With International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia tomorrow (yeah we know that’s a bit of a mouthful), we thought we would share some important things to remember when a friend comes out to you. Lots of people choose to come out to a trusted mate before going public with a big announcement or telling members of their family. If that mate is you, here are some tips on how to react and how to best support your friend in their coming out journey…
1. Just because they told you, doesn’t mean they are ‘out’ to everyone else so keep it to yourself unless told otherwise.
2. Don’t treat them any differently than you did 5 mins before they told you. Nothing’s changed – they are still the same friend you always had.
3. Try not to say that it doesn’t matter either. To them, it’s really important and it does matter, just acknowledge the courage they’ve probably mustered up to tell you and explain that you want them to be happy regardless of their sexuality.
4. They told you because they trust you. Telling a trusted friend is usually the first step a person takes in coming out. Thank them for being open with you, and let them know that you’ll be there for them if they decide to tell others.
5. Check out this article if you wanna make sure you’re the best LGBT+ ally you can be… How to Be an Ally to the LGBT+ Community >>
6. They are probably still discovering things themselves, so try not to bombard them with questions too soon…
7. Steer clear of stereotypes… not all gay people like Cher (even though Cher is amazing)
8. Let them speak. Chances are, they’ve probably run through this conversation a thousand times in their head before talking to you. Don’t interrupt and don’t assume, even if you already suspected something – it’s their story to tell, not yours.
9. Offer a safe place for them to stay if they get a bad reaction after coming out to family members or other friends.
10. Remember that this doesn’t instantly mean that they want you to set them up with the only other gay/bi/lesbian person you know.🙄
11. Remind them that there is an entire community out there who have been through exactly the same thing. 🏳️🌈
12. Reassure them that they can talk to you about any negativity they might face, and let them know that they have your support should they need it.
13. Direct them to our awesome resources and community to find additional support, help and advice, free of judgement….
- Thinking of Coming Out to Your Homophobic Parents?
- 9 Tips for Coming Out as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual to your Parents
- Top 11 tips for coming out as Lesbian Gay or Bisexual
If you are worried about coming out, have questions about your sexuality, or want to help a friend, you can reach out to the Ditch the Label Community here