A Guide To Coming Out Of The Closet

Coming Out As Gay

Two men walking on the beach
ONOKY - Eric Audras/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Just come out! It sounds simple, but it's not always that easy. This guide can help you figure out when's the right time to come out of the closet to friends, family, and co-workers. But first, let's start with the basics:

What Does It Mean to "Come Out"?

Coming out is the process of personally accepting your sexuality and telling others. The coming out process is different for every person. Some experience anxiety, pain, and anguish while others find acceptance easier. You may also experience fear, doubt, loneliness, anger and even depression. That's why it is good to surround yourself with others that may be going through the same transition or who have already come out. They can be a great support system.

Coming Out To Your Family and Friends

After coming out to yourself the next step can be quite difficult: Sharing your sexuality with your loved ones and friends. One of the overriding fears of coming out is the fear of rejection from those we love. You may wonder if your family or friends will stop loving you. Some family and friends have a hard time accepting a gay loved one, while others are extremely supportive.

Coming out goes well many times, as evident in these coming out stories. But just in case things go sour, here's help on how to deal with rejection from family and friends.

Coming Out at School

The word "gay" isn't in the closet like it used to be, everyone at school knows what it is, even if they don't know who's gay on campus. You may find that life at school will be better if you come out and be who you are. You'll not only feel better, but you'll be a role model for other kids who are gay, but nervous about telling everyone. Chances are you're not the only gay kid on campus, but even if you are, there are ways you can get support by making your school more gay-friendly.

  • How To Take a Same-Sex Date to Prom
  • Should You Come Out To Your Teacher
  • Is This The Year To Come Out?
  • When You Like Your Classmate


No matter what, some people just don't get it and will try and push you around and bully just for being gay. Have you been bullied? There are ways you can protect yourself and fight back:

  • How To Stop The Bullying
  • Gay Kids Talk About Bullying
  • An iPhone App For Kids Who've Been Bullied
  • How To Confront Those That Hurt You
  • Are You Ready To Keep Quiet?

Coming Out Stories

Reading other people's coming out stories gave me the courage to come out. The same can be true for you. Read these coming out stories then help others by, sharing your coming out story.

Coming Out at Work

John won't stop talking about his new fiance. Andre jokes about his wife's new tattoo. Eric is excited about a new girl he's dating. And there you sit, quiet, trying to avoid every social conversation since your gossip would be about another man, not a woman. And, In order for you to share in the man-to-man pow-wow, you have to come out. But are you ready to come out at work? And if so, is there protection for you as an employee? There are some federal laws in a process that can help make your workplace a more comfortable environment. Read about:

  • Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
  • Pension Protection Act

But, let's say you're not gay, but your boss is. Should you pry into his private life or respect your gay boss' privacy?

Coming Out To Your Doctor

There are specific health issues that gay men should be concerned about, but are not always comfortable to talk about with just anybody. It's easier when your health care provider is either gay-friendly or sensitive to LGBT issues. Find out how to find a gay-friendly healthcare provider and decide when it's the best time to come out to your doctor.

Coming Out To Your Spouse

Coming out to your spouse can be quite difficult, given the relationships you built and the life you shared together. You won't know how your wife will react to the news until you take that step. Some wives agree to stay with their husbands in mixed marriages after they come out, but most often it's not as amicable.

  • Top 5 Love Answers for Gay Married Men

When Your Kids Come Out

You suspect your kid of being gay, but how do you talk to him or her about it? How you handle their coming out to you is directly linked to their future well-being. They need your support during this difficult time. It can help them build confidence and make better, more healthy decisions. Take a proactive approach and talk to your kids. Help them help themselves. Here is one mom's story about when her son came out to her. Read A Mom Shares Her Son's Coming Out Story.

When Your Husband is Gay

Do you suspect that your husband has a secret life on the side? There may be more to story:

  • 6 Signs Your Husband Is Not Gay

Also, read about other women's experiences with gay husbands in the Gay Life forum. Here is a discussion going on right now:
"I've been married for a little over a month now and I've had concerns that my husband might not be "into" me. it started with him spending a few hours a day on the computer which has now progressed to him spending up to 8 hours a day online..." 

Watch Now: 9 Steps to Drama Free Friendships