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How to come out

Coming out can be a big deal, so we asked a member of the Army's LGBT+ community for their tips.

It can be a big moment, deciding who or how to tell someone your orientation. So here a few points to bear in mind if you are thinking of taking just such a step.
  • Remember this is your decision. You don’t have to come out if you don’t want to, and there’s no right or wrong time or way to do it. Whatever suits you is right.
  • Take your time. There is no need to go ‘all out’ in one go; maybe it is easier to tell people in certain parts of your life first, whether that’s friends, colleagues, family. Start where you feel safest and most accepted.
  • Find support. Some people find it helps to tell one trusted person who has already trodden the same path first, someone who you can turn to at later stages when you open up in other areas of your life.
  • Time it right. The last thing you want is to tell someone when you are surrounded by possible distractions or interruptions like TV or texts. Choose your moment and your setting carefully.
  • Face-to face? If you are anxious about responses maybe there are different ways to tell someone that don’t need you to be in the same room. Video calls are easily done these days. Text or WhatsApp messages may seem cold, but actually they can allow the receiver time and space to listen and respond in their own time.
  • Be prepared. People can respond in unexpected ways, both good and less good. Try to anticipate likely responses, for example, by preparing yourself for common questions like “How long have you known? Are you sure?’.
  • Keep it simple. Choose your words wisely so that whoever you are talking to is clear what you are trying to say. The words you use to your parents may be different to those you use to tell your mates.
  • Be clear. If you are not comfortable with someone sharing your news say so; again, make it clear what you expect from them.
  • Remain positive. If, for whatever reason, someone responds badly, try not to take it personally; their response is a reflection of them, not you.
More information about how the Army supports the LGBT+ community
DATE: 05 February 2021
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