TIPS ON ALLYSHIP GENERALLY

COMING OUT ADVICE FOR QUEER FOLKS

MY COMING OUT STORY

Things queer folks want cishet* folks to know about coming out…

*Cishet = cisgender + heterosexual, i,e, a person who is not queer or trans.

COMING OUT IS DIFFICULT & TERRIFYING

Coming out is often one of the most difficult things we do. We often prepare for these moments for months, if not years. That is, to stand up in a cisheteronormative world that constantly tries to erase our very existence and declare with pride and power that this is who we are takes incredible courage. Due to rampant queerphobia, coming out is also a big risk. It is often painful, stressful, and anxiety-provoking. The best thing you can do in response is be kind, compassionate, and accepting.

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU; WE DON’T OWE YOU OUR IDENTITY

Our coming out processes are not about you and your feelings. We don’t come out for you. We come out for us. Don’t complain about us not having told you sooner. Don’t express pain at losing some part of who you perceived us to be (i.e. Don’t tell a trans guy you will miss his womanhood, don’t tell a gay woman that you will miss talking about boys with her.) Don’t make the moment about you and how you feel about it. It’s their moment, not yours.

EXPRESS GRATITUDE, SUPPORT & PROTECTION

If someone comes out to you, that often means they trust you. This is sacred, very personal information, so appreciate that they felt comfortable sharing it with you.

You might say something like this—

”Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I’m really glad you trust me with this information. I’m here to support you however I can.”

Remember that in over 70 countries around the world you can be jailed or executed for being queer. We need your active protection – both emotionally and politically. Support us and vote for people who will protect our rights.

RESPECT OUR PRIVACY

Just because a queer person tells you about their queer identity does NOT automatically mean the information is now public to everyone. Assume confidentiality unless explicitly told otherwise.

Sharing someone’s queerness with others without the queer person’s consent is called “outing.’ Outing can be a very harmful and toxic act. Not only do you rob someone of their agency over their own story and disclosure, but you also might potentially put that person in an unsafe situation.

WE KNOW OURSELVES BEST

Our identities do not depend on others’ opinions of our identities. That is, if we don’t “act gay” or “look trans” or “seem bisexual” because of how you perceive us to be, that doesn’t mean we are any less of who we are. It just means you didn’t/don’t see it, and that’s okay.

In fact, the belief that LGBTQ+ identities always have a specific look is toxic and harmful. There is no one way to be trans, gay, queer, bisexual, pansexual, etc. Allow us the space to know and be ourselves.

WE ARE JUST PEOPLE

It’s easy to see someone who has a different sexuality or gender history from you as weird or different but the reality is that we are still just people and we have so much more common ground with you than you might realize.

Recognize this common ground and remember that us coming out is not changing who we are. It’s us finally having the words, courage, and agency to express who we’ve always truly been.

 COMING OUT NEVER ENDS

Many cishet* folks see coming out as a single, one-time event. This is rarely the case. Coming out is a continuous, often never-ending process. Many queer folks must come out over and over again in order to claim their identities. This can be both exhausting and liberating.

*Cishet = cisgender + heterosexual, i,e, a person who is not queer or trans.

EDUCATE YOURSELF AND BE CAREFUL ASKING QUESTIONS

Your queer friend is not your queer encyclopedia. Use resources like this instead and recognize that it is not on the LGBTQ+ person to educate you on everything LGBTQ+. That is your responsibility.

Although some LGBTQ+ folks will welcome your (appropriately & kindly phrased) questions, but many won’t. If you ask a question and someone refuses to answer or even angers in response, respect that. You are not entitled to an explanation by them.

Visit the following webpages to learn about trans related topics: