On National Coming Out Day, Here’s How You Can Show Your Support
October 11 is National Coming Out Day. Today we want to celebrate all of our LGBTQ+ people around the world. Whether you are coming out as gay, bisexual, pan, trans, or any of the other colors of the beautiful Pride rainbow, we understand it can be very difficult and even dangerous to be open with loved ones as well as the general public.
On National Coming Out Day, we wanted to start by offering ways that we can all support women (as well as men and non-binary folks) as they take that important step in their lives. If you are an ally or even an LGBTQ person who may not understand someone else’s identity, then check out the following ways you can support someone else who is coming out.
15 ways you can support a woman who is coming out
If a woman you love is coming out to you, it means she trusts you. Reassure her of your continued friendship and support. Fear of rejection is real.
It’s not about you
You may have feelings of hurt if you weren’t the first to know that your friend identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or something other than heterosexual. Try to remember, their coming out isn’t about you. It’s about them being ready to share in their own time, their own way. Just be there for them.
Respect her privacy
It’s not your place to share your friend or loved ones’ news. Let them tell who they want when they want.
Keep your curiosity in check
Don’t ask your friend questions that you wouldn’t have been considered appropriate before they came out to you. They may be LGBT or Q, but that doesn’t mean they welcome questions about their sex life now if they didn’t before.
Be an LGBTI+ Ally
Challenge homophobic comments. Speak up when you see or hear someone attacking members of the LGBTQ community. Help to create LGBTI+ friendly environments.
Stay the same
One of the biggest fears that LGBTQ people have when coming out is that it will change their relationships with loved ones. Keep things the same! Keep doing the things you’ve always done together.
Ask them what they need
Don’t assume your friend is looking for anything in particular. Instead, ask them what they need or would like from you. Perhaps they would love your support as they tell other people. Or, maybe they just want everything to remain how it has always been. There’s no better way to find out than by asking!
Maybe your friend is the type who wants to make a big deal of this momentous occasion. Or, maybe she just needs you to quietly listen. Make as big of a deal or as small of a deal as she needs it to be. But, leave that up to her.
Do not ask this
Just because your girlfriend is LGB or T, does not mean she is attracted to you. And this isn’t a good time to ask if you are curious.
Do ask this
Be kindly curious about their path leading up to this moment. If they are open to discussion, ask respectful questions about how they knew and what their journey has been like
Be open to new experiences
If your friend is nervous about going to LGBTQ events, offer to go with them. Allies are welcome at many LGBTQ events.
Validate their identity
Make sure you know exactly how they identify and the terminology that goes along with it. Coming out is hard! Don’t make them remind you who they are over and over again.
Ask your friend if they have resources for support. If not, help them gather the resources they need and find support networks and groups that could be helpful.
Do a little coming out yourself
If you haven’t yet, come out to your friends and family as an LGBTQ+ ally. You can do this by being vocal on social media, attending events put on by the LGBTQ community, donating to places that support the queer community, and by standing up for members of the LGBT community when needed.
Use National Coming Out Day and your friend’s coming out to you as an opportunity to begin educating yourself about the LGBTQ community. There is so much to learn and your friend will feel the love when she knows you are taking the time to understand her better.
National Coming Out Day may only come around once a year, but supporting the LGBTQ people in your life is something you can do when they come out and forever after. It’s not just a one-time thing! Read and re-read these tips for supporting those in your life who have been brave enough to be honest about who they are with you. Then go ahead and celebrate them!
The following are some important resources for members of the LGBTQ community.
- Equality Federation
- Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
- National LGBTQ Task Force
- Victory Fund
- Bisexual Resource Center
- Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
- GSA Network
- LGBTQ Student Resources & Support
- Point Foundation
- Safe Schools Coalition
- The Trevor Project
- National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
- Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- Transgender Law Center
- Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund