If I Know I'm Bisexual, is it Okay Not to Come Out?

Water Colored Rainbow
Cole Vineyard/E+/Getty Images

Question: If I Know I'm Bisexual, is it Okay Not to Come Out?

If you are certain of your sexual orientation, does that mean you have to come out publicly about it?


A teen writes to the community forum:

"I am Bisexual. I know that my parents and family will be completely fine, but my mom worries because of past events that I am just letting the past influence my decisions. I don't really want to tell any of my family that I am bisexual. Is that okay to wait to tell them? My mom right now assumes that I'm just finding myself, but I know who I am, but I just don't want to tell anyone yet. Only my friends know."

It is completely fine to wait! In fact, it sounds like for you this is a really good decision. Coming out is a really personal thing and one that not everyone is ready to do, even if they are very secure in their identity as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

As a bisexual girl says:

"I don't really see the harm in waiting. Liking guys and girls myself, I'm not planning on saying anything to my family until I'm dating a girl or just suddenly want to tell them. I know they'll be fine with it, I just don't think it's something they really need to know yet.

Sometimes, teens feel pressure to come out. Partly this is because kids may hear the the message that they are letting down the GLBT community, or not living an honest life if they do not come out. And while it is true that coming out can be personally freeing and good for the gay community, teens should only come out when they feel the time is right.

Coming out before you are ready can be risky for a few reasons:

  • You might feel too exposed.
  • You might feel embarrassed to have people know personal information about you.
  • You might feel like you have to have answers for questions you'd never considered.
  • You might experience homophobia from peers and family.
  • You might feel like you need support and not know how to get it.

There are lots of good reasons to come out. For example, you feel confident in your sexual orientation or gender identity, know that you have the support of family and friends, feel that coming out will help you grow and make you feel better about yourself as a person, and think that you can manage possible negative reactions from friends and family.

There are also reasons for coming out that aren't as good. These can include, feeling pressured to come out by a friend or partner, coming out as a way to "validate" the fact that you are really gay, doing so to because you are mad at your parents or want to feel more grown-up.

People are coming out younger than ever before. While many feel a great relief that they no longer have to hide important parts of who they are, others wish they had waited.

Really, only you can know when the time is right to come out to your parents, or anyone else. Try to remind yourself that coming out isn't a race. Some people come out in middle school. Others wait until they are senior citizens, and plenty don't come out at all.

You can read through this article, Coming Out When (and if) the Time is Right for more information on how to know if you are ready to come out.