Coming out is the process of letting other people know that you’re LGB, trans or non-binary. Before you do this for the first time it is likely you will have thought a lot about it yourself. You may already know what your identity is, or it may be that telling someone else that you think you might be LGBT is part of the process of helping you work it out for yourself.
Coming out is usually a process, not something we only do once – unless your coming out video goes viral on social media and the whole world suddenly knows! Most people start by telling a close friend or family member, then gradually letting more and more people around them know. You may find it easier to speak to someone on an LGBT helpline if you want to talk about this before speaking to friends and family.
Many people feel anxious coming out for the first time. This may be because you are nervous, or because you don’t know what the person’s reaction will be. You will only know for sure how someone will react once you tell them. They might be immediately accepting or they might take some time to process it – remember it is new to them, even though you may have thought about it for a long time.
There’s no ‘right time’ to come out, it will depend on what works best for you and your situation.
Have a look at our coming out and social groups, some of which might help you with the process of coming out or at least provide you with a safe space to process and sort your feelings and thoughts. Changes is a coming out group for lesbian and bisexual women, while Turning Point is a coming out group for gay and bisexual men. T on Tuesday is for anyone who is exploring their gender.
Check out these videos of volunteers from our Turning Point group talking about coming out. These were recorded during the Corona Virus lockdown in April 2020.
"When did you first know you were attracted to other people of the same sex?"
"What was your coming out journey like?"