When To Come Out Of Hiding In The Closet?
By: Pritika Mehta
Sometimes, we come across this question in our life, “When to come out of hiding?”. It can be related to anything in your life. We are going to talk about the moment when you realize your true self and come to terms with it.
We discover new things about ourselves a lot of times throughout our lifetime. Be it a new personality trait, a new pet peevish, bizarre habits, or realizing who we truly are.
It is a really important step when you find out your real identity, and it takes great efforts to accept it and be proud of it. If you have just found your real identity, you must be wandering through different sites on the internet either to try and verify it or trying to prove that it is a mistake. Despite the two reactions being different, it is okay because it is just your feelings surfacing.
It is okay to be doubting yourself, and it is also okay to search more about it. It is a process, and you are going to make it through. If you are reading this, it means you’ve decided to accept yourself, and you want to share it with people around you.
It is a sort of celebration, celebrating yourself and your newfound identity. This identity can be anything you feel suits you. You could identify as – gay, lesbian, transgender, transsexual, queer, pansexual, asexual, demisexual, or any other gender.
When to Come out of Hiding if I Haven’t Decided my Orientation?
There are various spectrums in the LGBTQ+ community, and you can choose from those options. If there is a doubt in your mind, and you wish to not identify yourself as anything, not straight or queer, that is okay too. Because it is your identity, and only you have a say in that, no one can put you in a specific category without your consent.
Now, after finding yourself and going through the process of self-acceptance, you would want to share this news with people in your life. It can be your family, your friends, your colleagues, an online friend, or online followers.
We are going to explore the answer to the question, “When to come out of hiding?”. The answer to the question depends completely on you. But we will share some points to keep in mind when you decide on the final result.
When to Come out of Hiding?
It is important to make sure that you are completely ready about this and prepared to face any results of the decision. You need to ask yourself and think about whether you want to share this information with anyone or do you feel that no one needs to know.
If you decide that no one needs to know about it, it is completely okay. As said previously, this decision is completely in your hands. No one has the right to force you to come out of the closet if you don’t want to.
Who Are You Sharing it With?
When you are questioning yourself about when to come out of hiding, you always have some people in mind who you want to come out to.
One of the things to look out for is the prediction of the reaction of the other person. You need to decipher the other person and understand their stand on the said issue. If you are not sure about it, you can ask them subtly about it through various questions.
What the other person thinks about the issue is important as it will directly affect their reaction to your confession. If they are in a negative mindset, it can lead to disastrous consequences.
If you are sure that the person or people you are going to share with has a neutral or positive stand on the LGBTQ+ community, you can be at ease a little.
Any Signs Of Danger Or Feeling Uncomfortable?
If you feel any sense of danger or worry about coming out, it is completely okay to not do it. Your safety matters the most. Coming out is a journey, and it is different for everyone. For some people, it ends with a happy ending but for some, it could result in a tragedy.
Due to negative views and opinions, a lot of times people don’t react in the best way. Parents may not be as accepting; friends may not have an open view about this matter or anyone you come out to could harm you. The harm can be either physical or mental.
However, if this scenario does happen, you don’t need to worry. There are many shelters and organizations set up by either the government or independent parties to help the LBGBTQ+ community. These shelters could have facilities like a place to stay, have food and water to drink, help you get back on your own feet, and more. Every place will be different and will provide different forms of help to you.
You Don’t Have To Reveal Everything All At Once
It is well within your right to not come out to everyone together. You can decide who you want to tell first and then move forward to the next person you want to open up to. If you want to come out of hiding to only one person, that is okay too.
You have the right to keep your information private. You can tell the ones you come out to, to keep it a secret and not tell anyone else about it. They should respect your privacy and for your courage to open up to them.
Probable Questions And Stereotypes
There are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. Not only outside the community, but within the community too.
So, there could be a possibility that the person or people will direct questions to you as soon as you reveal yourself. Don’t panic. Remember that you can choose to not answer the questions if you feel they are too intrusive.
Most questions could be like
- When did you find out that you were…?
- How are you sure that this is not just a phase?
- Is it because you have never tried with a girl/boy?
These are just a few examples, there are more questions with different topics and opinions. Some of the questions may come off too intrusive or outright insulting, you have to hold your ground and correct them. Don’t let them overtake your emotions and make you trudge down the negative self-criticizing journey.
Depending on the situation and your mental health, you can decide when the conversation is getting too toxic. You can walk out and calm yourself down.
It takes time for some people to accept such big news. Especially parents have a different mindset, and the generation gap also plays a role. Parents need time to process and think about the matter before responding. So, don’t be depressed, give them some space and have patience.
For me, my parents are pretty conservative and hold a very closed-up mindset as compared to mine. It’s not easy for them to understand the concept of Queerness or LGBTQ+. They constantly questioned me and I patiently tried to explain it to them.
Slowly, as time went by, my mom started coming around. She couldn’t completely accept the fact that I was bisexual, but she did tell me that she will be as supportive as she can be. For me, it was a huge deal, and I was satisfied with that.
Giving time to the process leads to satisfying results. Sometimes, it might not be satisfying, but you tried your best, and it’s okay.
When To Come Out Of Hiding And The Aftermath
- Don’t let their comments hurt you or take them personally. Although it is easier said than done, you need to remember that, their response doesn’t reflect on you. It is their opinion and their thoughts, not about you.
- Quote like, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Make this quote your reality and remember it every day.
- In case of emotional distress, you can consult with someone. It can be a friend or a professional therapist that can help you deal with the distress.
- Do not feel pressured to come out to multiple people all at once.
- Seek help from LGBTQ+ organizations in case you are removed from the house, bullied by your friend, or need help dealing with family pressure. You are not alone in this, there are a lot of people with you!
Conclusion To The Question-When To Come Out Of Hiding In The Closet?
Coming out is a long and never-ending process. It is a journey that is different for everyone. A continuous process throughout your lifetime and it is going to be difficult every time, but you will overcome it. And once you overcome the obstacle, you will see how beautiful the world is.
It is a form of liberation to come out of the closet and be free to be yourself. It is a chance to live your life as you want to and be true to yourself.
- The History Behind Why We Say a Person ‘Came Out of the Closet’ by Olivia B. Waxin. 
- 20 Things to Know Before You Come Out and How to Go About It– Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph.D., LCSW, CST — Written by Sian Ferguson on November 25, 2019.