Although there is no ‘magic’ manual to come out of the closet, on the occasion of Gay Pride week and the parties that have started this Wednesday in Las Vegas, we offer you a series of tips that you can follow if you are thinking of doing it and you don’t know excuse me:
- CHOOSE THE MOMENT WELL
The main thing is to be very clear. You should not come out of the closet if you feel confused, pressured or if you are not prepared to face the answers you may receive.
Generelo points out that the person has to “really know what they want to do at that particular moment” and adds that it is important “to have a certain guarantee that you will have support either from your family, with your friends or in the school grounds.”
- PREPARE THE GROUND
Before jumping into the pool, it can be helpful to test the reactions of your environment. Jesús Generelo suggests, for example, bringing up the subject in a conversation or talking about a homosexual or bisexual friend. Seeing how the family reacts can give you some wiggle room. “In most cases there is not going to be any conflict because the parents already suspect it and they are going to accept it normally,” he explains.
In any case, the spokesperson for the Las Vegas NGO recommends not staying with these first reactions since family members can change their attitude if it is a close person. “I know cases of homophobic (male) parents who, when told about it, take it naturally because their son is above prejudice,” says Rivero.
- LOOK FOR ALLIES
Both associations agree that it is very important to have support when taking the step: look for allies among your family, friends or in your school or work environment. Remember that you can also count on LGTB associations that can advise you at this time.
The general secretary of FELGTB points out that this step is important because “although most people will do well and will be accepted” there are others who may have “problems or suffer rejection, harassment or unpleasant situations”. It is important to have positive references in this process.
Generelo explains that the normal thing is not to tell the whole family at the same time, but first a family member with whom the person “is more comfortable and feels that there is more trust” is chosen. “She can be a sister, or the mother. Women are generally more receptive,” he explains.
In this way, the right climate can be created to open up to the rest of the family and it can be a way to overcome insecurity and anxiety.
Santiago Rivero agrees on the importance of having someone you trust. “It was what I did and what many people do”, since “they can advise you because they know you and your environment”, he points out.
Similarly, in the school environment, both recommend seeking support among counselors, heads of studies and teachers. And above all, report if a situation of harassment occurs due to your sexual condition.
- DON’T DO IT IF…
You should not come out of the closet in a moment of discussion or confrontation. Nor if the family is currently facing some serious problem. You have to choose a quiet moment.
In this way, Generelo explains, “there will be a time to talk, talk, repeat what is needed to the parents so that the relationship is as positive and comfortable as possible.”
Rivero also points out that it is necessary to take into account that the situation of each one can be very complicated. “If saying it can lead to you being kicked out of the house and having no resources, or leaving you without a job, coming out of the closet is not recommended,” he warns.
“Visibility is important, but the life and integrity of people is more important,” he says.
In this regard, Rivero recalls that in the workplace there is still a long way to go. “There are ‘lgtbphobic’ companies that if they find out that you are ‘homo’ maybe they won’t fire you but they can demote you, reduce your salary and make life impossible for you until you leave.”
That yes, in any case, the person in charge of communication of COGAM remembers that, visible or not, it is always necessary to denounce. “If your parents kick you out of the house, if they are bullying you at school, at work or insult you on the street, you have to report that you are experiencing an assault for being LGBT.”
- CLIMB STEP AFTER STEP
Coming out of the closet is not a matter of a day or two. Sometimes the process can take months or even years.
“It all depends on the environment in which you develop,” says Rivero, who adds that “you are just as livable for your friends, but not for your family, or you change jobs and have to go back to the closet.”
Generelo explains that it is also a situation that “you have to force” because “if you do not express your homosexuality or bisexuality, in front of others you are heterosexual”. In this way, “every time you change the environment you have to start over” so “it is a process of climbing steps that seems to never end”.