Coming out and living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person is a unique and personal decision. It can feel overwhelming, but coming out can also be liberating and lead to stronger and more authentic relationships.
You can read more about coming out at MTV's Look Different Campaign
What are the benefits of coming out?
• Living an open and whole life.
• Developing closer, more genuine relationships.
• Building self-esteem from being known and loved for who we really are.
• Reducing the stress of hiding our identity.
• Connecting with others who are LGBT.
• Being part of a strong and vibrant community.
• Helping to dispel myths and stereotypes about who LGBT people are and what our lives are like. Becoming a role model for others.
• Making it easier for younger LGBT people who will follow in our footsteps.
Source: Human Rights Campaign
What are the risks of coming out?
Depending on your age, race, location, and family situation, you should create a plan for coming out and make sure that you have a source of support throughout the process.
How can I create a plan for coming out?
Here are resources for coming out with facts and tips for telling your friends and family.
For adults: HRC’s Resource Guide To Coming Out
For youth: The Trevor Project’s Coming Out as You
For African Americans: HRC's Coming Out Issues For African-Americans
For Latinos: HRC’s Coming Out Issues For Latinos And Latinas
For Asian Pacific Americans: HRC’s Coming Out Issues For Asian-Pacific Americans
Coming out as bisexual: Coming Out As Bi
Coming out as transgender: TransYouth Family Allies Resources for Coming Out as Trans
For straight family and friends: PFLAG’s Support For Family And Friends Of LGBT Individuals
Who can I talk to?
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth.
Trevor Hotline You can call the Trevor Project Helpline by dialing 1-866-488-7386. (866-4U-TREVOR). The hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is staffed by trained counselors. The call is free and won’t appear on your phone bill.
TrevorText: Text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200 on Fridays from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. PT. Standard text messaging rates apply.
TrevorChat: Visit TrevorChat 7 days a week from 3:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. PT.
Want to know more about LGBT issues? Check out these organizations that specialize in LGBT rights and awareness.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center is the world's largest provider of programs and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Today the Center’s more than 450 employees and 3,000 volunteers provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world. Their health services include free or low cost HIV/AIDS medical care, individual and group counseling, HIV/STD testing and prevention, and alternative insemination. The Center also offers legal, social, cultural, and educational services, with unique programs for seniors, families and youth, including a 24-bed transitional living program for homeless youth.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Coming Out Center has resources and guides for coming out to family, friends, and co-workers; stories from celebrity supporters who have come out; articles about topics related to race, sexuality, and gender; and suggestions for how allies can support those who choose to come out.
Today PFLAG is the nation's largest family and ally organization. Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBT people through its mission of support, education, and advocacy. PFLAG has over 350 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters in major urban areas, small cities, and rural regions in all 50 states. These local chapters offer opportunities for people to come out to their friends and families in a safe space, to ask and answer questions, and to find a community of people going through similar circumstances. For persons seeking to come out, PFLAG also has an online resource center that includes book and film recommendations, research, and contact information for other national organizations that provide in-person and hotline support.
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC’s mission is to end racism and homophobia. As America’s leading national Black LGBT civil rights organization focused on federal public policy, NBJC has accepted the charge to lead Black families in strengthening the bonds and bridging the gaps between the movements for racial justice and LGBT equality.
Since 2003, NBJC has provided leadership at the intersection of national civil rights groups and LGBT organizations, advocating for the unique challenges and needs of the African American LGBT community that are often relegated to the sidelines. NBJC envisions a world where all people are fully-empowered to participate safely, openly and honestly in family, faith and community, regardless of race, class, gender identity or sexual orientation. The need for NBJC is stronger than ever. Without authentic, meaningful representation and active participation from the African American LGBT community, LGBT equality cannot be positioned effectively within the broader civil rights context that it deserves. This requires much more than episodic collaborations; it entails building and sustaining relationships, and, in the process, addressing the challenges between African American communities and LGBT advocates that have previously created barriers in developing full partnerships. Within the African American community itself, the need to eradicate homophobia is critical to fostering acceptance and respect for our own brothers and sisters--our own families.
Representing a force of more than 1.5 million people in support of LGBT equality. The largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the nation's leading gay and lesbian political organization.
GLAAD is a media monitoring organization founded by LGBT people in the media. Its stated mission, in part, is to "amplify the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively."