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Life can feel very different before you come out compared to after; it's a liberating experience that can make you feel more confident about yourself, like you are finally able to show the world your true self. And no matter what you might come up against, you can fight it as the person you really are, not the person you think the world wants you to be.
But as with everything that happens in life, some people won't fully understand and some people will choose to be jerks about it. So, there are some things that you need to know for when you are ready to come out.
Some People Are A-Holes
You probably already knew this, but the offensive nature of people can seem even more upsetting when you first come out. I think that once you have been out for a while, you develop kind of a thick skin and you are capable of ignoring those people who are just trying to be nasty or to get a reaction out of you. Don't give them one. A reaction is what they want; just walk away and leave them to their own stupidity.
You will get comments from these people, and they won't be nice ones. Don't let them get to you and don't take their bait; it's not worth your effort or your energy.
Some People Don't Mean To Be A-Holes
But it's how they come across. Some people genuinely are curious about your life and about the LGBT+ community, but they don't know how to word their questions or they don't realize that what they are saying is actually quite offensive.
Try not to lose your patience with these people. If they are genuinely curious, then explain things to them. You never know, they may be asking all of these questions because they are preparing to come out
There Are Some Jerks In The LGBT+ Community
People don't want to believe it, but there are some really horrible people in the LGBT+ community. They are exclusionary, racist, and really small-minded.
In fact, the most prejudice I have ever come across has been from members of the community. As a feminine lesbian, I have been refused entry to clubs, asked where my boyfriend was and, on one occasion, even threatened and told to leave a club! I stood up to her and in the end she left, so if you do come across this kind of behavior, stand up for yourself.
But these people are not representative of the whole community For the most part, people will be welcoming, just don't let the jerks put you off.
People Will Probably Try to Set You Up
And if you're into that, great; but if you're not, then it can be a minefield! When people offer to set you up, they are only trying to help, and refusing someone's offer of help is a bit awkward because their heart is in the right place. A simple, "thank you, but I don't think I'm quite there yet," has always worked for me.
Coming Out Takes a While
And it can be as scary as the first time, for a little bit. I grew up in a house full of gossips, so my news traveled fast, but you might have to tell different people for at least a few months until everyone knows. And it kind of continues into your adult life; I still have to come out to people on a regular basis through work when they ask me about my "husband," but it does get easier and less scary.
Only Come Out When You're Ready
Coming out is a totally personal thing and nobody should do it until they are totally ready and not one second before. Don't let anyone pressure you into coming out, but when you do, life can seem a little less dark and a little more positive.