Today is International Coming Out Day and I’m not gonna lie it’s a day I hate. Although groups promote it and add “but hey, do it when you’re ready!” I just feel the day itself puts so much pressure on people to come out when they’re not ready.
I’m not saying the day is a bad day, I just don’t like it.
Coming out is a process and my work with the helpline, and other organisation, has shown me that not everyone is ready to come out. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t, just that, as I said, they’re not ready.
I wasn’t. Is anyone ever?
I wasn’t forced out, I came out of my own accord, on my terms, when I thought the time was right, but I definitely wasn’t ready. Again, are we ever?
Coming out means sharing our secret. It can be a challenging time and it’s not always positive. My own experience was both positive and negative. I had good reactions from some and awful reactions from others.
Discovery, acceptance, integration – The three stages of coming out and each and every one of us that goes through the stages does so differently. Most people tell a friend first. I didn’t. I told my parents. But as soon as they knew, everyone knew!
I did it on my day, not an international day. And yes, I could tell you the date because it’s burned into the album of my memory, but it’s my date and it stays with me and always will. Because that’s how I want it and that’s how I did it and how I wanted to do it.
As the saying goes, you do you.