many people need time to process something this big.
Answer all their questions. Try to be honest and not angry or defensive.
Writing a letter can help. This is a good way to put all your thoughts in one place. Try to imagine how they will feel and what they might ask. A good coming out letter talks about how much they mean to you, things you love about them, and why you want them to know. You should tell them what you hope for your relationship in the future. If you plan to give them a letter, don’t make it too long. Focus on why you value them and why you need their acceptance.
Come out to them in person. Do not text, email, or call someone. Do not leave a letter or note for them to find when you are not there. If they live far away, you can do video, but it is always better to come out in person. If you are too scared to say it out loud, you can give them a letter to read while you are with them.
How people might act when you tell them
Sometimes in life our family is not happy with us. That is often OK. Good people do not always agree. We can not pick our family, and they can not pick us.
Some family members might use threats when you come out, like kicking you out of the house or not paying for things you need. Try not to respond in anger.
Some may try to hurt you or even themselves to make you change your mind. When you are under 18 and living at home, you are completely in their control. That means you have to work within their control.
Many people fear change, even if it would be change for the better. Not just family, either. You might, too.
Do everything you can to get family support, but it may not happen. It may take time and a lot of work. Many people will support you in time.
You love and accept your family despite their flaws. They should do the same for you. You should show unconditional love to get unconditional love in return.
Transition requires realistic expectations and self-acceptance. You must be OK with who you are before you come out to others. Without realistic expectations and self-acceptance, your coming out and your transition will not succeed.
Many of us spend so much of our lives trying to please others that we do not take the time to look inward and do what would please ourselves.
If you know in your heart that you should transition and have no doubts, then you should share this with your loved ones in a carefully planned way.
For young people
I have a lot of tips on coming out info for young people. These work for anyone.
Coming out about your gender: first-hand reports
Please review this site’s section on family issues for more information on this sensitive topic.
- Letters to Loved ones [archive]
Gianna Israel (counselsuite.com)
- Telling Parents [archive]
- Why bother coming out? [archive]