The term to ‘come out’ is used by many people and means something different to everyone.
“Coming out” often has to do with realising you are attracted to people of the same sex, different sexes or that you are transgender or intersex.
It often starts with realising your own identity and beginning to accept it.
Some people may seek support so they are comfortable with calling themselves gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBTI+) before telling people they know, or making it more widely known.
Understanding your feelings
Once we begin to understand and learn more about our feelings and attractions, we can start to feel comfortable with our sexuality.
For some, understanding and accepting their feelings and attractions is simple and straightforward; for others it is difficult. For all of us, it is a learning experience.
You may feel comfortable going through this process by yourself or you may like to draw on the experiences of other people.
One great source of support is an organisation called BeLonG To which supports LGBTI+ young people have helped develop lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth groups around Ireland. Contact them on 01 670 6223 or visit the website to find out if there a group in your area.
When you feel comfortable you may want to tell someone else you trust to be understanding and supportive you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. You might choose a friend, family member or another adult you know.
You may want to meet other gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people for friendship or a relationship, or perhaps even to hear what it was like for them coming out. An LGBTI+ youth group is a safe place to meet other people whith similar experinces to you.
If you’re not able or ready to tell someone about your feelings that is totally fine. Remember, who you tell and when you tell them is your decision. The important thing is to be honest and accepting of yourself.