For many people who identify as LGBTQIA+, coming out is a process that often requires repeating again and again. Thankfully, there are many resources available for coming out as LGBTQ. The process is unique for everyone, and there is no right or wrong way to come out, but having these resources available can make a world of difference — and in light of National Coming Out Week, these resources can be especially important.
For many people in the queer community, coming out involves risks; losing family, friends, and even employment or housing, depending on where you live and what laws protect you, are all major concerns. What's more, coming out can be scary on an emotional level, too. In a world where we see overwhelmingly heterosexual and cisgender images and narratives, identifying as LGBTQ can feel isolating.
That's where these resources come in. They can help people recognize their own sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as help them feel more comfortable coming out to their loved ones. It's common for people to come out to different people in different ways — for example, the way you come out to your parents is not always the same approach you use with your friends or classmates. There is also no pressure to come out to everybody at the same time, unless you want to. Coming out can be a lifelong process, and it's important for each individual to do what's best for them.
National Coming Out Week typically occurs in mid-October; National Coming Out Day is observed on Oct.11, with most places celebrating National Coming Out Week between Oct. 10 and Oct. 14. While National Coming Out Week or Day obviously aren't the only times someone might choose to come out — if it's something you want to do, do it whenever and however you feel like it — now is an especially relevant time to look at some of the best resources for coming out as LGBTQ. This list is far from exhaustive, and again, there's no right or wrong way to come out — but know that if you need them, these organizations have your back.
1. The "It Gets Better" Project
The "It Gets Better" Project offers a huge amount of information for LGBTQ people who are questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. Bullying and harassment against LGBTQ youth is a huge issue, and the "It Gets Better" Project works to support young people who are suffering from anti-LGBTQ bias and harassment. They are an excellent resource for support and advice, as well as how to have conversations about coming out.
2. The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is an amazing resource for LGBTQ youth, especially those who may be feeling depressed or anxious or having suicidal thoughts as a result of anti-LGBTQ bullying and isolation. The project's guide, Coming Out As You , offers advice on how to come out in a way that is safe and healthiest for you. They also have a free hotline, a free chat service, and a free text messaging service for those who are in need of support and guidance.
3. The LGBT Aging Center
When we talk about coming out, it's often in reference to young people and teenagers. The fact is, however, that many, many people come out later in life. It's important that people have support and resources no matter what age they choose to come out — which is why it's so great that the LGBT Aging Center has resources specifically for people who come out about their sexual orientation or gender identity late in life. The LGBT Aging Center has a plethora of resources specific to this demographic, including information on employment laws, having supportive caregivers, and health-related issues.
4. The Human Rights Campaign
The HRC is one of the more well-known groups that deal with LGBTQ rights overall; they have a wide range of resources available for people across the board who are coming out. The HRC has specific resource guides for whether you identify and are coming out as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer person, all of which are available online. Their site also has a lot of helpful information on the history of LGBTQ issues, local LGBTQ events, LGBTQ causes in our media, and more, making it a great way to educate yourself and others all in one place.
5. Your Local Community Center
Depending on where you live, it's very possible your local community center has resources for the LGBTQ community. If you are a college student, it's also possible you have an LGBTQ center on your campus. Even if a queer-focused community space isn't available in your area, though, you can often find meet-up groups and local circles where you can make friends and seek guidance and advice from others who have been in your exact shoes. If you're feeling a little lost, searching for such groups on Facebook, Twitter, and even Tumblr can be a quick fix to pointing you in the right direction for your specific location.
Happy National Coming Out Week, everybody!