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(C) Love Matters | Rita Lino

I am considering coming out, Should I?

Since primary school, I knew that I was built differently from other kids at school. I preferred to stay with boys and this earned me the name ‘tomboy.’ I didn’t understand that I was gay until my early teens. I am 23 years old now and I am conflicted about whether I should tell anyone about my sexual orientation. Should I?

‘Coming out’ is short for ‘coming out of the closet’, which means telling people around you that you are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Usually, people assume that other people are straight. If you are not, and you want people to know, then you have to tell them. This is a lifelong process. Even if your family and friends already know about your sexual orientation, you still might want to come out to new people you meet in life.

Some people choose not to come out. That’s okay, too. Others choose to tell a few people they think should know, and that’s also okay. It’s up to you to decide who to tell.

Your sexuality is a private matter, and you don’t have to discuss it with anyone if you don’t want to. Coming out can be a very brave thing to do. Many people are afraid of how others might react. There is no right or wrong way to come out. It depends on you and your relationship with the person you are telling. Think carefully about who you want to tell, especially if you live somewhere where homosexuality is criminalized or not generally accepted.

Telling your family

You may want to tell your family if you’re gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Family plays an important role in life, and it’s good to be honest with your parents and siblings if you feel comfortable doing it. If you want to talk to them about your future or tell them about your boyfriend or girlfriend, you’ll have to come out first.

But not everyone can accept that a family member is gay, lesbian, or bisexual, particularly if you live in a society where being gay is not considered socially acceptable. Every family is different. You know your family best, so think carefully before telling them.

We don’t often talk about sexuality at home – especially with our parents – so coming out can be very challenging. Some people may need time to adjust to the idea, or to learn more about what being gay, lesbian, or bisexual actually means. They may feel shocked and react negatively at first, but with time they will learn to appreciate and support you. Try to understand if they ask questions or feel confused.

In some cases, people find it impossible to accept. Your family could break off all ties with you, or threaten to cut you off unless you ‘change’. Keep in mind that people’s reactions say more about them and their feelings than you as a person.

If you still live with your parents or they support you financially, there are a few things you need to consider before telling your family. In the worst-case scenario, people are kicked out of the house when they reveal their sexual orientation. You need emotional support and a safe place to live. Before coming out to family, it’s a good idea to have someone else you can turn to in case things don’t go well.

Telling friends

Coming out to other people – friends, peers, co-workers – is very similar to coming out to your family.

Hiding an important part of your life from your friends isn’t easy, so you may want to be honest with them about your sexuality. When you need emotional or practical support, it helps if you can talk openly to good friends or people you meet in the gay community.

Think carefully before you come out to someone. Not everyone needs to know, and only you can decide who to tell. Perhaps you want your closest friends to know, but you don’t want to talk about it at work. That’s okay.

If you’re not sure how someone is going to react, talk to them more generally about homosexuality first. Then you’ll have a better idea of how they feel about it, and you can decide if you want to come out to them.

When you come out you may face bullying, harassment, and discrimination, so it’s best to be prepared to face any challenges that might arise. Having supportive friends can be a great help.
Remember to ask your friends to be discreet. Coming out should be your decision, and you should do it in your own time – you don’t want the first person you tell to share the news with anyone else.

Keeping it a secret

For many people around the world, ‘coming out’ and living openly as gay, lesbian, or bisexual isn’t an option. The people around you might feel very negative towards homosexuality for cultural or religious reasons. And if you live in one of the countries in which having homosexual sex is illegal, you could risk imprisonment.

In some parts of the world, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals have to keep their sexual orientation secret. To the outside world, they appear to be straight, and they may get married and have children. But, of course, there are gay people everywhere in the world. It’s just harder to be open about it in some countries. Hiding doesn’t mean that you aren’t homosexual.

If you choose to keep your sexual orientation a secret, that’s your decision. It may be possible to make contact with your local LGB community without coming out to anyone else. The internet and social media make it much easier to find other gays, lesbians, and bisexuals in your area. And if you’re nervous about meeting people in person, you can always join an online group.

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Recent Comments (16)

    1. Hey Tedo, what can we do for…

      Hey Tedo, what can we do for you?

      1. Hi Jonathan, what about sex?

        Hi Jonathan, what about sex?

  1. from Ug klp hey l wanna join…
    from Ug klp hey l wanna join gay life am26 old on thax

    1. Hey Tibs, what do you mean…

      Hey Tibs, what do you mean by you want to join gay life?

  2. How do you deal with the…
    How do you deal with the fact that your long term friend just came out to you? I don’t how to act around him anymore, I am now the carrying the burden?

    1. Hello Teddy, the fact that…

      Hello Teddy, the fact that you are thinking about this it means you care about your friend. I acknowledge that it can be difficult and am glad that you are aware of that. It can also be difficult to know what to say when someone trusts you enough to come out.  Don’t worry: just be honest about your feelings. Check this article that will give you more tips on what you should or shouldn’t do: https://lovemattersafrica.com/sexual-diversity/sexual-orientation/being-supportive

  3. I am very curious about anal…
    I am very curious about anal does it mean I am gay? My girlfriend doesn’t want. I don’t feel like I want to have it with men.

    1. Hey Steph, there is nothing…

      Hey Steph, there is nothing wrong with having fantasies and even acting on them if you so choose to. Also, there is nothing wrong with wanting to explore anal sex, it is however important that you only have it with your partner if they also want to. You could begin by learning as much as you can about anal sex then share the information with your partner to see if they would be willing to explore it with you. Have a look at the following articles for more information;- 



  4. Hey there love matters..my…
    Hey there love matters..my name is yemi, i’m a female and i’d be 21 by april, well i believe i’m bisexual but i prefer the girls, also a Nigerian…please how do i approach a lady that i like? You know, with me been in a country where same sex relationship is not acceptable and all that… i really don’t know what to do..

    1. Hi Yemi, thank you so much…

      Hi Yemi, thank you so much for reaching out to us we appreciate it, It can indeed be tough to approach someone especially in a country where your desires are criminalised. It is important that you stay safe, find a community of LGBTIQ people near you. That way when you approach someone you are sure of their sexuality.

  5. hey love matters am gush…
    hey love matters am gush 19yrs jus done with highschool i havent come out to my parents yet since they support me financialy n i might reicieve neglect. am open to my friens n my big siz.in kenya homosex isa crime n gyz hit on u thinkin u r straight

    1. Hi Gush, 

      The fact that you…

      Hi Gush, 

      The fact that you have the courage to write to us shows that you are more courageous than you think. You also appear quite comfortable with your sexuality which is a good thing. In terms of coming out to your parents, maybe you can take sometime until you feel ready. Here are tips that can inform you about the reality of coming out: Coming out: it’s complicated! 

  6. Am 17 years am a stem but am…
    Am 17 years am a stem but am afraid to tell my parents because they might kick me out because i come from a religious family but my cousins know what do i do??

    1. Hi Shila, 

      Coming out is…

      Hi Shila, 

      Coming out is not always easy especially if you know that parents will not be supportive. Since you still live with your parents or they support you financially, there are a few things you need to consider before telling them. In the worst-case scenario, you may be kicked out of the house when you reveal your sexual orientation. You need emotional support and a safe place to live. Before coming out to them, it’s a good idea to have someone else you can turn to in case things don’t go well. Have a plan B in case things do not work out! You can reach out to a relative you trust or research shelters that house LGBT persons near you. Remember! since your cousins already know, this information may somehow get to your parents. It is better for them to hear from you than from your cousins. You never know, they may already know and they are waiting for you to come out and say your truth. Read this article to get more tips on how to come out: The truth about coming out. Sending you love and light as you make the important decision!

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