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Lilac89

How much should you encourage someone to come out?

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I was wondering, how much encouraging is too much? 

We (my gf. and I) have a few friends who are afraid to come out. None of them is a teenager anymore, some already have girlfriends but they hide the relationship, some want to meet same sex partners but can't because they're secretly gay. Can't meet someone if you don't put yourself out there...

So, we've been out in the open for a while now and felt free and, of course, there's the occasional judging behind our backs but you live with it.. no one's perfect.. and we keep trying to talk to these women and encourage them that it's OK to come out. It's not that scary, and it's a good thing because we'll be there for them to support them through the whole coming out process!

However, I was wondering, do we risk forcing these women to come out? We did kinda talk about it a lot... sometimes I feel we're too pushy and I know this is a difficult thing to do, even as adults, so I thought, maybe we should back off for a while.

What would you do? Do you usually encourage other people to come out? How much encouraging is too much? How do you know you're not forcing someone to do something they don't want, just because you think coming out is good for them?

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The people I have known who were closeted and then came out felt much happier and freer afterwards and like a huge weight had been lifted off their shoulders.

I believe very strongly that "closets are for clothes, not people".

That being said, while I think you should absolutely be supportive and encouraging of someone to come out (unless they're in a situation where they're still dependent on extremely homophobic parents, or something like that), I think you need to be careful to draw the line at pushing someone into doing something they're not ready for.  It is an extrmely personal decision that we all have to make at our own pace, not anyone else's.

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I feel like outing someone against their will is a huge violation of an unspoken honor code among LGBT people, or should be.  Forcibly outing someone who's not ready to be out is, IMO, one of the worst things you can do to an LGBT person.  Even if you do it believing it's for their own good, it is not your decision to make.

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On 15/12/2016 at 0:16 AM, notathoughtgiven said:

If I tell other people about them without their consent then that is going too far.

 

21 hours ago, Jester85 said:

I feel like outing someone against their will is a huge violation of an unspoken honor code among LGBT people, or should be.

I would never ever even think about outing someone against their will! That is definitely a big mistake to make, it can ruin lives, nothing good can come out of it!

I hope I didn't somehow imply, in my original message, that I would do this. I believe everyone has the right to make their own decision when it comes to coming out. 

I've read your replies and they did help :) My gf. and I decided to just don't bring it up again. Our friends all know we are both out of the closet, so if they ever want to talk about it, they know where to find us :) 

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On 12/14/2016 at 6:26 PM, Jester85 said:

The people I have known who were closeted and then came out felt much happier and freer afterwards and like a huge weight had been lifted off their shoulders.

I definitely felt a little happier when I came out to my good friends. But I think I will be over the moon if I ever come out to my parents, though I have zero clue about how homophobic or accepting they are.

As for OP, @Lilac89, for me I think I would only encourage someone to come out if I know his/her circle of friends well, but I will never encourage someone to come out to their family members because this is a huge risk. I will let him/her make the final decision for that. :)

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I'm very supportive of people coming out and, even if I don't have any openly gay friends or don't know anyone who actually came out or wants to, I do make sure I voice my opinion to everyone: that I am open minded so, if anyone wants to come out, I'm gonna support their decision 100%.

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4 hours ago, Anna said:

I'm very supportive of people coming out and, even if I don't have any openly gay friends or don't know anyone who actually came out or wants to, I do make sure I voice my opinion to everyone: that I am open minded so, if anyone wants to come out, I'm gonna support their decision 100%.

That's nice to hear Anna :)

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I have no idea gurl, at all. I actually have this problem with my best friend... She's always complaining about how people perceive her because the majority of people thinks that she's a lesbian because of the way she dresses and even the way she acts, its perceived as masculine. She has talked to me about it a couple of times and last time, I had a couple of drinks and I confronted her, lol. I directly asked her if she liked girls, she didn't answered and became a little bit upset, I guess that she wasn't expecting that question... But, you know, at this point it's her life and I don't want to push her to say things that she simply doesn't want to say/admit yet, I think that the best thing that I can do is to be there for her when she needs it, no matter what.


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On 19/12/2016 at 5:03 PM, Anna said:

even if I don't have any openly gay friends or don't know anyone who actually came out or wants to, I do make sure I voice my opinion to everyone: that I am open minded so, if anyone wants to come out, I'm gonna support their decision 100%.

That's a very healthy attitude, Anna! People should definitely know beforehand that they have a friend to confide in, who will not judge :) 

I wish more people felt like this. 

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On 22/12/2016 at 3:15 PM, Lilac89 said:

That's a very healthy attitude, Anna! People should definitely know beforehand that they have a friend to confide in, who will not judge :) 

I wish more people felt like this. 

Yeah that would definitely make gay people feel less stress! :P When I was in college, I mix with more straight people than gay people. When they talk about their boyfriends and their girlfriends, I had to hide myself, but of course some girls knew it and confronted me and say they are totally fine with my sexuality. The feeling was indeed great!

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