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Annie

October 1996

The Pros and Cons of Coming Out

Coming out. What does it involve? How do you do it? Are you sure you want to do it?

Those are just some of the questions with 'outing' yourself. If you are not out don't feel that you have to be. And if you are out don't in any way be ashamed of who you are.

One thing that is very important to do before coming out is being comfortable with yourself. If you're not comfortable with yourself then it will be much harder for other people to be comfortable with you. A good exercise is looking at yourself in the mirror and saying "I'm gay" or "I'm a lesbian." That may be no big deal for you to do. But for some people it can really slap reality in their face.

If you don't feel you're ready to come out, then don't. It's a very hard thing to do no matter how comfortable you are with yourself. Some people find coming out as a big weight lifted off their shoulders but to other people it brings even more stress. Before you come out you have to think it all the way through.

If you do feel that your ready to come out then by all means do. Some good ways to prepare is by getting pamphlets to help your parents or whoever your coming out to understand just a little of what your going through. Be ready for lots of questions from them. They're not going to understand everything right away and your job is to be there for them. Remember they need you just as much as you need them.

Whatever happens remember that you don't have to come out. But if you decide to come out no matter who you are you're strong enough to handle everything that life throws at you.


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