What coming out advice would you offer readers:

Katie Ricks

“Over the years, I’ve come to realize that “coming out” has more to do with claiming who it is that God has created me (or you) to be, rather than signing on a dotted line about what label I am choosing to claim. When I came out, it was a big deal to say that I was a lesbian. Now I’m more interested in the relationships that I have, rather than any category. Having said that, community is a huge piece of “coming out.” Coming out is something that happens over and over and over again, and having people who you know will always love and care for you is the key to the journey. Don’t try to do it without a community. And, once you’re good with the coming out piece of your life, be ready to help someone else through that journey. The more we care for one another, the more we embody an abundant, gracious, unconditional love. Everyone is better when they’re surrounded by that.”

Taylor & Merissa

“Don’t feel like you need to define yourself before you're ready. I didn't feel like there was any reason to come out as anything until I was in a relationship. And even though I didn't really have a long period of time between knowing I was gay and coming out, it is still very freeing to come out!”

Llyr

“Just do it when you’re ready. If you do it when someone else tells you, you’re not going to be prepared for what happens. You’re going to think, “Oh my gosh. What did I just do?” Especially if you don’t get the reaction you were hoping for. It’s not going to be a good situation. You really have to be ready. And if it's obvious you should go ahead and get it over with. Especially if your family and friends will be supportive.”

Michael Morgan

“Be who you are -- God created you to be the person you are. But be aware that not everybody believes that we are all God's children, not to be condemned or judged according to those we love. God's creation is wider than the restrictions we place on it.”

Lorenza

“Find your personal path and follow it. No matter how hard it is, just follow your heart and everything will be fine.”

Daryll Whitefeather

“I would like to think that we're moving toward a world where people will no longer have to be closeted. I know for me, though, realizing why I was staying closeted and imagining a life where I no longer had to live in secrecy felt so freeing that I knew I wanted to eventually come out. Ask yourself what's holding you back from coming out and start there. For me, it was the belief that my orientation was childish and a phase I would grow out of. Meeting other successful adults who are bisexual was a huge eye opener for me.  It helped me realize that bisexuality/pansexuality was not a confused phase I went through as a teenager but a true part of who I am. Sometimes just thinking about coming out and what that could look like is a huge step forward.”

Courtney Henry

“I think one of the most important things I could tell someone is to have patience with the process. There’s not really timeline for coming out and that is a beautiful thing. The process can be as fast or as slow as you want. The entire process is 110% up to you. You decide how and when you come out.

I also think that along with patience comes the important reminder to be kind to yourself throughout it. Coming out is a very vulnerable process. It’s okay to take a break and just watch a movie or color or whatever makes your heart content.”

Allison & Brooklyn

“For me, what was helpful was having friends who were already out. I don’t think I would have been able to come out without that. It was also especially helpful to have spiritual people in my life who identified as LBGTQ. Having a few people working in ministry in the Jewish or Christian community was really important for me.”

Christópher (Ófe) Abreu Rosario

“It’s hard because sometimes families surprise you and they are accepting and supportive and they’ll fight for you, but sometimes they don’t. So make sure you are in a safe place. I had to become financially independent immediately after coming out to my family. I’m thankful that I was in college and had food and housing provided for. So wait until you are situationally and financially stable. Also, stand up for yourself. Be prepared to lose everything and everyone but fight for yourself. If you’re following what you believe in, you have to be ready to lose everything for it. Finally, be wary. I came out when I was 16 and I came across a lot of predators. Not everybody who is gay is good just like not everybody who is Christian is good. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Kelsey & Heather

“I think waiting until you’re ready and not when other people are telling you it’s time is really important. It’s hard enough already. You have to you rely on your inner strength or it’s going to be even more painful. That and having one person that is going to be with you in it. Sometimes that’s a partner. Sometimes that’s a best friend. Either way, having a supportive person is really important.”

Megan & Emily

“I like the idea of finding safe spaces and positive people. That might even be a stranger. Sometimes it’s just nice to be in your broader community and take a break from figuring everything out and the pressure of coming out. Coming out takes a lot of energy. So, I would also recommend starting a group with people who are experiencing the same thing you are. I wish I did that, I don’t think I would have felt so isolated.”

Maria & Sally

“For us, addressing shame was also really important. We had to keep reminding ourselves that this was a beautiful thing.”

Diana & Erin

“Recently I’ve realized that it’s not my job to educate people that I have a right to exist. So my advice to fellow queer folks, especially those in the South, is that you don’t have to hurry your timeline or change yourself to make someone else more comfortable. You have a right to exist. You have a right to live your life exactly as you want to, safely. If an environment is toxic, you don’t have to stay. If your family is toxic, you don’t have to be around them. There’s a reason you put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.”

Stephanie Nicole Von Schweitz

“So, I don't think there’s a certain way to come out. I think you should build that trust with closer friends, then navigate the waters with them. Then, once you have a supportive group and some practice, try someone else out. Family is a little trickier. In the end, each of us is going to have to work it out in the end. So my advice there is: get it over with. Your sexuality is just one part of your person. So let your family get all the hate or confusion out and then move on. It’s kind of like, ‘Well, we don't talk about how straight you are.’ So why would we talk about how gay I am?”

Kri

“Give yourself the space to experiment. Learn what feels right for you. It takes time. Whatever your answer is, if you're looking for it, you'll find it. It’s all totally up to you. So really do what feels right for you.”

Shawnee

“It can be very scary but it doesn't have to be and it’s totally worth it! The best advice I can offer is to find people that affirm and support you. People who like you for you is a big thing! So if you’re queer and having a hard time coming, try to hang out with queer friends. And honestly, make the best decision for you. Some people you just shouldn't come out to if it wouldn't be helpful for you. Just be yourself and hopefully you'll get the chance to come out to everyone you want to in your life.”

Darci Jaret

“I might say to keep in mind that sometimes the things that drive people out of your life are great ways to assure those around you truly support who you are.  But I always had family support. So I cannot presume to know how it might feel to have parents disown a person.”

Aspen & Hurst

“Change your community. Literally run away and try to get adopted by someone who identifies as queer or trans or preferably both.”

Callan & Leigh Anna

“I think a lot of people pressure you out into coming out, like National Coming Out day and what not, but I don’t like that. It's a lot of pressure. Especially if you live in a small town. The other thing is that you can’t leave it on the back burner and forget it. It’s important to come out.”

Kevin Miguel Garcia

“Cultivate a community before you come out if possible. This might look like moving to a city where you know there are queer people. My favorite thing is people that text or email me about coming out. I’m always open to having a conversation with people and talking about their story and process. We’re all a community for one another. There is nothing like hearing the words, “Me too” or “You are not alone.”

Christian & Brandon

“Do it on your own time. There was this thing on TV where two people were talking and they just kept saying, “Just do it!” But you shouldn’t if you’re not ready. It’s a big step. If you’re from a rural area and living there, things are harder. I was worried about the people who had said, “Good morning” to me, every day of my life suddenly not saying it anymore.”

Krystal & Brook

“Do it when it’s right for you. People tried to push me for a really long time to come out but I wasn’t ready. I don’t think that my family was ready either. I waited until it was right for me and then I did it in a way that worked for me and my family. I also think you need to come out. I just, I think you don’t realize how much it affects your life until you come out. Like I didn’t even realize how much weight it had put on me. I didn’t even realize until it was gone. I’m happier now than I've ever been. There's no comparison.”

Clay Chandler

"It’s the same advice I give to new Christians. Be still and listen. Know yourself and your timing.”

Taylor Lampe

“Make sure you have people who are on your team. And if you don’t have them, find them. Support is really important in the coming out process. Then, trust yourself and your timing. Regardless of if you come out tomorrow or in four years, it’s going to be an act of bravery. Claiming your truth, no matter when you do it, is brave. So don’t worry that you won't get to be brave if you wait a little longer.”

Alex & Kris

“My advice would be to come out as soon as possible... But, don't necessarily rush it. Because it takes time. Everyone's situation takes a different road. But coming out is the first step in being yourself and being true to who you are. That's important.”

Jes Kast

“Be really gentle with yourself. Offer a lot of compassion and a lot of gentleness. It takes time to keep arriving. We never fully arrive, but we keep arriving to the next place. It’s tempting to say, “why is this taking so long?” Just be gentle with yourself. You’re here. And praise God that you’re here now. All of creation is taking place in your rebirth.”

Allison Radomski

“Uh. I don’t know that I’m the best advice giver. I myself am not entirely out. Even in Atlanta I’m not fully out. I’m really comfortable with my sexual preference so it doesn’t feel like a big deal to me. It’s just something that feels natural. But for me just bluntly saying “I like women and men,” is the equivalent of saying your specific sexual preferences. Its awkward. You don’t just say it. So I causally refer to my interest in women.” 

Rev. Brandon Maxwell

“We live in a world where it’s ok to be gay = well, mostly. So, some like to pressure people to come out. But if it’s not the right time, it’s not the right time [to come out]. I know that if I had come out earlier, I wouldn’t be here today. If you’re 6, 16, or 60, trust the timing of your life. Trust that the universe, God, or whatever you want to name it, will guide you.”

Diamond Dumas

“I wish I had all the answers                                                                                                                                       All the dos and do nots of being gay                                                                                                                           I wish I could keep you from all the people that will break your heart                                                                     And give you armory for when they attack you for being you                                                                                   I wish I could hold your hand and that would be enough                                                                                           But out of all the times I’ve wished                                                                                                                            I’ve never once seen a shooting star                                                                                                                             And this isn’t a Disney movie                                                                                                                                   And that’s okay                                                                                                                                                           Because I’ve lived and experienced                                                                                                                             Now I know Being Gay is like Sparring in Martial Arts                                                                                             you are never prepared for when they kick you below the belt                                                                                   Just know that it’s ok to be hurt, its ok to fall to your knees                                                                                     Just know the point doesn’t count against you                                                                                                         The victory is still possible and feels beyond amazing                                                                                             when you realize that getting back up again is the biggest fuck you